Friday, January 21, 2011

Blogging in the unknown: Scott Benesiinaabandan’s unSacred and the Windigokaan at Gallery 1C03, University of Winnipeg

Jessie: I’ve always been nervous about revealing myself to other people. That’s part of the reason why I dropped out of art school. I wasn’t comfortable with being critiqued, especially when it came to my work. It felt too personal, too close to home. It has taken me a long time to feel comfortable showing my work to others. Learning that this blog is actually being forwarded around the Aboriginal arts group, and read (?) is both exciting and terrifying.

Vanessa: Being engaged and having an exchange with your group or community is scary. One of the reasons is, for me the fear of being judged. But when I’m nervous about doing something, I like to know that there are people who are going to be looking for it. I feel like I have a sense of responsibility towards them, and my work will be better. Also, I know when I’m scared or nervous, it’s probably because I’m about to learn something.

Jessie: Yes. It’s like the Windigokaan, it is the unknown, which is the thing that scares many people the most. I don’t just want to repeat what I’ve seen and heard here. I want to show an engagement with the work, but there is the fear of people disagreeing with what I have said.

Vanessa: I only want to speak about what I know. The artists, curators and viewer in the exhibitions have their knowledge and perspectives. But people will always disagree.

Jessie: I feel that this relates back to Scott Benesiinaabandan’s exhibition, but I can’t quite articulate it.

Vanessa: It is related. As Scott explained in his talk today, the image (un)sacred clown (2010) is a mirror. You’ll see in it your fear, what scares you. In that way, it’s a reflection of yourself and everyone sees something different.

Jessie: My view of this image is of a solitary figure. It’s the focus of everyone’s attention, it is exposed.

Vanessa: The figure looks very confined. It has this mask that it looks like it can See, but can’t Speak.

Jessie: You know, I realize that when I’m scared of something, it’s never as bad as I expect it to be. The Windigokaan challenges us to move beyond those fears, those self-imposed limitations.

Vanessa: It’s not just about fear.

Jessie: It breaks us out of patterns.

Vanessa: The contrary is a way of making us more aware. By considering the contrary, it helps us think about other possible ways of being.

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