Terrance Houle and Adrian Stimson: Exploring Indigenous Masculinities

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Date
2012-09-26
Authors
Sutherland, Erin
Keyword
Performance , Indigenous Methodologies , Indigenous Masculinities , Canadian Art , Indigenous Studies , Indigenous Art , Curating
Abstract
The exhibition “Terrance Houle & Adrian Stimson: Exploring Indigenous Masculinities” showcased the performance art of Terrance Houle (Blood/Ojibway) and Adrian Stimson (Siksika) at the Union Gallery in Kingston, Ontario from March 20th to March 22nd, 2012. Both artists used the occasion to interrogate how Indigenous identities are constructed and perceived. The artists’ interaction with the audience and the space of the gallery itself acted to destabilize lingering colonial beliefs about Indigenous identity. This thesis explores how the Kingston performances investigate the historical construction of Indigenous masculine identities. Through the artists’ own embodiment of historical knowledge (both colonial and Indigenous knowledges) and their interaction with the audience and gallery space, the performances challenged and reimagined colonial perceptions of Indigenous masculine identity as a singular, static form. The performances served to translate alternative knowledges about Indigenous men and models of Indigenous masculinity, a dynamic I analyze in this thesis as a larger set of tactics and effects available to artists decolonizing Indigenous masculinities.
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