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Landscape and identity : three artists/teachers in British Columbia Beer, Ruth Sulamith 1999

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Landscape and Identity: Three Artist/Teachers in British Columbia by R U T H SULAMITH BEER B.F.A. Concordia University 1970 M.V.A. The University of Alberta 1972 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF T H E REQUIREMENTS OF T H E D E G R E E OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in T H E F A C U L T Y OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Curriculum Studies: Art Education) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E U N I V E R B I H Y : OF B R I T I S H COLOMBIA J U N E 1999 © Ruth Sulamith Beer- ? 1999 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study, h—fnrthrr nrjrnr thnt prrmhninn fnr n^ r rn t i r r— copying—ei—this—thesis—fof—scholarly—purposes—may—be—granted—by—the—head—of—my— department or—by;—bis ox her—representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT In this interdisciplinary study, narrative portraiture is used as a methodology to depict three visual artists who draw on their lived experience, traditions and values to engage viewers, through their artwork, about issues of landscape and identity. I argue for an educative paradigm applied to art practice that seeks individual and social/cultural transformation within and across communities through pedagogical processes that recognize diverse audiences. Questions guiding this study are: How do the artists' ideas and practices relate to living in British Columbia and the representation of the land? What are their motivations and strategies for expressing those ideas? How are the roles of these artists and the roles of teachers linked? The study considers the ways in which Jin-me Yoon, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and Marian Penner Bancroft foreground landscape in British Columbia as a complex phenomenon and as a powerful icon in Canadian culture. Through interviews and analysis of artwork, this study examines how these artist/pedagogues challenge artistic conventions, myths and historical narratives that have framed Western culture and influenced their experience. By employing and disrupting conventions of representations of the land, they construct new narratives concerned with issues of identity, the environment, Native land claims, and urban history. This research portrait of artists who attempt to inscribe a place for themselves and their communities within the life of the province, is also a portrait of 'place', or the complex interrelationship of people and the environment. As role models and spokespersons who link knowledge and culture, the artists share a desire'to foster understanding through postmodern art practices and dialogic pedagogical processes. This study acknowledges their dual role as artist ii and teacher, involving models of practice that aim to effect social change and environmental care. It examines how their work integrating art and education, reflects and attempts to shape the social, cultural and political landscape within shifting conditions of society today. This study aims to provide a greater understanding of artist/pedagogues and calls for an increased focus on a pedagogical role for artists in museums, schools and other community-based sites, particularly with respect to multicultural and environmental art education. iii T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S ABSTRACT TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF FIGURES ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I INTRODUCTION The Artists The Artists' Roles Pedagogical Implications Overview of Study II PORTRAITURE AND ITS IMPLICATIONS Background of the Study Research Procedures Selection of the Artists Research Data Interviews Selection of Art Work Summary 'Portrait of the Artist' Portraiture as a Methodology The Portrait Within a Portrait Portraiture as a Research Method Representation as a Concept The Importance of Context Issues of Voice Interpretation Dialogue Patterns and Themes Relational Validity Summary iv Ill LANDSCAPE AND IDENTITY Landscape as Cul tu ra l Construct Contemporary Redefinition of 'Nature' Histor ical Perspectives Ideologies of Space Legacy of Pictorial Conventions Landscape Imagery as Myth and Symbol The Reality of the Environment Contemporary Theoretical Shifts ^ Memory and Identity Place, Time and History Cross-Cultural Issues and Stereotypes Contestation of Terra in The Wilderness as Refuge Urban and Rural Relationships First Nations and the Land West Coast Society i n F lux Multiculturalism's Impact Diaspora and Displacement V i s u a l Depiction of the Landscape . Art Historical Traditions and Icons Vancouver Artists and Modernism Postmodernist Issues and New Media Site-specific A r t and New Genre Public A r t The Artwork as a Discursive Site Social Analysis the Role of the Ar t i s t and Pedagogue The Challenge to Modernism Summary IV JIN-ME YOON Cul tu ra l Dislocation and Identity Issues The Artist as Pedagogue The Diasporic Experience Multiculturalism and Racism The Museum Context: The Exhibi t ion as an Educational Site topographies and Art for a Nation Jin-me Yoon Lived Experience, Stereotypes and Pedagogy Art School and Education 103 Three Related Works 105 The Project A Group of Sixty-Seven 109 Korean Community Participation 111 Yoon's Pedagogical Process 115 Intervention i n M y t h and Icon 119 Photography as a Construct 121 Redefinition of Space 123 Interactivity and Transformation 124 Summary 128 V L A W R E N C E P A U L Y U X W E L U P T U N 132 Painting, Poli t ical Act iv ism and Lived Experience 132 Discourse and Pedagogical Strategies 135 Coloniahsm's Legacy of Racism 137 The Land and Its Importance 139 Legends, Symbols and Polemics i n A r t 140 Usufructuary Landscape (1995) 141 Toxicological Encroachment of Civilization on First Nations Land (1992) 144 Hybridi ty, Cu l tu ra l Identity and Pedagogy 146 Burying the Face of Racism (1996) 148, Art Historical Connections 153 Urban Reali ty and the 'Constructed' Indian 154 Modernism and Native Traditions 159 Pedagogical Alliances and Institutions 162 The Native Art Student 164 Diaspora and the L a n d Claims Issues 166 Chump Change, The Impending Nisga'a Deal. The Last Stand (1996) 168 Painting Practice 170 Sal ish Performative Storytelling 173 Summary 175 VI M A R I A N P E N N E R B A N C R O F T : LOST STREAMS OF KITSILANO 179 Pedagogical Strategies and History of Place 179 Landscape and Interaction v 186 Roots and Family Histories 187 Journeys and Memory 191 The Importance of the Invisible 192 vi Related Artworks 193 Photography and Representation 194 Urban Landscape and Public Art 199 A Study of Place: Lost Streams 200 Transformative Pedagogy 202 Memory and Monuments 206 Layers of History, Belonging and Displacement 207 Art in the Landscape 209 New Genre Public Art and the Community 212 Historical Background 212 Active Audience Participation 214 Narrative as Process 215 Pedagogical Articulation in Public Art 215 Overlap of Art and Education 216 Environmental Education 219 The Artist/Pedagogue as Role Model 221 Influences and Mentors 223 Summary 225 VII INTEGRATING PEDAGOGY AND ART PRACTICE 229 Integration of Art and Education 230 The Museum/Gallery as Educational Site 245 Landscape as an Educational Theme . 249 Summary of Research Questions and Answers 254 Implications for Theory, Practice and Future Research 256 Summary and Personal Reflections 258 REFERENCES 259 vii LIST O F F I G U R E S Figure Page 1 A Group of Sixty-Seven 110 2 A Group of Sixty-Seven (detail) 114 3 Usufructuary Landscape 143 4 Toxicological Encroachment of Civilization on First Nations Land 143 5 Burying the Face of Racism 151 6 Chump Change. The Nisga'a Deal. The Last Stand. 151 7 Lost Streams of Kitsilano 198 8 Lost Streams of Kitsilano 201 9 Lost Streams of Kitsilano 204 viii A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Dr. Rita Irwin for the guidance, support, and inspiration offered to me throughout my doctoral studies. I would also like to thank the members of my supervisory committee, Dr. Ron MacGregor and Wendy Dobereiner, whose encouragement and valuable insights I greatly apppreciated. I extend my gratitude to Jin-me Yoon, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and Marian Penner Bancroft whose hospitality, insightful comments and artwork made this study possible. A special thanks goes to my friend Ann Morrison who encouraged me throughout this project. My deepest gratitude goes to Alan Torchinsky, Miriam Torchinsky, and Abe Torchinsky, my family, for their unwavering support, encouragement and generosity of spirit. I dedicate this work to my mother, Miriam Atlas Beer, whose love and whose enthusiasm for life and learning continue to inspire me. I I N T R O D U C T I O N This inquiry is a narrative portrayal of three artists whose models of practice challenge the predicaments of the social, cultural and geographic landscape of British Columbia with the aim of enacting change through the artists' art production and pedagogy. Using aesthetic and material means to employ representational strategies, they attempt to negotiate and to inscribe a place for themselves and their communities within the life of this province. Narrative portraiture (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997), a methodological framework situated within postmodern and feminist paradigms, is used as the principal research method to construct a textual picture of three artists/pedagogues, their ideas and concerns . Selected artworks are included as a part of my conception and composition of portraiture since they reflect the perspectives and experiences of the artists. As the researcher/portraitist, I hope to engage the reader in the same way that the artist and viewer participate in the co-construction of meaning and interaction of a work of art. In the practice of portraiture I use ethnographic techniques to support the following central questions: How do the artists' ideas and practices relate to living in British Columbia? What are some of the ways that the artists represent their ideas about and experiences of the social/cultural/political landscape? How are the roles of these artists and the roles of teachers linked? Underscoring the artists' work are the themes of landscape and identity which connect each artist's particular and diverse experiences in different ways with shifting social/cultural/political conditions in British Columbia. Both this research and the artwork presented for discussion are also portraits of British Columbia as a place or site for the complex interaction of people and as the interface between the physical environment and the imagination (Clifford, 1997; l Hayden, 1995; Lippard, 1997; Raffin 1992). The artists link people/place relationships with imaginative possibilities of landscape, rejecting nostalgic, romantically idealized landscape or concepts alienated from lived experience (Hayden, 1995; Jackson, 1984; Lacy, 1997a; Raffin, 1992). This study examines the pedagogical focus embedded in the artists' work and integrated in their practices, noting how those ideas are informed by their lived experience, knowledge and imagination for the future. In their employment of aesthetic and pedagogical strategies for making connections with viewers, within and across communities, their work confirming the important role of the audience and the individual and social transformational potential of art supports postmodern and feminist paradigms. Their work also supports pedagogical practices associated with environmental, social reconstructionist and multicultural educational theory linking art and education (Becker, 1996; Blandy, Congdon & Krug, 1998; Blandy & Hoffman, 1993; Chalmers, 1996; Garoian, 1998; Giroux, 1997; Hagaman, 1990; Irwin, 1998b, 1999; Irwin & Kindler, 1999; Irwin, Rogers, & Farrell, (in press); Stuhr, 1994). This study can be compared to the mapping of an unfixed territory or to the drawing of postmodern portraits of artist/pedagogues as a particular, partial, located and relational point of view (Clifford 1988,1997; Haraway, 1991; Harding, 1987, 1991). It recognizes as do the artists in the study, "that subjectivity and objectivity are not opposites, but two sides of one coin in the inherently unstable currency of culture" (Muschamp, 1999, p. D6). Landscape is probably the most powerful icon in Canadian culture. Land, whether considered as territory to be acted upon, or, as contemporary environmentalists prefer, as a complicated interconnected living system, has been transformed in the human mind into landscape, "an elusive entity" (Raffin, 1992, p. 6). The "'scape' is a projection of human imagination" (Raffin, 1992, p. 29), constructed through experience, knowledge, emotions or spiritual beliefs 2 that connect people to land and to constitute a sense of place. It is fundamental to the work of each of these artists who redefine and recode traditional landscape conventions. They critique values and beliefs of mainstream society; myths, historical narratives and those assumptions underlying modernist paradigms of the social/cultural construction of landscape that do not resonate with their lives. In confronting these issues, they speak about their experiences with authority from the margins of society (Clifford, 1986; Minh-ha, 1989; Palley, 1995; West, 1990). For them, art is understood as Cahan and Kocur (1996) suggest, as a product of history and potential agent of social change. The artist/pedagogues invert historical aesthetic conventions and the ideological assumptions of previous representations of landscape, recasting them in a new light (Oleksijczuk, 1991b). In re-evaluating and re-politicizing "nature" from contexts of specific social, cultural and environmental problems they attempt to dispel the illusion of nature's inviolability and nature outside of history. By exposing "what is illusory and what is of value", and by challenging the ideas in many representations of the land, the artists' work can have a cognitive value "increasing our awareness and understanding of the historical construction of landscape" and its influence on contemporary experience (Oleksijczuk, 1991b, p. 7). The pedagogical interventions of their work also support Giroux's (1997) views that artists and educators, "can link cultural texts to institutional contexts in which they are read, and [can] link the material grounding of power to the historical conditions that give meaning to the places we inhabit and the futures we desire" (p. 33). Drawing on their diverse, particular, embodied experiences, ways of knowing, and individual and collective memory, they explore the representation of landscape as a flexible territory of inquiry, as a subject for pedagogical art practices, and as processes of meaningful, imaginative pedagogical encounters and experiential education. They address issues of nation and belonging, environmental concerns, land use and ownership, as well as urban history and development. As artist/pedagogues they recognize that 3 which Irwin (1998b) states, "that art is life, it is integrated with being and becoming, it is a source of memory and forecast, and it is the flow of culture itself. Culture is performed in and through life" (p. 40). The artworks that form the focus of this study are practical interventions challenging the conventions of racism, the predicament of First Nations people, and the erasure or omission of urban history enacted through misrepresentation or lack of representation. Using assertions and propositions that look again at history, the artist/pedagogues' aim is to engage the viewer in the pedagogical process of interaction with the work, to provoke dialogue about these important issues, in order to re-examine the present. As expressions of ideas, knowledge, and emotions, their artworks occupy a place in a lateral continuum, or horizon that draws on the past as memory and tradition; speaks about the present as lived experience; and is concerned with influencing the future as expectation (Campbell, 1988). The Art is ts The artists selected for this inquiry are Jin-me Yoon, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and Marian Penner Bancroft, all of whom foreground landscape in British Columbia as a complex phenomenon that has shaped their lives. This study shows how the. artists also re-present landscape as an inquiry into the interactive social/cultural territory in transition, which they share and hold in tension. Through the effective presentation of their work, they seek an active role for themselves and their communities in the transformations taking place. Underscoring personal and autobiographical aspects underlying the political and practical nature of their actions of self-inscription, their efforts as artist/pedagogues focus on changing awareness and understanding (Ellsworth, 1989; Giroux, 1997; Lather, 1991) that could lead to social/political or environmental change. Jin-me Yoon is concerned with dispelling assumptions and stereotypes associated with Asian immigrants' experience by contrasting expectations and realities. She explores a sense of displacement, as well as a sense of belonging to the social, geographic and cultural landscape. As part of a Korean community, she disrupts the iconic meaning attributed to those landscape paintings of the 1920s which still function in mainstream society as signifiers of Canada as a nation. By juxtaposing portrait images of individuals from the Vancouver Korean community with two nationally significant paintings, she examines their respective roles within the institution of the art gallery. Through the enactment of the work, its exhibition and involvement of the audience, she creates connections and understanding that previously did not exist between people, art, communities and the institution of the museum. Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun is a member of the Coast Salish nation. He is concerned with racism, pollution, land claims and stewardship of the land that is a part of his Native legacy, experience and spirituality. His insistence on redressing history for the benefit of all people who share the land, and for the establishment of equitable social conditions and legal rights for his people through educating audiences, combine to create an impassioned plea for change enacted through his artwork and its legitimization by the art world. Marian Penner Bancroft considers material changes to the urban physical and social landscape brought about by development that has covered, almost erased, and left unacknowledged the physical, social and cultural history of her neighborhood. Processes that change the natural and built environment are evoked by marking locations under which lie nature's persistent invisible flow of subterranean streams where communities, plants, and animals once thrived. Her community public art project is sensitive to environmental change and to-the subtle detail and underlying nuances of the historical/social archeology of the 'unspectacular' landscape of the city and its layered past. Although each artist resides in British Columbia and their work evolves from the context of living there, their practices are infused with consciousness, traditions and affiliations from elsewhere. Jin-me Yoon and Marian Penner Bancroft are feminist artists who are forging autobiographical approaches to photo-conceptual and community-based art practices in Vancouver, a field where women only recently are gaining recognition. In communicating his political perspectives, Yuxweluptun's work is informed by aspects of spirituality, traditions and conventions of Native culture. Jin-me Yooh's project intervenes in the rarefied space of the Vancouver Art Gallery with monumental flag-shaped forms comprised of photographic portrait images of the local diasporic immigrant Korean Canadian community. She enacts her project in the discursive space of the art gallery by engaging the project participants with historical Canadian painting and inserting their presence at the institutional site. By addressing aspects of racism in British Columbia connected to notions of belonging and nationhood, she attempts to connect communities through redefining the institutional frame for art and education in the gallery. Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, a political activist for Native and environmental rights, represents his First Nations' perspective as an 'urban Indian' who is both outside the mainstream and outside those Native communities supporting recent land claims negotiations. His art practice eschews expectations of'traditional' Native art and its ambiguous association with anthropological discourse and institutions. Marian Penner Bancroft's public art project, situated in her neighborhood, critiques the primacy of sight as a focusing device that rationalizes 'progress' and the erasures it has affected. Notions of forgetting and remembering, are 6 explored as a means to imagine the invisible, mapping that in the mind of the community and environmentalists. Her approach encourages us to appreciate the particularities of an 'ordinary' place, and to pay attention to the forces of nature (or their destruction) underlying the vernacular built environment. The Art is ts ' Roles While recognizing that the perspectives of the artists are individual and particular, this study illuminates their roles as artists/pedagogues who are affected by and are helping to shape attitudes and the character of the province. Rather than encouraging individualistic art practice as marginalized or isolated from society, this study calls for the recognition of an active and transformational role for artist/pedagogues as role models and spokespersons, within and across communities, advocating political/visual representation through their art practices. In the contemporary shifting zones of physical and social contact, artist/pedagogues can help individuals and communities become aware of dialectic visions held in tension where changes can occur (Clifford, 1997). They have the potential to foster an awareness of the permeability of cultural borders, of the contingency and complexities of identities that contribute to changing dynamics, and of the possibilities to positively affect and enrich culture and communities (West, 1990; Minh-ha, 1989). This study shows how all three artists draw on their personal convictions, sensibilities, and traditions to highlight the evolving hybridization of their own identities and those of their communities. It argues for notions of tradition and community as unfixed, contingent, and flexible. As this study will show, these notions underscore the artists' pedagogical practices that seek a transformation of the self or an empowerment to a sense of self (MacGregor, 1995). This can lead to the transformation of consciousness and empowerment of others (Collins, 1981; Ellsworth, 1989; Hicks, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994) with the goal of forging alliances between people and communities. As role models who enact those possibilities through their art practices, artist/pedagogues can encourage emerging artists 7 and educators to similarly create opportunities for interaction with viewers/students for the purpose of dialogue and educative encounters, particularly in the realms of visual culture and the imagination. Pedagogica l Impl icat ions Cultural production that aims to change awareness is both a political and a pedagogical project (Freire, 1985; Giroux, 1997; Roman, 1992) integrating art, education and the imagination. Rather than the term 'teaching' which usually "applies to more formal influence", the term 'pedagogy' is used in this study since it emphasizes "the human or personalistic elements of education" (van Manen, 1991, p. 29) and makes reference to the Greek "agogos" or "leading" (p.37) to illuminate the leadership or spokesperson roles of the artists in the study. Their autobiographical pedagogical portraits also align with Giroux's (1997) notion of performative interpretation, that suggests that how we come to understand and come to know ourselves and others cannot be separated from how we represent and imagine ourselves. It is the intent of this study to encourage artists, pedagogues and students in art, education and other interdisciplinary fields, to engage in dialogue with others about issues grounded in the place they inhabit. Landscape as just an ontological given should be rejected (Kelly 1996; Mitchell, 1994) and considered instead as a dynamic territory of inquiry that considers place relationally, or as Michel de Certeau (1984) describes, as a medium of aesthetic expression and human experience; as a "spatial practice" which is "discursively mapped and corporeally practiced" (cited in Clifford 1997, p. 54). This study draws on the work of scholars who write about the relationship of people and place from various points of view. Among the scholars and practitioners whose ideas have contributed to this study are art historians and cultural critics Mitchell (1994), Gablik (1995), Giroux (1991, 1994, 1997), Lacy (1995a, 1995b) and Lippard (1990, 1995, 1997); education scholars Irwin (1997, 1998, 1999), van Manen (1991), Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997), Becker (1996); and landscape architecture critics Hayden (1995) and Jacob (1995), all of whom use forms of ethnographic inquiry to write about representation and/or the cultural construction of landscape. I have found particular merit in the work of ethnographer James Clifford and will refer to his work extensively. His scholarship on ethnographic relationships of art and culture (1988) in The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art, and his writing in Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century in which he presents ways to view the mobility of people and translation of ideas and of cultures in flux, are relevant to the subject of landscape and identity and to the nature of destabilized conditions faced by the artists in the study. This study, situated within particular cultural, social, political and geographic contexts, is meant to encourage and empower the diversity of voices of cultural producers interested in integrating art and education. Overview of S tudy Chapter II describes the background for the study in which I describe my personal reasons, as both an artist and a pedagogue, for conducting this research. I present narrative portraiture utilizing ethnographic techniques (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997) as the methodology employed in this qualitative study to depict the artists and their work. The chapter concludes with a discussion of representation, context, voice, interpretation, dialogue, patterns and themes, and relational validity as elements of narrative portraiture as a research method. Chapter III provides a brief historical background and analysis of modernist and postmodernist approaches to the representation of landscape. These approaches, related to the personal and community identity of the three artists in the study, are contextualized within the social and cultural conditions of British Columbia. Chapters IV, V and VI present a narrative portrait of each artist and their work. These chapters, focusing on the particular content and perspectives addressed by the artists in the selections of interview 9 transcripts and embedded in their art practices, underline their motivations and strategies for the production, exhibition and reception of the artwork. In Chapter VII, I conclude the study by examining their roles as artists and pedagogues committed to social change through personal transformation, interaction and dialogue between people and communities. Discussion of the artist's role in integrating art and education practices expands consideration of both educational sites and opportunities for meaningful teaching and learning. Ideas related to landscape and the environment are identified as important concepts for content and curriculum development not only for environmental education but also as a subject open to diverse perspectives relevant to feminist, multicultural and social reconstructionist education. The chapter ends with implications for the education of art teachers, urging them to explore with students the broad possibilities in postmodern contemporary art practices that are engaged in social/cultural/political issues. It also considers the implications for the education of artists, arguing for the inclusion of art education strategies to facilitate connections with viewers. 1 0 II P O R T R A I T U R E A N D ITS IMPLICATIONS Background of the Study To help contextualize my point of view, I will situate my background, histories and geographical roots. In setting out some of the reasons that motivated me to undertake this research and to translate my ideas, I agree with Stuhr, Krug and Scott (1995) who believe that "cultural translation is also about understanding our own subjectivities and cbntextualization" that is, "to translate is an effort to know more about ourselves and the world we live in" (p. 31-32). I am aware of my own role in this study, and like Lather (1991), I have tried "to write paradoxically aware of one's complicity in that which one critiques" (p. 10). My interest, at the conjunction of feminism and poststructuralism, is in the processes by which theories and practices of meaning-making can shape cultural life, especially how art and pedagogy might be positioned as interventional sites in which to pursue the strategies that question the present with an eye on the future. This study evolved from my desire to understand more fully the relationship of my own art practice (as a professional artist for over twenty years) and that of my activities as a university and art school faculty member teaching emerging artists and interested students in studio and seminar courses. Both of these activities, art-making and teaching, have been an integral part of my life and a means of realizing the empowerment and enjoyment provided by art. Since the refrain that 'teaching is an art' was familiar to me, I questioned whether one could also say that an artist is a teacher. My conviction about the importance of both art and education, and the impact of their combination, seem in many respects natural to me after so many years in the field with what one might describe as a foot in each camp. In order to articulate how these activities can function in integrated ways, grounded in the various experiences, situations, and 11 circumstances of living in contemporary British Columbia, I chose to study three artists, who addressed the issues central to my questions through their work and whose experience in important ways resonated with mine. As an artist and pedagogue, my intention for this study is, like that of educators Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997), "to inform and inspire, to document and transform, to speak to the head and the heart" (p. 243). I share with the artists in the study the terrain of British Columbia at this important juncture in history. The dynamics of life in the province are changing rapidly due to social, cultural, political and environmental shifts. Immigration of non-European people and cultures is at an all-time high; the resource industries which were the backbone of the economy are in the process of major upheaval, and decisions on First Nations land claims will realign the mapping of the province. As an artist and teacher, I feel strongly that the agency of representation of these conditions in symbolic form and through educational practices can significantly affect the inevitable transformations that are taking place. This study is a way of looking at artist/pedagogues and their work, with respect to their diverse relations to landscape or sense of place, which reflects their individual subjectivities and identities. The perception of landscape, is in turn affected by moral and ethical aesthetic inquiry which includes a pedagogical stance. A second motivation for undertaking this study involves, as it does for the artists in this study, feelings of both a sense of displacement and a sense of belonging within the landscape of British Columbia. As I write, I realize this cannot be so unusual, as I am reminded that we are all from elsewhere, except for the aboriginal people, and they too, as this study points out, feel alienated. Perhaps this research project can help to contextualize and explain those feelings that are indeed more pervasive than are generally acknowledged. My own identity and sense of place is formed by what is sometimes described as a 'second 12 generation' Holocaust mentality. Although my. family emigrated to Canada shortly after I was born, my experiences until adulthood were part of the Jewish refugee community in urban, post-war Montreal. In retrospect, that community was both comfortable and confining. The bold physical environment of the Alberta landscape, where I moved to attend graduate school, and my sense of estrangement in the community, made it seem a long way from home. Stretching tenuous roots, I later journeyed to British Columbia, making it my home. As is the case with the artists in this study and with most other people in Canadian contemporary society, my sense of place is about many places at once, of movement between places, and about borders that are not always physical. My location is rooted in dislocation, "in experiences of separation and entanglement" (Clifford, 1997, p. 255). Research P r o c e d u r e s Selection of the Artists "The power of qualitative data ...lies not in the number of people interviewed but in the researcher's ability to know well a few people in their cultural contexts" (Sears, 1992, p. 148). With this in mind, I selected for this study three British Columbia professional artists who, like me, are also teachers. The two women, Jin-me Yoon and Marian Penner Bancroft, and the one man, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, are between the ages of forty and fifty years old, and have lived in the province for •all'or most of their lives. Each of the artists and the work which I selected for analysis and discussion, foreground imaginary, mediated landscape or representation of land/home/place. Although they approach issues of landscape from different perspectives, to serve different purposes, they share a desire to engage the viewer's attention and to develop awareness with the aim of social and environmental change. They use methods and materials that span a range of aesthetic possibilities and approaches (e.g. irony, fragmentation, juxtaposition, the hybridity of contemporary traditions, popular culture, 13 technology and concern for communities) within postmodernism, feminist and social reconstructionist art production and pedagogy. . All three artists have had a significant part of their schooling at Emily Carr College of Art and Design. In a circularity of influence, they have returned there to teach or give lectures, however, they have begun to unravel the modernist thread that has permeated the school since its inception in 1925. The institution has always had a profound effect on education in art and on the art produced in the province. The artists in this study question the still evident legacy of the school's history that is entangled with the nationalist project of the National Gallery of Canada to develop a Canadian school of painting. The Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, as it was then called, was established with the support of Eric Brown, curator of the National Gallery of Canada, who recruited Fred Varley of the Group of Seven from central Canada to head the painting department. The school was also intended as a training facility to support local manufacturing and. craft production encouraging the use of 'uniquely Canadian' designs of Native images that were appropriated without regard for their meanings. Issues related to nationalism and its cultural legacy, including attempts to absorb and assimilate Native culture, are addressed by these graduates. ' It is significant that each of the artists in the study have participated in their own ways in challenging the traditions of modernism, and the omissions and erasures in the history of art in the province. Through their artwork and formal teaching their influence will make an important impact on the next generation of artists. In their involvement as teachers in university art departments, in the provincial post-secondary art institution and/Or as guest lecturers at conferences, symposia, and forums, these three artists are also widening their public audience by sharing and exchanging ideas through dialogue. Recognition of their work in national and international exhibitions, and its inclusion in institutional art 14 collections, are indications that their opinions and their work are gaining attention. As articulate and respected artists and pedagogues, they are spokespersons within evolving and overlapping communities who are making significant contributions to the cultural community and the character of the ongoing formation of the province. Research Data Data collection and analysis took place over a two year period. Data was gathered using three primary methods, (1.) Interviews with artists (recorded) (2.) personal observations with fieldnotes and (3.) analysis of original artwork and documents, reviews, other records pertaining to the artists selected for this study. Interviews took place with individual artists over a period of approximately one year. The original works of art discussed in the study were closely examined, and other exhibitions in which the artists participated were thoroughly researched. Relevant literature from a variety of disciplines including art education, contemporary art, ethnography, social geography, and ecology was consulted. In addition, historical documents and archival material, catalogues of the artists' exhibitions, curatorial and artists' statements, and critical reviews enriched my understanding of the artists' work as resources for contextualizing their practices. I also attended numerous public slide/lectures and discussions at several locations including the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, and the University Art Association of Canada National Conference (1997) where the artists discussed their work and presented their ideas. On those occasions I gathered extensive notes transcribing their general comments and specific information to supplement my findings. Interviews I met on several occasions with each of the artists to conduct audio-taped interviews which were later transcribed. The interviews took place in the homes 15 of Jin-me Yoon and M a r i a n Penner Bancroft; i n the case of Lawrence P a u l Yuxweluptun, one interview took place i n the Vancouver A r t Gallery on the occasion of his exhibition and on another occasion, at E m i l y Carr Institute of A r t and Design. I was attentive to the distinctiveness of the settings as a resource (Hammersley, 1995) to more fully understand the artists' surroundings and their work. The interviews were conversations as described by feminist researchers who advocate a sharing and exchange of information (Congdon, 1996; Connelly & Clandinin, (1991); Dawkins, 1998; Mi l l e r , 1990). Dur ing the interviews I attempted to establish a relaxed atmosphere between peers. The conversations were guided by my broadly focused questions to encourage the artists to discuss those issues and ideas which were of most relevance or interest to them. The interviews were always collegia! and conversational, framed by mutual respect for pur respective accomplishments and a belief i n the appropriateness of the research questions. I was aware of the need to listen carefully, and be sensitive to the mediation of my role i n translating from words spoken to words written, since "written texts ... are a point of intersection between two subjectivities" (Patai, 1988, p. 146). Selection of Art Work In support of the use of artwork as research data, Tomas (1992) suggests that "representations are not solely products of the wri t ten word .... they are produced by a variety of other contemporary technologies of observation/inscription such as photography, film, television and video" (p. 13). Goldman-Segall (1995) also promotes the use of non-verbal representation, through hypertext and other initiatives, as productive ways to represent experience i n research. In this research, I focus on specific artworks by each of the artists that relate to landscape. A t the time this study was initiated, I had recently viewed Jin-me Yoon's ambitious work A Group of 67 i n the exhibition topographies: recent aspects of B.C. art at the Vancouver A r t Gallery, which impressed me wi th its complexity of meanings and its physical presence. I came 16 upon a 'marker' of Marian Penner Bancroft's community-based public art project completely by accident as I walked on the beach near my home. Lost Streams of Kitsilano (1995), the first of a series of community art projects sponsored by the Vancouver Parks Board, is comprised of many components that are dispersed throughout the Kitsilano neighborhood. Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun's exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1996/1997, which in many ways astonished me, was the site where an extensive and in-depth interview/conversation with the artist took place. In order to address the research questions and to illuminate the range of his ideas, in this study I make particular reference to four of his paintings Usufructuary Landscape (1995), Toxicological Encroachment of Civilization on First Nations Land (1992), Burying the Face of Racism, (1996), and Chump Change. The Impending Nisga'a Deal. The Last Stand (1996). Summary This study of the experiences and artwork of three artist/pedagogues, Jin-me Yoon, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and Marian Penner Bancroft acknowledges the significance of the research orientation, methods and analysis discussed in this chapter. From interview/conversations, observations and a review of documents including close examination of the artwork, the themes that emerged form the basis for this inquiry. 'Portrait of the Artist' Portraiture as a Methodology Social research in art and education seeks to increase understanding, improve pedagogical alternatives, and ultimately, to have an impact on social practices within a broader culture. Portraiture (Lightfoot & Davis, 1997), an ethnographically-based research method of inquiry that is mapped into the broader terrain of qualitative research, is used in this study to explore three 17 artists' practices and selections of the artwork they produce. I employ a variation of Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis' (1997) elements of portraiture as a research method. In this chapter I discuss issues of representation, context, voice, interpretation, dialogue, patterns and themes, and relational validity as elements in the construction of this research portrait. As Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997) suggest, the task of the portraitist is to give expression to the artists' voices and to provide contextual information in a cohesive narrative that invites interpretation by the reader. This study takes into consideration recent recognition of the limits of representation within educational discourse (Delamont, 1992; Stuhr, Krug & Scott, 1995) and the reflexive nature of qualitative research which assumes that accounts are only partial truths at best (Lather 1991) and are necessarily incomplete (Clifford & Marcus, 1986; Harding, 1991; Lather, 1991; Marcus & Fischer, 1986; Pollock 1988). I count myself among those postmodern and feminist scholars who are sensitive to questions of representation and to problems of voice; who are aware of the relationship between power and knowledge in ethnographic inquiry; and who attempt to adhere to a standard of practice and a code of moral and professional expectations that have been set out. Portraiture, a method "framed by the phenomenological lens", shares many techniques, standards, and goals of ethnography (Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 2). As an aesthetic model for the construction of research methods, aligned with the intentions of the artists in this study, portraiture seeks an audience outside of the academy "as a way to link inquiry to public discourse and social transformation" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 14). In acknowledging "the self as the primary research instrument for documenting and interpreting the perspectives and experiences of people and cultures being studied" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 14), this research method is similar to approaches of the artists who use their lived experience as a resource for their 18 work. Because the method of portraiture is dialectic, interactive and adaptive, I use ethnographic techniques to describe and interpret the ideas and actions of the artists, their artwork, and how these interrelate and are contextualized within the changing cultures of contemporary art and education (Clifford, 1986, 1988, 1997; Geertz 1973). This method responds to John Dewey's (1934) call, in Art As Experience, for the need to find "cognitive, social and affective dimensions of educational encounters; to establish frameworks and strategies for representing the aesthetics of teaching and learning" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 6). This study acknowledges Dewey's (1938/1963) advocacy of broader contexts and considerations in educational encounters for pedagogical practice, attempts to link theory and practice, and to connect art with representation of social realities and with ways of knowing outside of the conventions of scholarship. Portraiture supports this initiative toward interdisciplinary practice and can be considered an interdisciplinary method of inquiry. It endorses the potential of art to branch across disciplines to contribute to the common good. Although Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997) might have broadened their conceptual framework to include the dialectic between modernist approaches to portraiture as an artistic genre compared with its postmodern possibilities, portraiture remains a useful metaphor for social research paradigms. For this study, I extend their reference to two dimensional portrait images of drawing and painting and their focus on the act of drawing, to include a collage of mixed media, performance, community public art installations and hybrid practices outside modernist conventions for the creation of portraits. Portraiture presents a means of promoting new forms of scholarship and practice based on aesthetic inquiry. "Art in itself represents the breaking of boundaries, including the perceptual boundaries between experience and recognition, the 19 temporal boundaries between past and present, and cultural boundaries between the individual and humankind" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 21). It is an innovative methodology that can capture "the complexity, dynamics, and subtlety of human experience and organizational life" (p: xv). Like the artists in the study, research portraiture seeks to negotiate "a dynamic between documenting and creating the narrative, between receiving and shaping, reflecting and imposing, mirroring and improving" (p. 12). In this narrative text, as the portraitist I have aimed to engage the reader in the same way that the artist and viewer participate in the cp-construction of meaning and interaction of a work of art. Although the researcher/portraitist "seeks to record and interpret the perspectives and experiences of people they are studying, documenting their voices and their visions" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. xv), at the heart of aesthetic experience is "a conversation between two active meaning-makers, the producer and the perceiver of a work of art, resulting in a co-construction (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 29). The work of Michel Foucault (1969/1992), What is an Author, and Roland Barthes' (1977) The Death of the Author, are important for their critique of authorship as a socially constructed authority and for their suggestions that the author and reader are both agents by which texts gain meaning. Feminists have expanded their work to reveal the decentered and multiple nature by which a work gains meaning; "exposing the constructions of the self and the provisional nature of identity" (Meskimmon, 1996, p. 14). Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997) describe a similar process: "Since each individual's understanding is uniquely constructed, the meaning in a work of art is negotiated and renegotiated repeatedly and variously as new perceivers encounter it. Their different readings are interpretations or translations" of the portrait (p. 29). 20 In this study I embrace the notion that images and artwork can be analyzed as text within the paradigmatic framework of portraiture. The metaphor of landscape as text to be 'read' or interpreted as a social document, is associated with post-war developments in linguistics and semiotics and is considered by art historians and cultural critics Arnold (1996), Berger (1977), Hayden (1995), Jackson (1984, 1994), Lippard (1990, 1995, 1997), Mitchell (1994), Nemiroff (1983, 1992, 1998); cultural geographers, Porteous (1990), Raffin (1992); and environmentalists Bright (1989. 1990, 1992), Cronon (1995), and Heartney (1995) as a viable way of looking at landscape. Geertz (1973) who introduced the notion of 'text' in anthropological discourse, characterized his findings as "thick descriptions". This notion was instrumental in marking a shift in research perspectives, from efforts to represent human enterprise in a definitive sense, to a more interactive process that evokes the forms and patterns of cultures. Geertz' (1973) assertion that "It is through the flow of behaviour, or more precisely social action, that cultural forms find articulation" (cited in Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 17) is useful in elucidating the social and pedagogical focus of the artists' work. Interpretation is at the heart of'thick' descriptions which are layered, rich, and contextual. The engagement of the imagination of the researcher as a part of the process of drawing or construction of portraits is as important as for the artist in the translation of experiences into practice. According to Geertz (1973) who refers to the drawing of cultures in ethnography, "the line between the mode of representation and substantive content is as undrawable in cultural analysis as it is in painting" (p. 16). Thick descriptions exercise the imaginations and invite interpretation of both researcher and reader as collaborators in the depiction of meaningful texts. By insisting on active forms of mediation between image and truth (such as that described by Geertz as imaginative interpretation), distance between the work and its meaning is 21 opened up so that there is room for reflexivity and active participatory meaning-making to occur. The methodology of portraiture as a process of description and interpretation aligns with similar meaning-making strategies of artistic activity in the visual arts which rely on images rather than written text, but which are also engaged with issues of representation. The artist attempts to bridge ideas and concepts that are observed or imagined through the mediation of material means, images and conditions of viewing. For the researcher/portrait writer, the dialectic situation involves translating into written text the narrative portrayal that has emerged from the multidimensional context of observation, interviews and contact with the artwork. Both artist and writer employ meaning-making strategies of framing, selecting, forming, interpreting, appropriating, and juxtaposing as they engage with the challenge to represent and interpret ideas, experience, knowledge, and emotions, or to translate * in expressive media images, oral conversation, and written text. I agree with Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997) that there is a need to recognize the "dynamic and ongoing interchange between process and product" in strategies for the implementation of portraiture (p. 60). Portraiture, like landscape, is a conventionalized genre in Western art tradition that has been reconceptualized in the postmodern period to critique a mimetic, transcendent, or purely formal reading of the subject. Both narrative portrait research and art now attempt to redress the conventions and assumptions associated with positivist objectivity and the veneer of value-free representation by approved 'experts' or in art, by the mythic artist genius. Portraiture, used here as a framework to construct a narrative or a textual picture of multifaceted, multiply-identified artists, and their complex art, is intended to encourage participation in the co-construction of meaning and the opportunity for dialogue between author and reader. Use of this frame contributes to refining portraiture 22 as a research methodology and as a way to re-examine landscape and identity as dynamic, cultural production catalysts. The Portrait Within a Portrait In this study, I have produced portraits of the artists' practices and their work from a personal perspective. As well, each one of the artists, from their own perspectives, produce portraits of their sense-of-self (MacGregor, 1995) and their relationship to landscape in British Columbia. In effect, for each artist this results in a portrait within a portrait. Rather than draw a portrait of the artists, I use the metaphor of collage to construct portraits that encompass fragments of information, particular knowledge and intuition, as a more appropriate process to describe the disjunctive and conjunctive aspects of their life and work. The artists, in turn, create portraits of their experiences using strategies and processes such as fragmentation, collage, juxtaposition, vernacular forms, and mixed media, that provide opportunities for interpretation and communication of questions, ideas and assertions that promote dialogue. A portrait within a portrait can be understood as an interactive dynamic relationship of researcher, artist, subject and viewer involving complex mirroring, mediations and interpretive reflections that shape perception while focusing on particular perspectives. The famous portrait "Las Meninas" (1656), by Velazquez, is a relevant example of the possibilities offered by the close analysis of representation and the interpretation of meaning within aesthetic inquiry. It consists of portraits within portraits of the artist and his subjects, depicting their positioning in the space through the images of mirrors, reflections and gazes toward and turned away from the viewer. De la Croix and Tansey (1986) discuss Velazquez' interest in representation and the "different degrees of 'reality' — the reality of canvas image, of mirror image, of optical image, and of two imaged paintings" depicting "mirrored spaces, 'real' spaces, picture spaces, and pictures within 23 pictures" in which "it appears that the artist has painted himself in the process of painting [portraits]" (p. 735). Michel Foucault (1970) uses this painting to refer to interpretation and meaning-making in relation to visual and symbolic images and their ideological frames. He deconstructs the structure of the painting, its signs and signifiers, and reconstructs with the reader new possibilities for interpretation and understanding of representation. The interplay between images and the maker of images, that is, between representation of the subject and the subjectivity of the artist, along with the complexity of other relationships internal and external to the frame, are made explicit by Foucault (1970). The same scrutiny and complexity with regard to interpretation of portraiture can also be considered in artwork related to landscape, and its deconstruction in portraiture research inquiries. Portraits, like landscapes, are partial views from personal perspectives, imperfect reflections that do not tell a complete story or paint a complete picture. They nevertheless have the potential to powerfully affect the sensibility of the viewer, especially one who is willing to 'read into' its many layers (Foucault, 1970). Portraiture as a Research Method I argue for portraiture as a research method which acknowledges a shift from positivist to interpretive paradigms of meaning-making, for transitions from modernism to postmodernism, from set beliefs and values to fluid and contested ones. Until recently, modernism has had profound effects on art, education and research theory and practice. The cultural coding of modern western civilization has centered on notions of dominance and mastery; "the dominance of humans over nature, of masculine over feminine, of the wealthy and powerful over the poor, and of Western over non-Western cultures" (Gablik, 1991, p. 117). Such notions, pervasive in contemporary culture includes modernist art which is heavily implicated in this ideology of modernism. My study portrays artists who counter this legacy, undertaking social/political struggles to overcome what Gablik (1991) describes as "configurations of power and profit... that.maintain 24 the dominant world view in place" (p. 117). They critique "systems of power and knowledge that preserve unjust exclusions" (Gablik, 1991, p. 128) to challenge racism, erasures or as Garoian (1998) suggests in his discussion on environmental education, attitudes toward nature that have devastating effects. In art, modernism emphasized progress and the development of autonomous and idealized forms focused on the object itself and its formal qualities, rather than examining it contextually within the cultural, social and political context of both the artist and the viewer. Modernist aesthetics as conceived by Bell (1913/1958) and Greenberg (1961) proceeded according to its own "laws" as self-referential "art for art's sake". In the 1960s, Greenberg's influence as a proponent of high-modernism was felt throughout Canada, and the visits by the New York critic to the Emma Lake Workshops in Saskatchewan were pivotal to the careers of many Canadian artists. Foster (1984) suggests the terms which modernism privileges and against which postmodernism is articulated: "Purity as an end and decorum as an effect; historicism as an operation and the museum as a context; the artist as original and the work of art as unique" (p. 191). Bourdieu (1977) critiques modernism's approach to the understanding of the object that has led to "a kind of art of fetishistic objects that are severed from social relations and produced for a public of spectators or consumers" (cited in Gablik, 1991, p. 128). Instead, Gablik (1991) proposes an approach more characteristic of feminism that focuses on "the importance of relationship and harmonious social interaction" (p. 128). Against art for art's sake, many feminist and postmodern scholars and practitioners advocate the creating of connections — of interrelatedness, and contextualization in representation practices, including research inquiry. According to Gablik (1991), "a sense of deep affiliation which breaks through the illusion of separateness and dualism is the highest principle of the feminine" (p. 128). This study, and the artists who contributed to it seek to challenge 25 Cartesian principles of universal laws and scientific 'truths' based on abstractions of theory that support exclusionary practices; focusing instead on specificity, contingency, community and non-discriminatory social practices. This study and the work of the artists aim to mark a shift to a more relational territory of understanding, framed within contexts of shifting identities, migrations and new understandings of historical narratives. Although informed by European postmodern theories of the 1980s, an emphasis on practice, with efforts to create understanding and articulate alliances in and between communities transforms those ideas. The notion of objectivism and universal laws that provide abstract accuracy in research inquiry is also challenged in postmodern art practice. Like the artists in the study, I refute those traditional "expectations of representation" often associated with portraiture and landscape genres, "as accurate reflections that mirror mimetically the likeness of the world as a model for the rules of aesthetic naturalism" (Meskimmon, 1996, p. 96). The association of aesthetic naturalism with 'the correct representation' is a reflection of "a positivist stance that claims that truth lies in the object rather than in a process of interpretation and meaning-making" (Meskimmon, 1996, p. 97). In Western fine art, emphasis placed on the mimetic object rather than on lived experience and other ways of knowing, supports the idea that, "To represent the objects of the world correctly is to know them and understand them" (Meskimmon, 1996, p. 4). While this Platonic concept of mimesis, popular in the 18th century in art criticism, concentrated on the object, Aristotle, on the other hand, disputed the static depiction, and considered mimesis as a process: "as. the way in which one imitates" (Meskimmon, 1996, p. 97). For feminists, First Nations people and environmentalists, strategies of mime and parody are among those strategies used to negotiate and subvert mainstream assumptions and 'naturalized' positions. Using portraiture as a framework, both this thesis and the artists' work as portraits reflecting their own experiences, are intended as processes 26 that challenge the position of truth or fixed authority, and that act as catalysts for meaningful interpretation and the production of knowledge. Representation as a Concept Notions of representation are crucial to this study: in the research portrait as a representation of the artists and their artwork; in the representation of the artists' individual and community concerns that are embedded in their art and pedagogy; in their representation of communities as spokespersons. The logic of the mimetic mirror must be questioned, given its record of selectively excluding histories, operating to marginalize and disempower others, and relying on elitism and dualities of nature/culture, man/woman, and high/low definitions of art. That logic cannot be treated as natural, unalterable, or imperative since its mediation or translation must be acknowledged. Representation is inextricably linked to" power, and knowledge but cannot be linked to only certain kinds of knowledge that reject ways of knowing outside of positivism or outside of the dominant culture. For Linker (1984) subjectivity produced in and by representation suggests that "questions of signification cannot be divided from questions of subjectivity, from the processes by which viewing subjects are caught up in, formed by, and construct meaning" (p. 392). Roman and Apple (1990) acknowledge the integration of the pubic and personal, arguing for a shift from affirming "a social world that is meant to be gazed upon but not challenged or transformed" (p. 54) to one which views knowledge "as arising through practical social struggle to change the social world, a struggle that in turn changes the subjects themselves" (p. 54). The Importance of Context "Context is a dynamic framework, and like other phenomenological frameworks, is crucial to documentation of human experience and organizational culture" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 4). In this research portrait, context is not considered a distortion as in some positivist paradigms, but as a source of 27 understanding that is crucial to documenting human behaviour and experience (Haraway, 1988, 1991; Harding, 1986, 1987, 1991). Consideration of context can situate vantage points or standpoints of particular discourses using the artists' concrete material conditions to originate and address the adequacy of the research questions and procedures (Harding, 1987; Roman, 1992). By documenting and illuminating the complexity and detail of particular experiences or places to evoke recognition or understanding, the viewer/reader is more likely to identify in some way with the portraits constructed. Goldman-Segall's (1995) approach to the use of thick descriptions "as a conceptual tool for layering data from multiple perspectives and contexts" (p.7) has been useful as a model of representing information from the perspectives of the three artists, that is then contextualized within an expanded field of art and education. My own thick descriptions or detailed interpretations of layered and textured information are attempts to account "for the intricacies, subtleties and nuances sensed and observed by the researcher in the field" and to draw attention to "the particular [wherein] resides the general" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 14). By increasing specificity at the contextual level it becomes possible to see how larger issues are embedded in the particulars of everyday life (Lather, 1991). Attention to the setting of British Columbia, to the details of social reality that contribute to the complexity of the artists' experiences and their relationships with communities is integral to the research portrait and to the artists' approaches to art practice. According to Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997), "Context becomes the framework, the reference point, the map, the ecological sphere; it is used to place people and action in time and space, and as a resource for understanding what they say and do" (p. 14). In my view context is not a static frame, or static stage inside of which people and actions are placed, but a more dynamic interactive concept of context as active agent inseparable from the artists' experiences, intricately interwoven with the artists' 28 lives and issues they raise, not passive like nature presented in landscape representations as a stage (Solnit, 1994). In this study I have employed context as suggested by Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis, (1997) to depict the setting of British Columbia; to underscore its political and social history, art historical legacy, the movement of people, and the contemporary interactions and negotiations between people and place. I also make reference to my own personal context which inevitably contributes to my perspectives. In identifying central metaphors and patterns that foreshadow the central themes that shape the narrative portrait, I present aspects of the artists' contexts that helped form their identity, examining the ways they attempt to frame those contexts and effect their redefinition. In this study, the artists are keenly aware that as active agents who work within social, political and cultural contexts, their performative work has a practical component directed at reflecting and shaping those contexts. Issues of Voice In the research process of portraiture, voice involves "explicit interest in authorship, interpretation, relationship, aesthetics, and narrative" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p.87). It refers to the voice of the researcher, the voice or stories of the artists embedded in the interview/conversations and in their artwork, and the interpretive voice of the reader. Feminist and postmodern scholars acknowledge that the process of reporting about others is problematic (Alcoff, 1991; Fine, 1994; Goldman-Segall, 1994; Minh-Ha, 1989; Roman, 1992) since narratives tend to be as reflective of the author's point of view as they are of the person who is being portrayed. Because the researcher's values can permeate their inquiry, it is important to make the researcher's subjectivity visible. That subjectivity is imprinted on the final 29 narrative and in all aspects of the process of its production, including "the manner of listening, selecting, interpreting, and composing the story" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 13). Setting out my personal background helps to contextualize my own voice as a researcher. Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997) caution that the portraitist's voice must carefully balance "personal disposition and rigorous skepticism" (p. 13) while "discerning the sound and meaning of the actors'voices" (p. 105). In the field and in the text, "voice speaks about stance and perspective, reflecting the researcher's angle of vision, allowing her to perceive patterns", and in producing layered thick descriptions, the interpretive voice is used to seek meaning" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 13). Interpreted or translated by the viewer/reader, the interview statements, the artwork and the text of this narrative portrait take on new levels of meaning. "Truths are thus inherently partial, committed and incomplete" (Clifford and Marcus, 1986, p. 3). This point, in spite of being resisted by those who fear the collapse of clear standards of verification, is now widely asserted, accepted, and built into art practices and research in which, according to Clifford and Marcus (1986), "a rigorous sense of partiality can be a source of representational tact" (p. 7). Interpretation Interpretive phenomenological paradigms can be more than negotiated accounts; they can become accounts that are shaped by and are shapers of the world. Lather (1991), describing the difficult balance between representation of others' perspectives and the desire for social change and self-representation, suggests, "For praxis-oriented research paradigms, the challenge is how to maximize self as mediator between people's self-understandings and the need for ideological critique and transformative social action, without becoming impositional" (p. 64). 30 I have attempted to walk the line between these challenges, between my own voice and people's self-understanding. With reference to representation, voice rejects "positivist insistence on researcher neutrality and objectivity" (Lather, 1986, p. 64) and does not refer to a universalized objective perspective. Instead, the view is from somewhere in particular, not transcendent, unmarked, disembodied, or unmediated (Haraway, 1988, 1991). Harding (1991) notes that the "conception of value-free, impartial, dispassionate research is [traditionally] supposed to direct the identification of all social values, and their elimination from the results of research" (p. 143). However, such a conception, Harding (1991) claims, "has been operationalized to identify and eliminate only those social values and interests that differ from those people who are deemed expert by the scientific community to make such judgments" (p. 143). Like the artist/genius, these experts are sanctioned by dominant culture to speak from a position of privilege (Foucault, 1969/1992). This elitism has,: in the past, silenced the voices Or representation of individuals such as women, those individuals from minority ethnic groups or from other communities outside of the dominant culture from speaking or being listened to. This omission from representation may partly be due to what Gablik (1984) calls "enframing" as a way of seeing inherited from the Renaissance that produced the notion of the spectator who sits back and observes, who is the purveyor of the scene but sits outside of it, separate from what is being seen. Such a stance has contributed to the representation of nature as objectified landscape, distanced from lived experience. This Cartesian gaze is the disembodied eye that rests its aesthetic judgment on subject/object duality. Haraway (1991) critiques the privileging of sight as an objective sense, a God's eye, a paradigm for knowledge through which we can see and know about the world at the expense of other considerations. Haraway (1991) and Harding (1991) are among those who challenge the myth of pure, scientific objectivity in which disembodied vision has 31 played an important role.' Instead they propose vision as the metaphor with which we can construct an embodied knowledge. Like the artists in the study who employ visual art as a way of knowing, they argue for an objectivity that acknowledges the positions from which we see, and the particular 'situated knowledge' of our own vision, in order that we be both critical and accountable for it. Each of the artist's perspectives is represented and interpreted from interviews and artwork. Their own voices from transcripts of interviews are included in their portraits. My own voice, is present in the interpretation process which "determines language, frames and selects images, modulates articulation, and balances separate parts of a portrayal into a cohesive aesthetic whole" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 113). Interpretation acts "as an active link in the reconstruction and co-construction of narrative", connecting as if undifferentiated, artist—symbol/referent—perceiver; and portraitist— portrait/subject—reader (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 118). Dialogue The research portrait of this study was shaped in an interactive process of dialogue between portraitist and the artist. By each one participating in the composition of the image, a co-construction of the narrative resulted, "rich in meaning and resonance" which according to Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997) "is crucial to the success and authenticity of the recorded piece" (p. 3). Oakley's (1981) reminder that "there is no intimacy without reciprocity" (p. 49) describes the interactive relationship in which both researcher and subject benefit and of which I was aware throughout the research process. A parallel transformative process of representation similar to that of producing and reacting to the artwork agrees with Hammersley and Atkinson's (1983) emphasis on 'reflexivity'. Such a process recognizes that the researcher and the research act as part of the world under investigation and that meanings are 32 subject to change throughout the research process. Instead of adhering to a prescribed agenda found in structured interviews, in constructing the narrative portrait, I encouraged dialogue as a more open way of exchange and of fostering reflection about our lived experiences. Dialogue can be concerned with personal feelings and perspectives about struggles, hopes, intellectual preoccupations and passions. When questions are not programmatic, but are meant to unleash the flow of conversation, thoughts are allowed to emerge in a vivid, even exuberant form (Torres, 1998, p. 10). Dialogue, without the restrictive mediations of grammar and syntax of more formal communication is more likely to encourage voice to come forward and new narratives to develop. I have tried to follow the ethical position that Denzin and Lincoln (1994) endorse as the consequential model which "elaborates a feminist ethic that calls for collaborative, trusting, non-oppressive relationships between researcher and those studied" (p. 22) and "stresses personal accountability, caring, the value of individual expressiveness, the capacity for empathy, and the sharing of emotionality" (p. 22). The interviews were characterized by mutual respect and rapport between the artists and myself which resulted in relaxed, unreserved, sincere dialogue. Lather (1991) describes this position as "a give and take, a mutual negotiation of meaning and power, between researcher and participants and between data and theory" (p. 57). This mutual negotiation is a form of reflexivity, which calls for attention to the sensibilities and interrelationships of all those involved in the process. It is described by Delamont (1992) as "a social scientific variety of self-consciousness" (p. 8). This is also a way to describe my approach to research portraiture. Patterns and Themes Portraiture takes place as an evolving process of "description, interpretation, analysis, and synthesis, and an aesthetic process of narrative development" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 185). In the field, the researcher listens 33 for a story, not to a story (Alcoff, 1991). The story or themes selected which emerge from the data, and in turn give the data shape and form, are derived from the interviews, close examination of the artworks, a review of relevant literature, site observations, prior experience in similar settings, and a general knowledge of the field of inquiry. The themes were determined through an initial process "to bring interpretive insight, analytical scrutiny, and aesthetic order to the collection of data" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p 185). Miles and Huberman (1994) recommend using an adaptive, flexible procedure of memoing which they compare to sketching a picture, and to establishing increasingly less tentative notations not dissimilar to the process of creating a drawing or layerings of a collage. Their procedures proved helpful for finding the repetitive elements or directional thrusts that create patterns within the data. Glaser and Strauss' (1967) constant comparative method, sometimes called 'grounded theory', a dialectic process in the data collection in which the researcher is attentive to the research questions while listening to the responses, was another way to determine emergent themes to structure the study. The post-data collection analysis included a reflective period in which sorting, grouping, and classification of the information (Goetz & LeCompte, 1984) was prepared for the construction of the research portrait. In searching for emergent themes, Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997) suggest the process of triangulation to "weave together threads of data converging from a variety of sources", and to construct themes among "perspectives that are often experienced as contrasting and dissonant by the subjects" (p. 193). Techniques of triangulation to reveal patterns, resonant metaphors, repetitive spoken refrains, poetic or symbolic expressions, and themes expressed through cultural and institutional rituals are used for establishing and defining the trustworthiness of data. Lather (1991) argues that credibility of data could be established by collection from multiple 34 sources and by methods of analysis that seek convergence, but also consciously looking for counter patterns. The processes of synthesis, convergence, and contrast help to establish credible research. Relational Validity This research portrait, which sets aside conventional reliability and validity of other paradigms, aims to be a portrayal that will have resonance for the subjects, "who will see themselves reflected in the story, for the reader who will see no reason to disbelieve it, and for the portraitist herself whose deep knowledge of the setting and self-critical stance allow her to see the 'truth value' in her work" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 247). I agree with researchers who are skeptical about the scientific objectivism of orthodox notions of validity, who revise and expand those concepts to an "interactive, dialogic logic" that is "objectively subjective inquiry" (Reason & Rowan, 1981, p. 240). This research concurs with Maxwell (1992) who suggests that understanding, and validity that is relational is a more relevant and fundamental principle for qualitative research, than is the notion of validity as it is conventionally comprehended within quantitative research. Related to postmodern aims for ethnographic representation, this study rejects empirical validation, proposing instead research that possesses "evocative power" (Morgan, 1983, p. 298) by resonating with people's lived concerns, fears, and aspirations, and that serves an energizing, catalytic role. Artist and researcher/portraitist engage in similar creative processes that bring together the conception, structure, form and cohesion of a work. The research narrative, according to Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997), is "enriched by carefully constructed context, expressed through thoughtfully modulated voice, informed by cautiously guarded relationships, and organized into scrupulously selected themes" (p. 274). While I agree with Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997) that the narratives should form a "seamless synthesis of rigorous 35 procedures", I disagree that they have to "unite in an expressive aesthetic whole" (p. 274) since the artists and their work critique that very notion of harmony and closure that this suggests. None of the artworks in the study, although they attempt to build social bridges, encourages a sense that conflicting viewpoints can be distilled into a seamless whole. This idealistic notion (reminiscent of modernism's vision) is supplanted with the realization that inequalities exist, but that through negotiation and caring interactions conditions can be ameliorated. Unlike the artworks in this study which act in a collapsed non-sequential simultaneity, my work of portraiture necessarily follows a narrative logic, structured to be "ultimately linear [with] a beginning, middle and end" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 274). However, it shares with the artists' work the intention that Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997) recommend for their inquiry strategies: "to inform and inspire, be both didactic and illustrative, and underscore the importance of both strategy and insight" (p. 21). Summary In this study, I use portraiture (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997) as a research methodology, or paradigmatic frame for aesthetic and philosophical inquiry to create a narrative portrait or a textual picture of artists and their work. Employing ethnographic techniques, this study is attentive to issues of representation, context, voice, interpretation, dialogue, patterns and themes, and relational validity in the construction of the research portrait. Postmodern portraiture with its ethical relation of self and other, and its self-consciousness of power relations, attempts to mark a shift from research paradigms reproducing inequality towards interaction and reciprocity underscored by postmodern and feminist notions of art, education and research inquiry. Now initiatives in art education also look to new more inclusive postmodern approaches (Elfand, Freedman & Stuhr, 1996) that include multicultural education (Banks, 1989; Chalmers, 1996; Stuhr, Petrovich-36 Mwaniki, & Wasson, 1992; Sleeter, 1991), social reconstruction education (Hicks, 1994,. Stuhr, 1994), and environmental education (Blandy, Congdon, & Krug, 1998; Garoian, 1998) for innovative teaching and learning within new frameworks. As with the viewfinder on a camera, to move the frame is to consider different knowledges and different subjects. According to Meskimmon (1996), "Western art has been strictly controlled with regard to framing, as has Western knowledge" (p. 4). This study is allied with the artists' attempts to shift and to open those frames to enable diverse points of view and broader perspectives. 37 I l l L A N D S C A P E A N D IDENTITY Landscape as Cultural Construct Contemporary perceptions of the landscape have been radically changed over the last two decades with the realization of the interconnectedness of social, cultural and political systems and those of the natural world. As a result, a number of theoretical positions have evolved to try to account for these ways of understanding the relationship of man/nature/culture. Landscape has been described by cultural critic and art historian W. J. T Mitchell (1994) "as a material 'means' like language or paint, that is embedded in a tradition of cultural signification and communication, a body of symbolic forms capable of being invoked and reshaped to express meaning and values" (p. 14). Although land itself is the 'common ground' that is fundamental to everyone, each individual interprets its forms and values differently. The artists in this study, Jin-me Yoon, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and Marian Penner Bancroft, share a common interest in asserting that "place is not defined by physical geography alone", but opens onto "a broader matrix" (Arnold, 1996, p. 3) of representation, history and questions of identity. Although they each draw on different traditions to articulate their relationships to and perspectives on the land, audience and community, they agree with Mitchell (1994) that landscape is a cultural practice, an active ground that can be considered part of a process by which we can better understand each other. In his book Power and Landscape Mitchell (1994) proposes that we think of landscape "not as a noun, an object to be seen or a text to be read, but as a verb", underscoring the notion of agency. He further suggests that landscape contributes to "a process by which social and subjective identities are formed" (p. 1-2). This notion of subjectivity being formed through landscape is useful to understand the work of the three artists in the study. Their work is about this 38 wider active concept of landscape, which museum director and curator Martin Friedman (1994) calls "not just a vehicle for aesthetic exploration" but "a metaphoric means of eloquently expressing, subjective reactions to contemporary life" (p. 14). Underlying the artists' work are the complex relationships of landscape to identity and of landscape to nature. According to curators Gierstberg and Vroege (1992), the Western art tradition's concept of landscape "has little or nothing to do with nature and everything to do with art: it stands primarily as an image, a depiction in which the codes of representation which are dominant in our society are present in such a way as to cover up reality" (p. 4). It has been argued that "landscape" is therefore not nature, but a cultural construction which is conceived and made by mankind.. Critic and activist Rebecca Solnit (1994) reminds us that as the dichotomy of nature and culture has become suspect, it has become "more difficult to sustain metaphors of nature and matter as other" (p. 104). Our own society's dominant codes of representation involve a nostalgic, romanticized vision of nature. Although the environment has undergone enormous social and technological transformations in this century, most art work preoccupied with landscape continues to represent an unconflicted view with an increasing distance between the depiction of nature and life's realities. Landscape painting produced within a 20th century modernist frame has been represented as an immutable essence that presents a seemingly "naturalized" vision or opaque mask of nature that supports an awe-inspiring distancing of our own lives from the world in which we live and the complexity of our dependency on nature. "In its quiet contemplation, we nostalgically restore a fictional sense of wholeness and social reality missing from our actual landscapes of billboards, antennae", environmental damage and contested territory (Sherlock, 1991, p. 127). To counter this gap between real environmental conditions, injustices, and conflicts, and their rose-coloured representation, Solnit (1994) advocates 39 consideration of landscape "as the. environment, which includes politics and economics, the microcosmic as well as the macrocosmic, the cultural as an extension of the natural, our bodies as natural systems that pattern our thought, and our thoughts as structured around metaphors drawn from nature" (p. 101). Ecological and social imperatives have spurred art and education practices to consider "reinventing our relationship to the land, [as] one of the principal intellectual battlefields of our time" (Solnit, 1994, p. 100). Contemporary Redefinition of 'Nature' Underlining the importance of global environmental systematic dynamics and the materiality of land, Solnit (1994) alerts us to the problematic nature of the word 'land' itself: since "landscape describes the natural world as an aesthetic phenomenon, a department of visual representation; landscape is scenery, scenery is stage decoration, and stage decorations are static back drops for a drama that is human" (p. 100). Contemporary artists and educators are therefore challenged to unravel assertions about alienation from nature and to recognize landscape "not as scenery but as the spaces and systems we inhabit, systems and substances our lives depend upon" (Solnit, 1994, p. 101), rather than scenes that are only "manifestations of nature" (p. 106). In an attempt to improve social and environmental conditions, many contemporary artists, including the three artists in this study, have undertaken to critique colonizing, romantic, transcendental, or formalist aesthetic approaches to the representation of landscape. Their work can largely be understood as an articulation of society's loss of innocence in the belief of progress without consideration of serious, harmful consequences. This predicament has been transformed by the artists into haunting questions and disquieting answers. In their exploration of "the navigation of histories, codes and perceptions that separate us from our environment" (Augaitis, 1991, p. 3), they examine the profound influence of everyday experience on the formation of 40 identity. In seeking to change awareness of environmental issues, racism, alienation, and the erasure of history, they engage with audiences in dialogue through the artwork. Their strategies include implementing pedagogical interactive approaches of art education. Although they probably don't think of this dialogue as pedagogical, it can be thought of as having a pedagogical impact, since as Ellsworth (1989) suggests, pedagogy that is empowering can nurture respect for diversity and difference between and among people in relation to their own lived experience. Before examining these three artists' pedagogical interventions into the traditions of landscape art, it may be useful to briefly review those traditions. His to r i ca l Perspect ives The discourse and pictorial practice of landscape painting in Western art history that gathered momentum and prestige to the end of the 19th century began with Dutch "landskip" paintings of the 17th century. In these works, nature was presented as an autonomous subject with its own symbolism. The construction of landscape as controlled space also celebrated property ownership of the self-conscious bourgeoisie who had fought for the liberation of their national territory (Linsley, 1991). In England, the concept of landscape as a cultural arid symbolic construction emerged during the late 17th century, influenced by publications such as Henry Peacham's Minerva Britannia, a book of emblems on how to translate, a site pictorially into two dimensions. In one example he proposed a prototype scene,which consisted of an inventory of the standard features of the humanist 'happy valley', replete with rolling hills and flocks of sheep (Schama, 1995). Elaborate framed borders signaled that the truth of the image was to be considered poetic rather than literal, in order to act as an enclosure for associations and sentiments that gave meaning to the scene. An example of such deliberate framing was the Claude-glass, a small round portable mirror used as a device to enclose a vista with a harmonious blend of nature and civilization, to ensure that the picturesque formula derived from the paintings of 41 Claude Lorraine could be thus reproduced by artists and tourists in the eighteenth century (Sherlock, 1991). The subject matter thus contained within the Claude-glass was thought of as raw or unencoded material, not symbolic form in its own right, as we now understand it to be. As a formulating compositional device, it could be considered as a precursor to the camera view-finder, an organizing device that selects and crops a scene, and that focuses microscopically or macroscopically from a single point of view. In the eighteenth century, the English continued to follow the Dutch model of the passive landscape circumscribed by human will and progress, but the formulaic characteristics of earlier categories of painting were gradually supplanted during the early nineteenth century by landscape painting that strove for realism and scientific accuracy to reflect the increasing prestige and achievements of empirical science and its offspring, technology (Bright, 1989). Scientific theories such as those of Newton that examined man's relationship to nature and the universe piqued the imagination of artists who, in their paintings, depicted human control over nature, as well as fear of its power and majesty. Photography later took up the role of accurate depiction as a so-called 'objective' tool of science and for documentation for the production of maps, the collection of biological data, and images and information of people and places. European-trained artists brought to Canada their ideas of how to represent the landscape, derived from notions of the sublime and the beautiful as "articulated by the mid-eighteenth century writers Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant, late eighteenth-century English theories of the picturesque; and the nineteenth century writings of John Ruskin" (Beardsley, 1994, p. 38). Ideologies of Space In the colonization of Canada, visual representations of the land played a key role in creating and reflecting imperialist attitudes. Throughout its history until the middle of this century, the self-conception of Canada has been accompanied 42 by three myths from eurocentric, culture. The 'progressive', 'primitivistic' and 'pastoral' are three variants of an ideology of space, ideologies of colonialization, by which representation of the land in western landscape painting tradition has primarily been perpetuated. Although these ideologie's have "possessed a certain conceptual, even iconic integrity", (Harris, 1994, p. 90), such clear levels of separation are no longer convincing. Since the eighteenth century the most influential myth of "progress" and national origin is characterized by the "triumph of civilization," associated with the highest values of European culture. Envisioning Canada as a vast, boundless, bountiful and God-given land that was uninhabited and unclaimed, a potentially valuable space to be explored, subdued and developed, European imperialists imposed their own attitudes, beliefs, and values upon it. In the opinion of the colonizers, the "Indians" were savages and hence, as a part of nature, also to be controlled. Lending support to this utilitarian ideology, Judeo-Christian theology states that nature exists to serve humanity. Cartesian principles that separate nature and culture, and those Judeo-Christian doctrines that pertain to Genesis and the Garden of Eden, have been entangled with religious morality and notions of good and evil. They underscore beliefs in human destiny to tame the wilderness, to settle the land and to control the Native people for the betterment of mankind. In matters that dealt with ownership of the land and its use, policy makers were influenced by the economic concept of property, using as a basis for decisions the capitalist principle of'letting the market decide'. Newcomers to the land presumed and imposed ownership over territory occupied by the Native people. Not until recently has this dominant principle and 'modus operandi' been seriously challenged by environmentalists, or been the subject of legal challenges by the First Nations. 43 Countering the dominant colonialist view of the world of nature as chaos, that spurred ideas of "progress" and expanding capitalism which then resulted in the destruction of the countryside, some European settlers supported a primitivistic, more poetic relationship to the land. This dissenting group included many writers and artists whose work fueled the imagination of their audience and helped to spawn conservation and preservation movements. Legacy of Pictorial Conventions In this century, photography and reproduction technologies have promulgated the wide-spread dissemination of landscape images, framed and constructed from eighteenth and nineteenth century landscape painting traditions. According to Gierstberg and Vroege (1992), these images, steeped in Romantic pictorial conventions display "characteristics of a narcotic that gives us a pleasant high when we want to escape confrontation with the hostile outer world" (p. 6). For viewers and photographers, the popularity and pervasive presence of such images fuels expectations for traditionally determined content and conventional formal interpretations resulting in a situation whereby "a critical entry into such images is sometimes difficult" (Gierstberg & Vroege, 1992, p. 6). The legacy of those images and others in this country that draw on myths of Canadian wilderness and 'empty' awe-inspiring terrain, reverberate in contemporary society where they continue to have powerful influence on the definition of Canadian identity. It should be remembered, however, that there are many claims on that landscape. In British Columbia issues of the land involve "ownership and fundamental claims of sovereignty which are at the base of every notion of wilderness - a notion that depends for its dynamic on the invisibility of the First Nations and a national historical forgetting of the injustices done to them" (Watson, 1991, p. 112). 44 The representation of national and racial values are embedded deeply in our imagination of land as it is represented in landscape painting. Watson (1991) therefore asserts, that, "nature as the subject of a picture has many subtexts besides the romantic one usually foregrounded" (p. 103). In addition to contention over land, in Canada today, contrary to self-congratulatory government claims of support for a multi-cultural mosaic, difference is not wholly tolerated. In the past, depictions of Canada have largely excluded marginalized people from representation altogether, or have represented them in stereotyped or negative ways. Also damaging, especially for First Nations people, is "assigning] to a people a glorious past, to idealize ethics and pride, ...to deny a presentness of capability and achievement" (Teitelbaum, 1991, p. 77). Linsley's (1991) appraisal that "the strength of [native] U t o p i a n glamour is in direct proportion to the native's real suffering and the dispossession of their heritage" is distressing (p. 237). According to Clifford (1988), artists from minority communities whose aim is self-representation or the invention of local futures, are faced with the challenge of negotiating interpretations and definitions of those communities imposed by Western imagination. The imprint of a legacy of racism and injustice in actions and attitudes, evidenced in British Columbia's history, is increasingly being confronted by cultural producers, especially First Nations people, recent immigrants and feminists. They are reclaiming their subjectivities and inserting themselves in the landscape; their significant contributions to the vibrancy of life in this province are now being seen and are becoming better understood. Landscape Imagery as Myth and Symbol In Canada, Aotearoa/New Zealand and in other former British colonies, representational landscape painting, bound up with the question of national identity and a protracted history, and with attempts to define place in the imaginations of people who inhabited those lands, remained a vital mode of expression until the 1960s. The historian Margaret Ormsby (1966) in "A 45 Horizontal View" in The Canadian Historical Association Annual Report highlights the important role of the imagination interconnecting people and geography; "Of all men the Westerner is the man who knows he is both on the edge of civilization and on the verge of something new. Estranged by distance from his own kind, separated by a time lag from his former society, he permits the landscape to intrude itself into the very pith of his subconscious being. The symbol of his aspiration, the badge of his despair, the landscape assumes romantic proportions to compensate him for his solitude" (p. 2). Such feelings of alienation, displacement, and expectation bound up in the landscape, resonate with the experiences expressed by a growing number of artists now living in Canada, in more stark and critical ways. They critique art history and representations within British Columbia culture, described by Danzker (1983). as involving "two kinds of landscapes to acquire romantic proportion; the physical and the cultural" (p. 208). Rather than romantic perspectives of spectacular scenery, the artists posit views of dynamic interactions between people and the geography that are abundant with possibility. Optimistic about their ability to enact social and environmental agency, their work embraces the pedagogical and transformative potential of cultural production. Aimed at redefining landscape as a catalyst for dialogue and as a practice for developing and expressing individual, and community perspectives; many artists focus on what it is to be attached to a particular place, acknowledging its complexities and textures (Desai, 1994), rather than being everywhere and nowhere. In discussing the role of art and in answer to the question "what then is [its] relation to reality", Diana Nemiroff (1983) suggests that two major responses of twentieth century artists have been, "art as an expression of inner reality" and "art as its own reality" (p. 205). In the early 1980s, since "both alternatives 46 seemed to sever art from meaningful contact with the world",therefore, "to close the gap between art and life" those approaches were challenged by the artists (p. 205). Bright (1989) critiques the escapism of considering landscape as "an antidote to politics, as a pastoral salve to lull us back to some primordial sense of pur own insignificance" or "as loci of our modernist pleasure - found happenings for the lens whose references to the worlds beyond the frame rivet all attention to the sensibility of the artist" (p. 126). Until recently, Deborah Bright (1989) suggests, the formal elements that comprise a landscape painting, and what has been included or excluded in the visual field has been the axis of much art historical criticism; however, "the historical and social significance of those choices has rarely been addressed and even intentionally avoided" (p. 127). Nature, represented by artists as an aestheticized other, rather than as a codified subject has often been part of the process whereby "a scrim of myth has come to veil our view of the past, misleading by pleasing" (Prown, 1992, p. xii). Even when purporting to depict the landscape realistically, often the art presented "more accurately the needs, values and aspirations of its viewing audience" that excluded or misrepresented people or situations (Prown, 1992, p. xii). For example, the depiction of Canada by Europeans had more to do with "blind colonialist ambition" than abstract notions of beauty, as "Beauty cloaks the political and economic objectives of a certain class, race, and gender to the detriment and exclusion of others" (Sherlock, 1991, p. 125). Influenced by 19th century paintings and photographs, idyllic visions of the land still persist as popular commodities; but while "scenic wonders have not lost their power to stir the imagination, less comforting ideas about the state of its natural resources have seeped into our consciousness" (Freidman, 1994, p. 12). The beautiful, according to Sherlock (1991), "only reproduces a confirmation of an aesthetic judgment already made, a consensus fossilized, a mirror image of society's prevailing values" (p. 126); it is a classification that problematizes the saying that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. 47 TTie Reality of the Environment The shifting attitudes that recognize the environmental fragility of the planet make it no longer possible to conceive of the land in terms of eighteenth century sensibilities: of the beautiful, the sublime and the picturesque. Since the 1960s a growing number of artists have addressed "the landscape as we actually inhabit it, rather than as we know it from ideology or myth (or from their handmaiden, art)" (Beardsley, 1994, p. 35). In British Columbia "artists [and educators] are beginning to realize what is indicated on land use maps". They understand that "wilderness areas are not simply places for spiritual regeneration but are now considered integrated components of a fully industrialized landscape" (Linsley, 1991, p. 236). The land has been allocated for "tree farms and resource extraction industries, and as a park system which forms a resource base for tourism and recreation industries"(Linsley, 1991, p. 236). Artists and educators increasingly acknowledge the fragile balance between the physical condition of the planet and social and political conflicts surrounding issues of land. Contemporary artists and educators challenge modernism's universal view committed to objectivity, generalization, and the separation of humankind and nature by setting in place those approaches that acknowledge contingent, located, particular, and partial views (Alcoff, 1991; Haraway, 1991).. To open new relationships inclusive of all voices requires a "shift to a belief in a systemic, syntactic world of relations" rather than a focus on the special objects (Solnit, 1994, p. 101). Modernism has advocated "gestures of purity and transcendence against the body, the senses, the maternal, against origins, mutability, ambiguity, a gesture of absolutes and universals" (p. 109). Instead, many artists now "celebrate the sensory, the tangible, the feminine, the complex, the impure, the contextual, the local, the specific, the contingent, the fecund, mutable, shifting, ambiguous, immanent" (Solnit, 1994, p. 109). 48 Artists and educators now understand that the meaning of a work of art cannot be determined without a close examination of the social conditions of production and reception that considers the importance of context from both broad and particular perspectives (Bolton, 1989). Acknowledging the dynamic of interpretation that links artist, artwork and audience/participant, Solnit (1994) states; "The subject of a work of art becomes the world that surrounds it: the picture is always being made by the viewer, rather than premade by the artist" (p. 114). Solnit (1994) explains that "creation shifts from fait accompli produced by the privileged mythic artist/genius to present tense, as the artist becomes a collaborator" in a dynamic world. The artists/pedagogues in this study, who look again at the present and engage with issues of representation, include these broader implications in which complex conditions and conflicts that address lived experience are explored. Contemporary Theoretical Shifts Representation is a key element in how we understand the world. "Reality is a picture of the world we build for ourselves; its image [or representation], is a relative thing" (Nemiroff, 1983, p. 205). How we frame the world, how we are located or situated (Haraway, 1991), depends, then, on our position in it and how we perceive that position. Hal Foster (1983) suggests that postmodernism is intended "as a critique which de-structures the order of representations in order to re-inscribe them" (p. xv). Essential to postmodernism is the deciphering or decoding of objects in order to view internal reference and meaning as it is influenced and even determined by dominant ideological and cultural forces at all levels (Foucault, 1980). It signals a practice that is "sensitive to cultural forms, engaged in the political or rooted in a vernacular that is, to forms that deny the idea of a privileged aesthetic realm" (Foster, 1983, p.xv). 49 Contemporary art discourse and the development of praxis has moved beyond a focus on the aesthetic to include an awareness of ideological premises underlying those values and beliefs that are a part of culture, social structures and institutions. According to feminist cultural critic Suzi Gablik (1995), "Exposing the radical autonomy of aesthetics as something that is not 'neutral', but is an active participant in cultural ideology has been a primary accomplishment of the aggressive ground-clearing work of deconstruction" (p. 74). Deconstruction, a poststructuralist concept in a postmodernist paradigm, poses the destabilization of accepted and traditional meanings. Feminist theory and practice has extended this process to reach "far deeper... to expose entrenched structures and beliefs" such as "the Cartesian view of the world as a collection of discrete inanimate objects... a stable one of things" (Solnit, 1994, p 107). Cultural ideology has positioned the landscape and woman as commodified objects, part of the same sphere, wild and unpredictable, to be controlled by men, who embodied reason (Alcoff, 1989; Merchant, 1983, 1995) The odalisque as the supine woman, and the passive landscape as pleasure-ground "are acted upon, rather than actors, sites for the imposition, rather than generation of meaning, and both are positioned for consumption by the viewer of works of art" (Solnit, 1994, p. 103). In the same way, works of art were themselves considered largely as consumable property. In this construct, reference has been made to the landscape as a body, a scape that opens up to show itself, that reveals its 'secrets' to the probing eye for pleasure (Mitchell, 1994; Pratt, 1985; Solnit, 1994). Postmodern strategies posit landscape that is not distanced by "gaze" (Berger, 1977) but rather is characterized as attempts to find personal understandings of the natural environment in a cultural milieu full of fragmented notions of self, other, identity, belonging and nature (Solnit, 1994). The conflation of nature with landscape connotes for some artists and educators a fragile life-cycle to which humankind is inextricably linked; for others, it is a repository of history 50 and myth. Reflection on how landscape has been formed into a historical and intellectual construction, a human organization of space, and an interpretation of place and identity attests to its wide interpretive possibility. Memory and Identity The concept of landscape as the pictorial idea of space or as a bridge to the transcendental, as seen through an "innocent eye" (Mitchell, 1994, p. 1), restricts the breadth of possibilities that evolve from the relations of people and place. For artists and educators, to feign innocence or disinterest in the degradation of the planet or the conflicts that arise over ownership and use of land, and issues of belonging, is now morally unconscionable. Now interest in located, partial, individual perspectives and the relationship of power to knowledge challenge universalizing, authoritative voices. Cultural production as small narratives of lived experience supports feminism's assertion that "the personal is political ...which transplants the idea of politics, the contest of meaning in the arenas of power ... from a public region to every interstice of experience" (Solnit, 1994, p. 108), Landscape as a focus in art and education is intricately linked through memory and history to the formation of identity. Embedded in the landscape, and formed from it are public and personal perspectives connected to lived experience, societal values and beliefs. Merging private and public realms, artists and educators, from various and unique points-of-view, affirm that landscape in its material and conceptual manifestations "is of crucial importance in the expression and evaluation of our cultural identity" (Beardsley, 1994, p. 46). For many artists, including those addressing issues of landscape, according to art critic and anthropologist Charlotte Townsend-Gault (1983), "their own social identity and function in society has been a critical issue, often central to their work" (p. 148). Instead of modernist notions of space as abstracted from memory and experience, ahistorical or uncontested, Jeff Kelly (1995,1996) proposes those 51 experiences and rich repositories of memories and stories, as a common ground on which to base our concept of 'place'. No matter how transiently we are located, place can be considered a resource from which new histories and the creation of cultural production can evolve. Artists, especially those from marginalized communities, are adding their voices to the cultural landscape, drawing attention to the need to respect diversity and difference, to address alienation and belonging and to reassess our relationship with nature, in order to care for the environment. Place, Time and History 'Place' is a term that resonates with lived experience in relation to personal memory and identity. Artists and educators can help to link these diverse experiences by inquiry into constructs of landscape as related to postmodern concepts of place. Respect for difference can be nurtured through transformative educational possiblities related to ideas about 'place' that explore the multiplicity of meanings that relate to landscape and identity. Artist/pedagogues who are sensitive to the relationship of time and place consider that time past is memory, time present is lived experience and time future is expectation. Their work is about the present as it references the future. Influenced by traditions that form and inform memory, that shape identity, and are closely linked to history and experience, many postmodern artists and educators recognize the indissoluble pairing of remembering and forgetting. For Hans-Georg Gadamer, this pairing refers to "the coexistence of past and future" (cited in Campbell, 1988, p. 2). Many postmodern artists and educators are concerned with future social change through the transformation of consciousness. At the same time they recognize that recollection of memory, and tradition incorporating the past "is not simple retention of yesterday's artistic detritus but the continuous interplay of our present intentions with the past that is still with us" (Campbell, 1988, p. 2). 52 In British Columbia, artists from diverse communities, "who interrogate but do not embody official culture" (Arnold, 1996, p. 1), examine their relationship to Canadian culture simultaneously as outside observers and as active participants. They are engaged in "making visible and tangible the most invisible and inchoate forces that have affected their own identities and identifications" (Tchen, 1994, p. 22). For feminist artists, or artists from diasporic or First Nations communities, this means sometimes "struggling with the sense of perennially being 'other'" and sometimes "trying to reconcile the divergent cultural traditions in which they find themselves" (Desai, 1994, p. 8). While they share areas of commonality, tensions and disjunctions also exist, as individuals and communities seek a place for themselves in the landscape they call 'home'. Although searching for a sense of connection, for many artists "there is a corresponding sense of dislocation" (Desai, 1994, p. 36). Many of these artists have found it important to re-examine traditional assumptions and histories, especially those "most widely circulated in Canadian society" (Arnold, 1996, p. 3). Their work emphasizes fluid, hybrid relationships, in and between cultures, which are also understood as being permeable and evolving. Those artists and educators who recognize the inevitability of cross-cultural influences in Canadian society, celebrate social dynamics in flux that form hybrid, multiple identities of individuals and communities. Their art "articulates an historic awareness of location and identity" (Arnold, 1996, p. 2), exploring the formation of identity intersected with traces of memory deeply embedded in the history of British Columbia. Cross-Cultural Issues and Stereotypes For many individuals, cultural stereotypes that have been implanted in the popular imagination (Machida, 1994) have created discord between their personal identity, and their public roles. Historically, the attitudes associated with these stereotypes became incorporated into Canadian immigration 53 practices, civil laws and foreign policies. They even resulted in imposed segregation, limitations on employment and educational opportunities, as well as residential restrictions that defined where people could live (Tchen, 1994, p. 18). Legislation, such as The Indian Act of 1876, which was based on the values and beliefs of European colonizers, often determined the legal and social identities. Negative stereotypes were attributed especially to Native people, Asian and other non-European immigrants whose status and social position, often imposed by the courts, was made real and pervasive in all aspects of life. In the catalogue for the exhibition Asia/America: Identities in Asian American Art, Tchen (1994) critiques institutionalized multiculturalism in Western society, describing the hegemonic practices of colonial culture as on-going. According to Tchen (1994), the exacerbation of the problem can be partially explained by the proliferation of technology and cultural expansionism: "Given the legacy of different European colonialisms and the globalization of MTV culture and capitalism, the zones of encounter have also become zones of symbolic and actual dominance" (p. 13). The effects of misrepresentation are a complex dual process that affects all parties, "not only the identities of peoples and cultures being represented but also the identities of peoples and cultures doing the representing" (Tchen, 1994, p. 13). Recognizing that technological advances have created new opportunities for the mixing of cultures, Edward Rothstein (1998) suggests that what previously happened in war when the victors imposed their culture on those they vanquished, now takes place through travel and television. Rothstein (1998) poses the question, "If, as modernism asserts, we are all the same, then how are we all different?" (p. 4). Postmodern artists and educators confront such questions, as well as those regarding the desirability and the viability of maintaining difference. Clearly there is no simple answer to these 54 queries, as the identities of individuals and groups are always in a state of flux and open to negotiation. Creative answers, while they are "provisional and particular to themselves" (Desai, 1994, p. 24) can also be a critique of ideas, institutions and such policies as multiculturalism and Aboriginal classifications (Irwin, Rogers & Farrell, in press). Artists and art educators have an important role to play in providing frameworks and exploring strategies in which concerns associated with identity and place can be presented and encouraged as important contributions to our understanding of each other. Contestation of Terrain Leo Marx (1991) describes landscape as "a physical entity whose meaning and value we construct and for which we have a variety of other names: land, topography, terrain, territory, environment, cityscape, countryside, scenery, place etc." (p. 62). Each of these terms describes a form of geographic space imbued with meaning that has reference outside of its physical description. "Image geographers" describe "our shared mental map" as the "objective geographic image reshaped by our shared assumptions, beliefs or ideology" (Marx, 1991, p.62). The artists in this study veer from notions of consensus and generalization to examine the contingencies of individual and community experience from their particular situated and located points of view (Haraway, 1991). They make conscious efforts to teach about other ways of considering landscape that take into account disjunctions that relate to their sense of belonging to the social and physical British Columbia landscape. They attempt to present not a finite vision of a fixed map or portrait, but a way of seeing (Berger; 1977). In presenting pedagogical visual experiences as dynamic interactions to nurture understanding of relationships between people, objects or places, artist/pedagogues propose linkages or journeys rather than static entities or ideas isolated from their world (Clifford, 1997; Kwon, 1997). 55 Rosalyn Deutsch explains that "space as a reflection of power relations (produced by social relations) is on the political agenda as it never has been before" (cited in Lippard, 1995, p. 117). The British Columbia context is a rapidly changing situation where the political agenda includes First Nations land claims, designation of huge areas for land reserves, the establishment of provincial parks, environmental lobbying groups, and new forestry leasing and fishing practices. Impending changes that are a result of these circumstances will affect individuals, families and communities. Curator and historian Matthew Teitelbaum (1991), referring to the relationship of landscape and power explains; "The conflicted relationship between cultural privileges and the histories of marginalized populations which has been interrogated by a number of contemporary artists... is tied specifically to the question of contested, land" (p. 71). In speaking about land claims as an example, he predicts; "ownership issues might alter the way we look at landscape in Canada" (p. 71). In broader terms, in Western culture, contestations regarding land use and ownership and the attendant power associated with its control, have been and continue to be a crucial factor in our survival or destruction, whether through war and imposed systems or through our neglect of nature. Seen from this perspective it is not surprising that the social, political and material landscapes have become important subjects for contemporary artists. The environment we live in today, according to Leo Marx (1991) in his study of landscape and architecture, is a "middle landscape," a "via media" neither urban nor wild, that can be thought of as a harmonization of civilization and nature that combines their best features (p. 66). In the early part of this century, this pastoral ideal of a middle landscape provided a focus for regional planning, and a rationale for the establishment of urban and rural public parks. Initiatives to preserve and establish green spaces occurred in tandem with the impetus to build suburbs and extend transportation systems. Railways, roads and other amenities for middle class convenience and efficiency of movement 'to escape' 56 from the city helped to promote tourism and to facilitate development and industry. Marx (1991) finds in this ideology of space "the contradictory yoking together of a desire for access to the unspoiled countryside and a persistent disregard for its long term well-being and survival" (p. 74). He describes this as "a centrifugal impulse that has often combined a desire to escape from complexity with a desire to conquer, dominate and commodify the environment" (p. 74). The belief in the power of'mother earth' to soothe and heal coupled with the simultaneous disregard for its well-being, is a legacy that still endures. The Wilderness as Refuge In the early part of this century, the creation of pockets of Arcadian nature in North American cities and nearby forest preserves reflected the taste for an aestheticized nature and the possibility of a 'natural' experience as an antidote to an 'unhealthy' urban life. As a result of enormous Canadian public works projects, redesigned nature provided access to parks. These were agressively promoted and popularized through the press and other media outlets, as landscape images of a sanitized and singular natural world. Designated vantage point look-outs on highways, reproductions of photographic images on calendars, postcards and elsewhere, served to determine the expectations of the nature-seeking, view-seeking public who often aligned themselves physically with a sight-line perspective to 'capture' images in the natural environment, that would exactly correspond with those with which they were already familiar. Visitors to the parks often still seek not the wilderness itself but a match with recognizable representations of the unique, the spectacular or the sublime found in postcards, advertising, and magazine illustrations. These latter representations have roots in Romantic literature and landscape art. Such "Scenic beauty" according to Schmitt (cited in Bright, 1989, p. 128) "is an art form and its inspiration a preconditioned experience". 57 In Canada, Banff National Park was first established in 1885, not initially to preserve nature or to serve indigenous communities, but as a collaboration with the railway to promote 'scenic beauty' for tourist travel. Sherlock (1991) compares this process with destroying a habitat and then "constructing a zoo to display the endangered animals" (p. 135). Canadians, in general, are proud of their parks which attract visitors from all over the world, but rarely do they remember the circumstances under which they were established or the plight of the First Nations people in this restructuring. "In a reverse of convention which places barriers against the beastly, in this case the protectors kept the animals in and the humans out; the natives were edited out of the idyll" (Sherlock, 1991, p. 135). Today wilderness refuges, such as Banff National Park, are considered sacred places of national significance to be preserved for future generations. They are a vision of "a democratic terrestrial paradise and in our imagination and our perception they exist as painted and photographed, with no trace of human presence, without parking lots, MacDonalds, garbage cans etc. (Sherlock, 1991, p. 135). Schama (1995) suggests that it is "culture, convention and cognition...that invests a retinal impression on the quality we experience as beauty" (p. 12), making "our own terrestrial" paradise a heavily edited image. Increasingly the natural landscape is treated like a Disney-like theme park, as in the case of the popular Whistler Mountain Resort development or the proliferation of dozens of whale-watching businesses on British Columbia's west coast where nature has become "the ward of the developer or promoter-impressario, a protected and filtered asylum for flora and fauna for the purposes of diversion and entertainment" (Harris, 1994, p. 90). Largely due to formal and informal teachings and the mass media, what we understand to be beautiful (or wild, or home, or other) is defined through social representations of the world which privilege selected objects and ideas. Limitations of 'universal' representations of truth include significant 58 omissions and misrepresentations since the experiences, values, and beliefs of all individuals and groups can never fit a single universal mold. A challenge for artist/pedagogues and educators is to encourage articulations of experience that are inclusive of difference, based on lived experience, sensitive to individual contexts and to history, and which avoid reproducing those power relations that have been destructive in Western society. Sherlock (1991) suggests that "counter strategies deployed by contemporary artists seeking to expose the truth of nature as pawn of history" could also focus on "landscape disguised as nature [in] our pursuit of authentic experience, restoration theologies and pastoral rambles" (p. 123). Feminist pedagogy based on respectful interrelationships, caring, dialogue and the sharing of situated knowledge (Ellsworth, 1989), argues for an understanding of knowledge construction through embodied and cognitive experiences (Sandell, 1991). This approach to social change coincides with those approaches of artists and educators who acknowledge lived experience as crucial to understanding the landscape in terms of alienation and belonging. This view takes up issues of the environment and urban change, while advocating attention to de-centered subjectivity and multi-sited agency. Social transformation for a more just society may be achieved through interaction based on alternative pedagogical models and art practices that foster empowerment, community, leadership and respect for difference (Ellsworth, 1989; Giroux & McLaren, 1989; Hicks 1990, 1994; Irwin, 1995, 1998, 1999; Sandell, 1991). Urban and Rural Relationships The history of the concept of landscape reflects a relationship between country and city on various levels. At its roots is an assumption of social domination over an objectified nature (Lemaire, 1992). Raymond Williams (1973) argues 59 that capitalism benefits from maintaining the city/country dichotomy, especially when the country is seen as analogous to an empire's colony. In the colonization of Canada, for example, the land was valued as a place that supplied raw materials for Europe's industrial society, and might alleviate urban problems with the possibility of emigration. William's work on the links between capitalism and the rural/urban relationship can also extend to the art world. Landscape painting and the landscape ideological construct, appreciated from the standpoint of ownership or the control of property, was "by and for the bourgeoisie" (Lemaire, 1992, p. 10). Although it depicted the country, it was always an urban perspective on the world, representing urbanites' assumptions, dreams and illusions (Lemaire, 1992). In the formation of Canada, images of the wilderness, the chaos of nature and the unbuilt world represented the potentiality of place. Underscoring the historic representation of nature, Raymond Williams (1973) states that "a working country is hardly ever a landscape" (cited in Mitchell, 1994, p. 33). The modern city seemed to produce "the necessary freedom from involvement, and distance, to be able to see and value land as landscape" (Lemaire, 1992, p. 10). Environmentalists, artists and educators denounce that distance increasingly mediated through our immersion in technology that disengages us from nature. They work towards deepening understanding of the interrelatedness between geographic environments and people; of shifting perspectives, relocations, and claims on the land that affect the dynamics of life in the province. By addressing the history of 'place' in the present (Hayden, 1995; Lippard, 1997) using strategies of ethnographic research (Foster, 1996) that consider postmodern definitions of field work as discursive sites (Clifford, 1997), artist/pedagogues attempt to present a portrait of British Columbia through the lenses of personal and community memory and experience. 60 Today it is recognized that the city/country dichotomy does not exist in such simple terms. The country is in no sense pure nature or wilderness; it is a cultural landscape too. The "rural metropolis" and "urban countryside" can to refer to the hybridity of British Columbia where there is green space in cities and the wilderness is divided and controlled (Quayle, 1997). Our understanding of'place,' its connection with the interaction of people and the sustainability of our environment, must recognize this interdependence (Quayle, 1997). In this century, movement to and from urban and rural areas in British Columbia has had a profound effect on the use and perspectives on the land. A great many European immigrants, who settled in the first half of the century in rural areas to farm the land or to work in outlying regions associated with the province's resource extraction industries, have gradually gravitated to the cities. An influx of immigrants from places other than Britain was being felt as American adventurers flocked to Canada during the Gold Rush in 1858 and 1898, Japanese immigrants, East Indians and Chinese workers came to Canada primarily employed as manual laborers in remote regions, to help build railways, and to work in mining and other resource industries. Recent immigrants have mainly settled in the urban areas to take advantage of economic opportunities while establishing ties to people already settled here with whom they feel a kinship. Relocation from the city centre to the suburbs and small towns where property is more affordable with fewer restrictive zoning laws for small business opportunities, continues to attract young families, retirees, and others looking to establish,themselves in quieter communities. First Nations and the Land For First Nations people, the strengthening of connections with their ancestral (horhe)land is made complicated by legislation, such as the Indian Act, and governmental aboriginal policies, for example, those governing reservations and residential schools, which treat First Nations people differently from the rest of 61 the population. Leah George (1998) explains from her Native standpoint that cultural practice and politics related to land are interconnected; "In 1870 when the Colonial governments claimed all land in what is now called British Columbia without compensation to aboriginal people through an established treaty process, the meanings of First Nations socio-political cultural practices became publicly enmeshed with the politics of the federal provincial governments" (p. 24). As a treaty negotiator for the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation land claims negotiations, Leah George (1998,), explains her position; "Segregation occurred with the current Indian reserve system. Do you think we chose to live in those places?" (p. 24). And yet complicating the issue, "A legal claim to land rests upon proof of continued tribal existence and connectedness to place" (Teitelbaum, 1991, p. 81). In 1997, a Supreme Court of Canada landmark decision in a case brought by the Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en peoples of the British Columbia northwest, referred to as the Delgamuukw decision, did define aboriginal title. In this case, based on Native historical use and occupation of their territories, Canadian Supreme Court Justice Antonio Lamar allowed Native oral history as admissible evidence. Now, all future decisions that relate to.the use of resources in the province must be done in consultation and with the participation of First Nations, marking a shift in the balance of power. Following on this decision, a historic treaty, the first in British Columbia in 140 years, was initialed by representatives of the Nisga'a nation and the British Columbia and federal governments in 1998. It is considered by many as one of the most significant decisions regarding the reconciliation of First Nations rights in Canadian history. However, in the painting Chump Change. The Nisga'a Deal. The Last Stand discussed in this study, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun expresses his views denouncing the conditions of the treaty. 62 Art and education practices have an important role in these changes; in s supporting the vitality and production of culture in context. For all British Columbians the study of visual representation, art conventions and traditions, will help to illuminate the history of 'place': to gauge the accomplishments as well as the erasures and injustices so as to move forward in a partnership that we have yet to experience. West Coast Society in Flux The historian and educator, Jean Barman (1996), claims that in British Columbia "the importance of images cannot be understated" as the dramatic and 'spectacular' physical setting of the province "often overwhelms" (p. 3). In her book, The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia, local histories, fictionalized evocations, and perceptions of critics and observers are integrated with her recognition of the important role of geography in forming British Columbia's history. According to Barman (1996), "Any search to understand British Columbia and its past must begin with geography" (p. 4). She acknowledges that "each [individual] in British Columbia has constructed a particular vision [of the province] out of distinctive social, geographic, economic, and political circumstances", as well as individual lived experience influenced by gender, class and race (p. 12). It is out of these diverse experiences, integral to the composition of the province, collaged together, that "a British Columbia identity emerges" (Barman, 1996, p. 352). In the colonization of the west coast of Canada, the exploitation of the natural heritage and mistreatment of the indigenous people were an inherent part of the development of the province (Barman, 1996). The Native people, who were considered 'savages', either to be ignored or integrated/assimilated into white culture, had their land taken from them with no treaty agreements sighed. The establishment of the province of British Columbia in 1866, further encouraged newcomers to expand national resource industries over which they had control. 63 Vancouver, British Columbia's largest city, continues to be referred to as Terminal City. It is a name that alludes to the expansion and end of the railway line to the Pacific Ocean linking a nation from sea to sea. When seen from an eastern Canadian perspective, linked with travel and its metaphors, it is the end of the road with its connotations of desperation and hope. It is still considered a frontier town in many ways, replete with unresolved confrontations, on the edge of the continent, on the verge of a new beginning, separated psychologically from the rest of Canada by the Rocky Mountains, bordering on the American northwest, and poised on the Pacific Rim. Danzker (1983) describes Vancouver as; "Lotus land by the sea, mountains over Manhattan, rain forests and totems, Chinatown and sushi. A land, a culture-scape of mythic proportions whose myths are still to behold" (p. 208). She suggests that "It is in the images of and by the people of such a place that we begin to know it"; however, she concedes, "confrontation between the dreamings ... are discontinuous, brutal, schismatic, and recent...they are ongoing" (p. 208). In the constantly shifting definition of this place, the displacement of the native people, the history of settlement by Europeans, and the immigration of people from non-European cultures play key roles. British Columbia with Vancouver as its cultural centre is situated metaphorically and spatially at an intersection of cultures which share the material geography and contest the terrain. The interactions of people with place is complicated by the overlaps of occupation and political/economic self-serving interests in the region. The plight of the First Nations people in the face of colonization, hardships created by racism, greed and a multitude of injustices which tested the cultural and physical survival of people and communities of the Northwest coast must be acknowledged. One significant example occurred in 1871, when, after entering Confederation and the establishment of a provincial parliament, an act was immediately passed to amend the Qualification of Voters Act. This act would disenfranchise the First Nations people, who were not allowed to vote provincially until 1949 and 64 federally, until 1960. Incredibly, "although people from First Nations fought in World War II to protect Canadian beliefs and soil, those soldiers could not vote" (George, 1998). The First Nations people have survived in spite of bans from practicing their belief systems, or the pursuance of land claims until 1951, the oppression of residential schools, and the desperate poverty of reservations. The Native people are giving voice to these matters, enriching their culture and forging new alliances across communities. In the early part of the century, British and European settlers who came to the west were given free homestead land and other incentives by the government, in order to encourage the establishment of communities with European traditions. Little mention is made of those people who were displaced or people of other ethnic traditions who were excluded from this program. Restrictive immigration quotas, and even quotas for university entrance were in place for people of particular religious and ethnic heritages that were deemed undesirable. Since the 1950s, there has been a shift in immigration patterns and quotas to include a greater number of people from non-European countries and religion is no longer a determining factor in eligibility requirements. These developments and Canadian multicultural policy in the 1970s reflected the nation's stated concept of identity as a diverse society. On the west coast of Canada there has been a long history of Asian contact, but at the turn of the century racially intolerant attitudes translated into legislated restrictions limiting work rights, property ownership and the right to vote. Chinese workers provided a source of cheap labour, but were treated as aliens and forced to lead segregated lives. One extreme case of discrimination during the Second World War was the appropriation of property and detention of people of Japanese descent, to allay widespread fear for the nation's security, since Canada was at war with Japan. This dark history of containment of Asian peoples and racist attitudes has been imprinted deep in the Canadian 65 imagination, even though the legislation has been repealed and the immigration doors slightly opened. In the past two decades, the source of immigration of people to British Columbia has shifted from Europe to Asia. Immigrants from these countries and elsewhere affect and enhance Canadian economy and culture. Multiculturalism's Impact Canada's multicultural policies, legally defined in 1988 in a Federal Act, are designed to provide a supportive social environment to immigrants and an entry point for non-migrant Canadians into understanding the diversity and richness of Canadian and other societies. Multicultural policies and Aboriginal policies are relevant to artists and educators as they impact directly on art and culture in contemporary society (Irwin, Rogers, & Farrell, in press). While multiculturalism provides an important policy framework for immigrant adaptation, the question must be asked, adaptation to what? With reference to Canada's multicultural policies, curator and critic Monika Gagnon (1992) asks, "How does this situate cultural practices which attempt to deal with cultural difference in a critical way?" (p. 36). The artist Richard Fung (1990), in his catalogue essay, for the exhibition Yellow Peril: Reconsidered, suggests that a policy of institutionalized difference operates to preserve the power of the dominant culture, since "[its] function has been to co-opt and eclipse the threat of anti-racist organizing" (p. 18). According to Irwin, Rogers, and Farrell (in press), "Multiculturalism is perhaps best understood as an ideology of what ought to be from the viewpoint of the dominant culture" (p. 9); Their research has found that, "It is debatable if multi-cultural policy does in fact protect the unique notions of any specific culture. It may be that multicultural policy is so rooted in the constructs of the dominant culture that it translates other cultures into its own image" (p. 18). Irwin, Rogers, and Farrell (in press) draw attention to contemporary Aboriginal artists in Australia and Canada, in whose opinion, multiculturalism is irrelevant. Although indigenous and immigrant groups face 66 many similar situations outside of mainstream society, it is argued that multiculturalism, as an ideology or practice ignores the unique position of the indigenous people from whom the land was taken (Irwin, Rogers, & Farrell, in press). On the basis of race, Canadian Aboriginal Policy has set in place social service systems, education and health practices that parallel but are inferior to those of the immigrant population. It is a policy that restricts Aboriginal people and treats them differently from other Canadians who have more rights in Canadian society. In education, a diverse society must respond to school and university curricula which have, until recently, emphasized the hegemony of knowledge of Anglo -European traditions, taught as a consequence of the earlier dominance of European migration. Multicultural art education relies on feminist and postmodern theory and practice that are inclusive of individual and community traditions as lived experience. For educators it is crucial to have a contextual understanding of social, cultural and political positions relevant to the diverse communities in British Columbia and an appreciation of their differences, including the unique position of the Aboriginal people. The positions articulated in the work of artists from within those communities can be considered key indicators of local and particular concerns, and as valuable pedagogical resources for art educators in classroom practice. While asserting that multiculturalism and Aboriginal issues are not one and the same, Irwin, Rogers, and Farrell (in press) suggest that art educators should be aware of these issues along with historical and political contexts, as art is often used as a vehicle, by artists, for voicing opinions, interpretations and critique of Aboriginal and multicultural policies. Diaspora and Displacement In British Columbia today, the pressure for an all-or-nothing situation of assimilation for immigrants has been replaced with many individuals and 67 communities publicly expressing pride in their difference, and retaining connections with their cultural traditions. Unlike immigrants of previous times, particularly those from the 1930s to the 1960s, who embraced their new homes and did not look back, many immigrants today are multi-located, "transnational", traversing blurred borders 35,000 feet in the air. Aided by immediate and accessible communication systems, and transportation that provides global movement and communication, links can be established between people and places all over the world. It is now possible to electronically span distance (and time) and to easily be connected with family, friends, and businesses, visually and verbally, via e-mail and inexpensive international phone cards (Sontag & Dugger, 1998). Immigrants and others may shuttle between worlds or be both here and there with dual or more identities, loyalties, and sense of belonging. In British Columbia society and elsewhere, "the language of diaspora is increasingly invoked by displaced peoples who feel [maintain/revive/invent] a connection with a prior home" (Clifford, 1997, p. 255). Safran (1991) describes the main features of diasporic collective experiences: "a history of dispersal, myths or memories of the homeland, alienation in the host country, desire for eventual return, ongoing support of the homeland, and a collective identity importantly defined by this relationship" (p. 83). Broadly interpreted, elements of this description apply to many residents of British Columbia, who have in common a history of dispersal and displacement. Their connections with a prior home is strong enough "to resist erasure through the normalizing processes of forgetting, assimilating and distancing" (Clifford, 1997, p. 255). For these individuals, experiences of "loss, marginality and exile reinforced by systematic exploitation and blocked advancement" coexist "with the skills of survival,... strength in adaptive distinction, discrepant cosmopolitanism, and stubborn visions of renewal" (Clifford, 1997, p. 256). Diasporic consciousness is thus constituted both negatively "by experiences of discrimination and exclusion" and 68 positively "through identification with world-historical, cultural, or political forces" (Clifford, 1997, p. 256). There are aspects of diaspora culture that apply to the artists in this study, albeit in very different ways, that will be discussed more fully. Considered from an upbeat or assured perspective, diaspora culture can be seen to celebrate the good fortune of being [Canadian] differently, of feeling global, of being able to shuttle between worlds/cultures/locations (Sontag & Dugger, 1998). V i sua l Dep i c t i on of the Landscape Although the extraordinary beauty of British Columbia's physical geography is how known throughout the world and its appeal has made tourism one of the province's most important industries, it is the people who reside in this place, for whom it is home, that gives the place its character, through representation of their experience. This is especially true of those involved in cultural production. One could ask the question: does place define the artist or does the artist define the place? According to Watson (1983, p. 226), "A place is what its artists and writers make of it. They are its imagination and its archeologists.... The artists who choose to work here have the freedom and impetus to invent place and culture". Terrence Heath (1983) suggests that "all artists who depict a place also create that place... Depiction always involved interpretation, and that modification or filtering of the visual experience is a new place" (p. 58). Some artists create highly personalized images of their involvement in their surroundings or community "which amount to a creation of... a genius loci, the spirit of the place... a mythopoeic place, a place where myths are made" (Heath, 1983, p. 59). In an inversion of the notion that artists use naturalistic representation as models to mirror the surroundings, Watson (1983) writes about artist Stan Douglas' work suggesting that "It is not Vancouver which determines the character of the (artists') work -but the artwork that gives Vancouver its character" (p. 245). In the work of the three artists in this study, "contested terrain" is central as it engages the history of this place and cross-69 cuts with the rich particular histories, traditions, and identities of the communities that make up the cultural landscape. In describing the landscape of British Columbia, it is important to state that the occupation of the territory was never as uncomplicated, seamless or as honourable as many of its representations in painting depict and have led us to believe. Art Historical Traditions and Icons It is useful to look at the cultural traditions which have formed artistic attitudes in British Columbia in order to understand this legacy in relation to how the artists in this study, have reflected and shaped the landscape. In the early twentieth century, landscape artists in British Columbia found themselves caught up in the challenge of interpreting the mountains, oceans and forests that surrounded them. Relying on past academic traditions, they looked to British landscape conventions and 18th century concepts such as the Sublime and Picturesque. After the first World War and with the growing nationalistic spirit in the century, some Canadian artists set out to provide images that could be understood to be uniquely "Canadian" (Teitelbaum, 1991, p. 73). The most important of these painters were the Group of Seven who were centered in Toronto. By breaking with the European traditions of academic realism and British landscape conventions, these artists developed a modernist approach to Canadian subject matter, incorporating vivid colour, broad gestural brushstrokes and simplified form in their paintings (Tippett & Cole, 1977). Their most powerful images were of the rugged northern wilderness by which they attempted to portray "the spirit of Canada made manifest in a picture" (Teitelbaum, 1991, p. 74). The connection to the land itself and the struggle to endure in a hostile nature was, and largely still is, a part of the myth of Canada as a vast unpeopled landscape, ripe for the taking, open for settlement and adventure. The Group of Seven and this myth of Canadian culture and nationhood were supported and promoted by governmental institutions such as the National Gallery of Canada, and by corporate sponsorship of the most 70 influential commercial power brokers, such as the railway companies, who were interested in the settlement of the West and in the financial rewards of tourism. The Group of Seven's west coast contemporary, Emily Carr, provided a different perspective to the wilderness myth's central place in the Canadian imagination. In her alienation from Victorian society, Carr identified with the First Nations people; her brooding images of Native villages and totems surrounded by dark forests, brought both their suppressed presence and their cultural production back into the consciousness of Canadians. In her later paintings of the rainforest bursting with new growth and the wide sweeping skies over the ocean, she incorporated her own experience in nature coupling it with ideas about God, spirituality and a search for aesthetic forms associated with the natural elements of British Columbia. Through powerful artistic statements, the Group of Seven and Emily Carr were able to produce images that now have become national and cultural icons. They celebrate and identify the. landscape as a metaphor for the nation and its potential. These canvases have become such an integral part of Canadian identity that their reproductions grace the halls of most schools and public buildings throughout the country, and can be found on mass-produced items for both the domestic market and visiting tourists. In their self-definition Canadians have used these symbols to provide themselves with a visual sense of place. However, it is important to remember that "the work of these painters is rooted in a society founded on alienation from nature as a precondition of its exploitation" (Teitelbaum, 1991, p. 74). British Columbia's first modernist painter (Shadbolt, 1979), Emily Carr, is considered by artist Jeff Wall (1992) as "a kind of emblematic representative of traditions" (p. 102). He describes her work as rooted in an "almost pantheistic nature romanticism" that focused on a lyricism in nature identifiable with 71 Wordsworth's poetry (p. 102). In describing representation of nature in art, and specifically in relation to Carr's work, Wall reminds us that this romanticism is "deeply connected to British imperial colonialism of which Vancouver is the final Western frontier" (p. 102). According to Wall (1992), "Since we contemporary Canadians have also not gotten outside traditions [of imperial Romanticism] and mythic colonial constructs of 'wilderness', .. 'home', and .. 'frontier' ", therefore, "the problematics of Carr's work remain closely linked to ours" (Wall, 1992, p. 103). Wall may be right, because we continue to be bound up in "the thesis of the death of native culture as a projection of the colonialist process" (p. 103) which remains one of the central controversies on the west coast. Artists, educators, and critics have embraced Emily Carr as an important forerunner to contemporary art practice, interpreting her work in various ways. Wall (1992) suggests that her social conscience and concern for the environment played a role in her eventual rejection of British Romantic ideas. He claims that in her protest against what people believed at the time to be vanishing natives, and in her concern for exhaustive forest extraction processes, she "incorporates in her work, as a language of resistance, two important tendencies in B.C. politics" (Wall, 1992, p. 103). He is referring here to "the land claims of Native peoples and environmentalists as complexly intertwined ecologies" outside of the mainstream (Wall, 1992, p. 103). Carr's well known painting Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky (1935) exemplifies both a critical and Utopian vision; it is "a cry of resistance" and "a flag of protest" (Linsley, 1991, p. 116). There is little doubt that Carr's work teaches Canadians about important tendencies of the social, cultural and political landscape of British Columbia. The artists in the study have been influenced by her work, in particular her 'language of resistance' as it refers to social landscape and the environment, but from different standpoints and from the context of British Columbia at the end of the millennium. 72 During the years of the Great Depression, some artists in Vancouver examined the social conditions of urban life rather than the landscape, but others chose to dramatize the vital forces of nature, inspired by Frederick Varley's understanding of the west coast mountains and forests, as a heroic landscape against the elements. In photography, John Vanderpant tried to create a sense of place by stressing a spiritual quality in his photographic abstractions of scenes of Vancouver. Vancouver Artists and Modernism After the Second World War many artists in British Columbia embraced modernism that was symbolic of new possibilities; and of a visual landscape theoretically freed from the divisions, tensions and hatreds of the real world. Art was set free to be a purely abstract universal expression. Inspired by international influences and idioms from Europe and the United States, painters and sculptors in this country relied heavily on secondary sources of information that contributed to their understanding of the artwork of this period, primarily focusing on changes in form. Even those Vancouver artists in the 1950s and 1960s who continued to explore representational and subjective responses to nature as dominant themes, expressed a strong interest in increasingly abstract painting and sculpture. The paintings of that period were primarily concerned with landscape references that were metaphorical and that retained expressionistic features of an earlier Canadian painting tradition. Unlike the Group of Seven or Emily Carr, who were attempting to describe the topography of place, or to imbue their work with nationalistic concerns, the painterly abstractions of Jack Shadbolt, Gordon Smith, Molly and Bruno Bobak, Tak Tanabe, Don Jarvis and Tony Onley were influenced by the British traditions of landscape (Balkind, 1983). They used abstracted landscape forms as a compositional device tp articulate the mood and feeling of nature as "inscapes", referring to internal psychological or emotional spaces rather than exterior ones. 73 Wall (1992) explains the evolution of this direction; "The sense of religiosity in nature" in the 1940s and 1950s became an expression through paintings of the "inner landscape of the artist by means of landscape" but also "the genus loci, the in-dwelling spirit of the place painted" (p. 103). This phenomenon, Wall (1992) suggests, is a consequence when "the taboo against figuring the real social and material landscape", including the city and the country, "is inverted and hidden and takes its place, as an "inner landscape" (Linsley, 1991, p. 233). "Having internalized this taboo", art in post-war British Columbia depicted images, of nature that addressed Northrop Frye's question "Where is Here?" in a variety of ways, "as long as they... avoid [ed] conflict" (Wall, 1992, p. 106). By the 1960s artists Gary-Lee Nova, Claude Breeze and Michael Morris broke with the tradition of nature painting to explore new directions under the guidance of Roy Kiyooka, a teacher at the Vancouver School of Art and later, at the University of British Columbia, who had attended the Emma Lake Workshops of New York artist Barnett Newman (Heath, 1983). In lieu of landscape painting traditions and formally inspired commodified landscape paintings that had lost their currency as an important part of the art scene in British Columbia, now more open, diverse approaches and experimentation connected to social and technological developments began to herald hew directions. The critic Ian McNairn commented, after seeing the exhibition, 7 West Coast Painters; (June 29 - Aug. 14, 1959), at the Fine Arts Gallery of the University of British Columbia, that "The era of Canadian landscape painting is quietly fading" (cited in Watson, 1983, p. 229). Postmodernist Issues and New Media Social and political upheavals in the 1960s and 1970s created disillusionment with and disenfranchisement from modernism's inspirational goal of the modernist Greenberg ideal (1961), with its centrist abstract and theoretical thinking, in favour of the personal and locational. Artists moved away from the 74 New York critic's influential advocacy of the idealistic, aesthetic purpose and concerns of abstract painting and sculpture. His support for purist high-art formalism was meant to be understood as an international universal language,. and to preclude any critique of representation or social subject matter. According to Sherlock (1991), "Modernism claims a critical universality of taste that creates a bridge over troubled water" (p. 125). In the late 1960s and 1970s modernism's focus shifted to a new interest in subject matter; from affirming the artwork's status as a separate art object, to questioning its status as an object in the world. Modernism was stretched, merging and shifting boundaries traditionally separating painting, sculpture, drawing, and printmaking and allowing the possibility of including disciplines outside of art. In Vancouver, in the mid 1960s, Iain Baxter's N.E. Thing Co. "sparked conceptual art strategies in. the city, to change peoples' perceptions of the everyday world around them" (Nemiroff, 1983, p. 194). Countering local social and artistic orthodoxies in the 1970s, a vibrant atmosphere of experimentation, supported by grants from the Canada Council, enabled activity at artist-run centres and collaboratives such as the Pender Street Gallery, Intermedia, and Image Bank. Emerging artists began to work in experimental forms; using pop culture and counterculture tendencies to engage in new conceptual and material approaches to art-making. In their disruption of lyrical traditions artists began to employ strategies of skepticism, irony and interruption (Wall, 1992). The city and the "defeatured" industrial landscape rather than "wilderness" became their preferred subject matter. In the 1970s and 1980s, photography, video and: performance, and other ways of opposing the local orthodoxies of painting, were the focus for conceptual, anti-expressionist, anti-materialist and "anti-lyricist trends which provided critical ideas about representation, about urbanism, about subject matter" (Wall, 1992, p. 108). 75 Ian Wallace's photographic work of the late 1960s, which critiqued lyrical painting, is identified by Wall (1992) as starting "a new tradition"; a "counter-traditional" stream in Vancouver (p. 107). He suggests that photo-based, photoconceptual art such as that of Ian Wallace, Jeff Wall, Ken Lum, and Rodney Graham addresses the themes and image of the forest, nature, and the city in ways that are critical of past traditions but which ironically, "would be inconceivable without the examples of lyrical Romanticism of Carr, Shadbolt and others" (Wall, 1992, p. 110). According to Wallace (1988), in Vancouver photoconceptualism also "has its roots in the political critique of culture and language that came out of conceptual art in the 1960s" (p. 112). "History and ideology, have been concerns central (but not exclusively so) to Vancouver photoconceptualism since its beginnings" (Wallace, 1988, p. 105). The pictorialist, critical, photo-realist practices of the artists Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace, Ken Lum, Rodney Graham, Roy Arden and Marion Penner Bancroft, comprise the photoconceptual 'Vancouver School' which, in recent years, has gained international critical attention and is now recognized locally as an influential movement. In the early 1980s, "the two main discourses in the city remained that of subjective, romantic painting and that of the more political analytic critique of photoconceptualism" (Wallace, 1988, p. 107). In Vancouver, these trends have continued, along with the infusion of feminist critique, an interest in identity politics, art that looks again at history and diverse cultures, and inclusion of strategies that can expand art's sphere outside the frame of its traditional institutional boundaries. These developments have had an important influence on artists in the city including Jin-me Yoon, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and Marian Penner Bancroft. Site-specific A r t and New Genre Pub l i c A r t A discussion of the relationship of pedagogically-oriented art (with its focus on dialogue and community) to institutional contexts, or to the site in which it is 76 located is relevant to the deliberate efforts by the artists in the study to have exhibition or enactment contexts inform the meaning of their work. In the 1970s, artists interested in expanding outside the physical and conceptual perimeters of the museum and its web of connections, including the system of studios, commercial galleries, social structures and economies; began to experiment with land/earth art, process art, installation art, conceptual art, performance/body art, and various forms of institutional critique. Echoing the sentiments of many artists who have doubted modernism's tenets, the artist and teacher, Melvin Charney claimed "All art production as valid cultural production, must call into question the institutions that support it" (cited in Nemiroff, 1983, p. 221). Art needs to acknowledge the political and institutional dynamics and discursive realms in which it is situated. Interventions or subversions of modernism's ideology and its institutions have become a part of artists' strategies to link with the social, political, and physical world, and to crossover, challenging what are deemed restrictive, culturally confining, paradigmatic and physical environments. Over the past thirty years, the critique of modernism and its insistence on separation from social and political spheres has extended to the museum/gallery physical structure. The seemingly benign architectural features of a gallery/ museum are now understood to be "coded mechanisms that actively disassociate the space of art from the outer world" which has the effect of "furthering the institution's imperative of rendering itself and its hierarchization of values 'objective', 'disinterested', and 'true'" (Kwon, 1997, p. 88). As an institutional frame for the. works inside, the modern gallery/museum space with its stark white walls, artificial lighting, controlled climate, and pristine architecture, is considered by many artists, "not solely in terms of basic dimensions and 77 proportion but as an institutional disguise, a normative exhibition convention serving an ideological function"(Kwon, 1997, p. 88). Douglas Crimp (1983) in his essay On the Museum's Ruins, describes a postmodern shift in thinking opposing the idealism "of modernist art in which the art object in and of itself was seen to have a fixed and transhistorical meaning determined by the object's placelessness, its belonging to no particular place" (p. 17). (Also see Krauss (1979) p. 31-44 in Sculpture in the Expanded Field. Informed by the contextual thinking of Conceptual art, and various forms of institutional critique, a model of site-specificity was developed that "implicitly challenged the innocence of space and the accompanying presumption of a universal viewing subject (albeit one in possession of a corporeal body) as espoused in the phenomenological model" (Kwon 1997, p. 87). The space of art was "no longer considered a 'tabula rasa' but a real space", a specific site in which the art event or object in this context was to be singularly experienced in the here-and-now, through the bodily presence of each viewing subject, "in a sensorial immediacy of spatial extension and temporal duration, rather than instantaneously perceived in a visual epiphany by a disembodied eye" (Kwon, 1997, p. 87). Taking up the epistemological challenge "to relocate meaning from within the object to the contingencies of its context", artists also attempted "the radical restructuring of the subject from an old Cartesian model to a phenomenological one of lived bodily experience" (Kwon, 1997, p. 87). Coming together in art's new attachment to site was the desire of many artists to resist the forces of capitalist market economy, which circulates art works as transportable and exchangeable commodity goods" (Kwon, 1997, p. 86). The Artwork as a Discursive Site Both site-specific public art and new genre public art, a term used by artist and author Suzanne Lacy (1995a, 1995b) to emphasize a process of participation and audience interactivity, expand engagement with culture outside the 78 conventional confines of art in physical and intellectual terms, a pursuance of "a more intense engagement with the outside world and everyday life" (Kwon, 1997, p. 91). Many artists who work in this way aspire to include involvement through collaborations or interactions with broader, more inclusive audiences, and to inform their work through addressing a sense of place. According to Kwon (1997), "Site-specific public art in the 1990s marks a convergence between cultural practices grounded in leftist political activism, community-based aesthetic traditions, conceptually driven art borne out of institutional critique, and identity politics" (p. 91). Recent site-specific art, which evolved from an interest in the relationship of the object to the physical and/or social dimension of the site, searches for ways to describe 'site' that do not situate it as a fixed physical entity. The definition of site, as a physical location, grounded, and fixed, has now been transformed from the actual, to the immateriality of a discursive vector, ungrounded, fluid, and even virtual, in which to find its "locational anchor" (Kwon, 1997, p. 93). Electronic spaces, passages, journeys, or places between that are unfixed, transient, that lack a material dimension, can constitute a work as a discursive site (Kwon, 1997). Questions about specificity lead to contextualization and relational propositions. James Meyer, (cited in Kwon, 1997, p. 95), suggests that "site is structured (inter)textually rather than fixed spatially, and that its model is not a map but an itinerary, a fragmentary sequence of events and actions through spaces" corresponding to the pattern of movement in electronic spaces of the internet and cyberspace "which is likewise to be experienced transitively, one thing after another"(p. 110). The notion of landscape and site as integrated with nature, time, space, place, history, location, and territory, is here further radically challenged and reconceptualized as internet highways, web sites, and virtual reality become second nature in our experience of life. 79 The consideration of art as a discursive site that seeks to transform individual and social consciousness overlaps with theoretical and practical discourse of postmodern pedagogy. This discourse veers from a linear transmissive model of discrete facts or ideas to postmodern approaches that expand teaching and learning contexts using intertextual, experiential, transformative models. As art expands into culture, some site-oriented art "tends to treat aesthetic and art historical concerns as secondary issues" so that the work's distinguishing characteristic is "the way in which both the art work's relationship to the actuality of a location (as site) and the social conditions of the institutional frame (as site) are subordinate to a discursively determined site that is delineated as a field of knowledge, intellectual exchange ,or cultural debate" (Kwon, 1997, p. 92). Emphasis is not on the physical permanence of the specific relationship of the artwork and its site, such as that demanded by Richard Serra in his defense of the immovability of his controversial sculpture Tilted Arc. Instead, the specific relationship of the work of art and its site is based on "the recognition of its unfixed impermanence" to be experienced by the viewer "as an unrepeatable and fleeting situation" (Kwon, 1997, p. 91). New genre public art evolves from "concepts of audience, relationship, communication, and political intention" (Lacy, 1995a, p. 28) all of which are closely bound to notions of pedagogy (Ellsworth, 1989; Hicks, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994; Lather 1991; Lippard, 1990, 1995; van Manen, 1991). Concepts such as "empowerment", "participatory democracy", and those processes of collaboration fostering pedagogical exchanges which had found political expression in the 1960s "are re-emerging in the rhetoric of the community-based public artist" (Kester, 1995, p. 5). Soc ia l Ana lys i s the Role of the Ar t i s t and Pedagogue The related themes of "social analysis and the artists' roles, responsibilities, and relationships with audience" discussed by Lacy (1995) in Mapping the Terrain 80 make reference to new genre public art's relevance to the discourse on pedagogy in art and art education, and to the desire for a more connected role for artists and art educators. The possibilities of conceiving of site as more than a place, can take many directions; for example, a site "as repressed ethnic history, a political cause, an institutional framework, a community event, or a social issue, is a critical conceptual leap in redefining the 'public' role of art and artists" (Kwon, 1997, p. 96). Fueled by socio/political concerns, by technological and environmental change, and by feminist and postmodernist theory, artists have been questioning the assumptions of dominant culture in Canada. In their efforts to address issues of their own lived experience and identity, artists and art educators seek the transformation of their own consciousness and that of the viewer through the engaging practices of cultural production. They support artist Daniel Buren's (1973) idea that, "Art, whatever else it might be, is exclusively political" (p. 38). Awareness of some of the ideological premises that underlie contemporary artists' chosen modes of representation is a key factor in contemporary art discourse and the development of praxis as it pertains to landscape. Landscape as a selected and constructed text that is not based solely on aesthetic choice of signifiers, can strengthen and broaden the relationship of art to lived experience and the construction of knowledge, extending the ideas of educators such as John Dewey (1934, 1938/1963). Contemporary artists and art educators recognize the possibilities of art's sphere of influence and are broadening contexts in which representation occurs. What is called for is "the analysis of formal and cultural limits (and not one or the Other) within which art exists and struggles" (Kwon, 1997, p. 88). Feminist and postmodern artists and educators, especially those from minority groups, have been in the forefront of challenging modernist ideology which 81 includes such binary oppositions as nature/culture, man/woman, Western/non-Western, and high-art/vernacular culture. Attitudes that, for example, consider woman and nature as "other" (Limerick, 1992; Merchant, 1983, 1989, 1995; Solnit, 1994) have resulted in untold hardship in human terms, and serious damage to the physical environment. The price of the city's and country's liberation from nature has become visible and tangible. The romantic idyllic landscape of a past era, a product of its time, has made way for the reality of a largely urbanized industrial society. Modernist art, "humanity's source of redemption" (Malvern, 1998, p. 126) whose aim was the universal, transcendent and unpolitical, turned its back on these matters. Artists and art educators today direct attention to history as lived experience, unravelling and reworking conventions in the representation of landscape, to communicate with audiences about issues of identity that relate to place and the interaction of cultures. The Challenge to Modernism Postmodern art no longer accepts modernism's claims of universality or the aesthetics of formalism as universal 'truths'. Objectivity as an authentic coherent vision of the world has been exposed as myth, and deconstructed or undermined (Foucault, 1970). Rather than concern with the purity of artistic media and the primacy of form, emphasis in a work is on content and on the interconnection of power and knowledge. Rejecting modernist notions of the primacy of the artist/genius, one of the hallmarks of postmodernism is the importance of the role of the spectator in reception and in the meaning-making and structuring of the work (Fouquot, 1969/1992; Barthes, 1977). By questioning values and beliefs underlying existing social conditions and assumptions and by using aesthetic and pedagogical strategies to make connections with people, artist/pedagogues and art educators who take up contentious issues and the challenge of a critical, political role for art, seek to be understood in a broader, more inclusive context and in dialogue with the viewer. 82 This can be understood as a focus on teaching and learning; the process of knowledge construction. Vancouver is the venue for many kinds of struggles; it is described by Scott Watson (1983) as, "a confluence of social, political, cultural and economic contradictions. If it ever was romantically and lyrically involved with landscape it certainly isn't any longer" (p. 235). Artists here have now turned to the subject of landscape, with its loaded history, and its icons, to raise awareness in the viewer about their relationship to the land, to its history, arid to its representation, as these intersect with identity. Contributing to our understanding of an expanded definition of place, artists' multiple and varied voices present not a static unified vision, but represent their perspectives on the conflicts and contradictions of a city and province in a state of flux. Summary The persistence of the legacy of iconic landscape painting in Canada is necessarily factored into the artwork of many contemporary artists in British Columbia who attempt to counter the powerful nationalist myths that such icons represent. Since the early twentieth century, painting, especially the work of the Group of Seven and that of Emily Carr, has played a key role in the formation of a Canadian national identity. These myths of nation do not resonate with the lived experience and feelings of many cultural producers, especially those excluded from representation by a self-defined elite segment of society. Until recently, those not represented included First Nations people, whose land and material culture were taken from them and their spiritual rituals banned. Immigrants from ethnic, racial and religious communities outside the Anglo/European sphere, and the experiences of women have also been omitted from representation. Many contemporary British Columbia artists and art educators "examine the gap between differing histories countering those accounts most widely circulated within Canadian culture" (Arnold, 1996, p. 3) 83 recognizing that many social, political and historical factors impinge on descriptions of space beyond the physical geography. In this respect their work "destabilizes reductive processes of spacialization that underscore overarching constructions of national (and provincial) identity" (Arnold, 1996, p. 3). National culture, however that is defined, is thereby perpetually disrupted by contestations and interactions, by information, media, consumer items and people from communities within the nation and through the influx of new immigrants. Artists and educators who struggle with the social, political and cultural construction of landscape and the themes of identity and displacement, are sensitive to the land as the principal icon of Canadian identity. They focus on the complexity of such issues as belonging amplified through journeys across geography and cultures, as well as through representation (Clifford, 1997; Gagnon, 1996; Nemiroff, 1998). Diaspora consciousness affects an increasing number of people in British Columbia and elsewhere, bringing with it new definitions of nationhood and nationality. In fact, as Clifford (1997) claims, being unfixed in geography and in static cultures, is the experience of most people. Site, home, location, can be more than one place, and more likely somewhere in between. In a catalogue essay for the opening of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Scott Watson (1983) describes Vancouver as a place that is in the process of becoming, 'Here the task has been to make a place from disparate and transplanted cultures" (p. 226). Henry Lefebvre (1991) underscores the important role of cultural production and the need to acknowledge the diversity of our society: "Inasmuch as abstract space (of modernism and capital) tends towards homogeneity, towards the elimination of existing differences or peculiarities, a new space cannot be born (produced) unless it accentuates differences" (p. 52); Artists/pedagogues and art educators can benefit by accentuating such 84 differences in order to inscribe their presence on the state of Canadian culture and to ask us to examine our own complicity in it. 85 IV J I N - M E Y O O N Cu l tu ra l D i s loca t ion and Identity Issues Since the late 1980s, there has been a growing awareness of symbolic representation as a key site of political expression. The struggles for the right to define one's own culture and icons have found a focus in the arts, media and education, and herald "shifts in how we must understand postmodernism and 'difference' " (Fusco, 1995, p. 31). By emphasizing social content rather than abstract concepts, these issues of representation "localize, politicize and historicize postmodern cultural debates that had been at one time excessively formalist and eurocentric, even in the characterization of difference itself (Fusco, 1995, p. 31). The postmodernism that draws on feminist and postcolonial theory, and addresses questions of identity, insists that art and politics are inextricably linked. The impact of social, political and economic factors, and the important role of memory/history in the constitution of the self, supports a fluid notion of identity embedded in conditions that are in a constant state of flux. Within the realm of visual culture, two interrelated but seemingly contradictory discourses are in the foreground. The first, referring to the concept of political representation, "seeks to resolve a legacy of inequity by addressing the power relations involved in symbolic representation" (Fusco, 1995, p. 32). It is "an interracial, intercultural battle in the public sphere over appropriation", in which "people of color are demanding the right to determine the meaning of their culture and delimit its identity - or, rather, to point to borders that still exist" (Fusco, 1995, p. 32). The contrary discourse, rather than delimiting identity has "stressed hybridity as a cultural experience and as a formal strategy" (p. 32). According to cultural critic and curator Monika Gagnon (1992), "Struggles over the significance of representation, the need for education and re-education 86 contesting exclusionary practices are united in their attempt to challenge conventional ways of seeing and perceiving" (p. 42). She recommends caution in order to undermine rather than to obey "the legitimizing structures and processes that have effected exclusion to begin with" (p. 42). This position is supported by feminist pedagogue Elizabeth Ellsworth (1989) and is summed up by educator Patti Lather (1991, p. 16) who asks "How do our efforts to liberate perpetuate the relations of dominance?". Current cultural production in Canada straddles both these positions, with artists "determining ...and delimiting identity" (Fusco, 1995, p. 32), while questioning that very gesture. Through cultural production in the public domain, many artist/pedagogues from communities which have not previously been self-represented, seek inclusion in Canadian culture, and at the same time, examine and critique the ways in which the canon of Western history and art is constructed. They endeavor, "to exorcise its racism ...to excavate arid play with symptomatic absences and stereotypes, creating a counter history by bouncing off negative images and teasing out hidden stories" (Fusco, 1995, p. 33). By "infusing icons, symbols, and objects with new meanings" (Fusco, 1995, p. 35), these artists look for ways to re-vision the past, and to teach about the present in the hope for a better future. In an interview I conducted with Jin-me Yoon, she highlighted the relationship of identity and place with references to the cultural dislocations and dissonance produced through immigration, from her first-person perspective of a first generation Korean-Canadian woman living in British Columbia: One of the major questions that I've been preoccupied with really stems from the fact that I came here as a child, from a totally different culture. I didn't speak English and experienced my life in an immigrant community, its struggles and its aspirations, and the complexity of why we came here. When we came here in 1967, there were very few Koreans. In that year an immigration ban was lifted for certain Asian nationals so we were 87 permitted to come. That whole experience of displacement, those shifts are quite profound when you come from a culture which is entirely different and you speak a different language. I didn't have any introduction to English in Korea. You'd think that seven and a half year old children aren't that with it, but they actually are, and I think that has always affected my work. When you come at that age you realize culture is highly constructed, linguistically in terms of language and also in terms of peoples' behavior and conduct and how they inter-relate. Even then, I was aware of those things. Maybe not in a self-conscious way, but that, I think, is the genesis of my desire to become an artist. (Interview 1997) Jin-me Yoon's photo-based project A Group of Sixty-Seven offers a critical opportunity to reconsider interrelationships between communities in relation to art making and the institutional space of the art gallery. This work addresses the relationship of culture and identity intersecting with history and a sense of place. According to Arnold (1996), Yoon's. work is about "questions of memory, cultural boundaries and audience" in which she "conjoins the personal and the public" (p. 9). Yoon's own intention is to pay particular attention to the "sedimented narratives of a place/space and its multiple layers of stories and repressed histories"(cited in the catalogue for topographies, p. 9). In this project Yoon "foregrounds subjectivity that is embodied and enculturated and a past that is remembered and remade" (Baert, 1996, p. 9). The exterior of my body as a Korean woman has meant something in this culture. And it has meant more than Korean woman. It has meant Asian woman. There's a whole history of East Asians in Canada that's legislative and very discriminatory that I've inherited and that I've experienced as racism in my life. How do I deal with that, to get beyond? (Interview 1997) Following subaltern strategies that have gained attention in recent years, Yoon draws attention to the connection between the political and symbolic. According to Gagnon (1992), until fairly recently, "The dominant notion of an apolitical position for art history or contemporary art practices has historically constituted 88 the marginalizing of political practices within cultural canons" (p. 40). Now, the artistic practices and pedagogical perspectives of artists and educators of visible minority communities, that address the complexity of cultural identity and identifications is beginning to gain attention in galleries and schools. Yoon is among those artist/pedagogues who consider their work as interventions in the social sphere, who have adopted strategies that move back and forth "between past and present, between history and fiction, between art and ritual, between high art and popular culture, and between Western and non-Western influence" (Fusco, 1995, p. 33). The Artist as Pedagogue Jin-me Yoon (1997, interview) claims that "the political is how we organize ourselves in communities - in society". It is within this context that she sees her art practice as a transformative critical pedagogy (Becker, 1996; Giroux, 1996, 1997; Giroux & Shannon, 1997). "infiltrating various aspects of culture", and working in concert with others to contribute to"social change. She envisions her role as an artist/pedagogue, one which not only reflects and critiques social contexts, but also acts by constructing and creating "new ways of being" or by influencing the consciousness of viewers, and in so doing, transforming the self. Her notions of pedagogy align with the those of Irwin (1999), Noddings, (1984), and van Manen (1991) who emphasize the importance of caring, community, modeling interpretation, dialogue and interactivity in teaching and learning processes. I am interested in how work can really engage the social and the political. I've never bought the Une that my work is apolitical because I think that there is a political dimension to all our lives. It not about whether you support the NDP or the Reform party. I mean it's really about a much broader category. I am interested in work that addresses the transformation of consciousness so that as artists we can create new ways of being in the world, new ways of seeing what we've accepted as social reality, and to alter that. I'm not naively Utopian, but I'm still interested in social 89 change. It is not that we just reflect social conditions. We have to be constructive and creative. And I really believe that's what artists do. I've encountered the work of, for example, Mary Kelly which was very influential to me; that has changed my consciousness and the way I live. And I believe optimistically, that's what artists actually do. That doesn't mean necessarily work that is explicitly critical either. I don't think that the work has to be overt in content to be transformative in consciousness. It can be very subtle. I have very profound skepticism of realism; I don't like realist work. I'm also very skeptical at the same time, of monolithic answers to space and time. We are at the end of the millennium and we've tried certain social experiments; no matter how good their intentions are, I see how a totalizing vision is so destructive as well. For me, even though the work doesn't serve a direct pedagogical function, the way I would give a slide talk, it engages in discourse, it engages in talking about ideas. That's certainly the most important aspect of pedagogy, and through that engagement there's a mutual transformation. I'm not just interested in rhetorical engagement where I'm here to change your mind. Maybe that's the wrong use pf rhetoric, it is more about how, through a dialogue or a conversation, there can be understanding. (Interview, 1997) Yoon's practice and her interest in more equitable social conditions, and the transformation of social consciousness of individuals and groups through the agency of cultural production echoes Henry Giroux's (1994) insistence on critical pedagogy. As Yoon suggests, The thing about visual practice as a practitioner - and I emphasize practice rather than artist - is this sense of process that you engage in, that takes you somewhere else. You start somewhere and through the work you are also transformed. You don't just make the objects. The objects transform you in some sort of very curious way. I am totally enraptured by that process, because structurally in my life and in this society, I don't feel that there are other modes in which I can chart a path and I don't even know where I'm going,- to keep engaging with my own life. I mean life in the most expanded sense - not only my own little world, but the,world. I think my work may seem many things to certain people, but on a very personal level the reason that I made this work is partly therapeutic. It 90 is about how to get to a process of.... it is like being a semiotic object. It is like being assigned for something in this culture. (Interview, 1997) Moving beyond poststructural critiques of relations of power, Yoon posits other ways of knowing and constructions of knowledge through both her visual, photographic representations and verbally through relationships with people in teaching circumstances in schools and public lectures. I think about the work in relation to transforming the consciousness of the individual. Not in some sort of systematic way, but infiltrating various aspects of culture. I don't mean me and my work, my goodness, no. Not as an individual per se. I am talking about people working historically, in the moment, all together - not towards the same ends or that we have the same vision. I also believe that we have to have our individuality as artists, and be true to that. (Interview, 1997) Yoon's assertion of the importance of a sense of self as an artist/pedagogue in the interactivity of pedagogical encounters is a position advocated for art educators by Irwin (1998) and MacGregor (1995). In accepting the challenge of teaching through the agency of photography as a pedagogical practice (Solomon-Godeau, 1991) Yoon positions her work within what Grumet (1988) terms a chorus of voices; including that of feminist artist/pedagogue Mary Kelly whose exhibition and educational workshops in Vancouver were influential. The ideas theorized by the artist Allan Sekula(1984) or the cultural critic Abigail Solomon-Godeau (1984) who "questions the complicity of photography in the reproduction of oppressive historical formations in addition to considering the possibilities of photographic practice intervening to disrupt this reproduction" (Giroux, 1994, p. 185) are evident in the disruptive intent of Yoon's A Group of Sixty Seven that is meant to engender dialogue and the reconsideration of assumptions of stereotype and of nationhood. 91 The Diasporic Experience , For Canadians, the concept and reality of a unified homogeneous nation-state and national culture have become contested terrain. Examples like the charged, complex debates on the separation of French and English Canada, or negotiations with First Nations on issues of sovereignty, (both of which are problematically based on issues of culture and race), attest to the tensions that exist and the difficulties involved in the legislation of difference. Countering notions of strict distinctions, diasporan cultures represent the experience of many Canadians who feel multiple loyalties and. allegiances while crosscutting cultural borders. In interview, Yoon explained how her own diasporic experiences have affected her work and how visual representations of archival and other images have informed her identity. In a work that is engaged with landscape, how that landscape is attached to a certain kind of body iii a space and how those meanings are attached to the construction of a nation are interrelated questions. It's all around questions of identity and displacement. I don't feel like I've been displaced from Korea (which is not my home any more), so I'm talking about all those ways, when you're from somewhere else, when you're in-between; here and there all the time. I've been trying to articulate that in some way. When I go back to - not go back, but when I go to Korea I realize that everything that I understood about my struggles here, (and even here as I move around in different communities), it's not one fixed thing. I'm self conscious of my positioning all the time; in all the ways in which the subtleties of how people understand me are always moving around. It is not one thing. And then beyond that, I'm changing, I'm always becoming. Yes, I know what passport I'm carrying and if I'm talking to a person they can tell me all about what passport they carry and their life background. But ultimately that's a suspension of identity. In my project Between Departure and Arrival, embedded in the desire for a kind of expansive possibility of becoming, is placed a video monitor which has archival and documentary images of East Asian history. For me, those historical, material realities; archival images, also have to always be kept in mind. It is a way to identify, not necessarily through genetics, or cultural history, but through identification, political identification with early East 92 Asian history in B.C.; and re-work those images so that they make a different kind of meaning. And it's about the way that I'm still haunted by those memories in this landscape and on a real basic level, it is also honoring that, and not forgetting that, but yet transforming that into something else. You can say that in certain ways our identity has been fixed through social construction, we could say that is our identity, or react against that identity and postulate another kind of identity that's been fixed. I'm talking about essentialism here, that there is one fixed thing that's Korean, or woman or whatever. I really don't believe that, because I think that we're very complex in terms of our identity formation, and that our identity is interdependent on our context. Identity and place are so interdependent, and intermingled. How that shifts everything is a kind of counter-balance to this object presentation [the art object] and the monolithic aspects of A Group of Sixty-Seven at the Vancouver Art Gallery, because there is something much more delicate about the tenuousness of our identity. It doesn't then erase that there are historical struggles that need to be ongoing, but that identity is continually in flux, that it is a movement and that it never stands still. I have this fundamental belief that identities can't really be tied down. (Interview, 1997) Along with the political and ideological changes that have taken place over the past twenty-five years, "advances in technology have disrupted geographical, political, and cultural boundaries forever" (Fusco, 1995, p. 25), making more complex the notion of identities/geographies in flux. The movement of people across geographies, coupled with economic globalization, has resulted in physical and cultural dislocations. Whether for those with privileged access to advanced technology, international business and pleasure travel, or for the less privileged, such as refugees, migrants, exiles, immigrants and the homeless, the experience of displacement and instability is more prevalent in society than ever before. Even "at home" First Nations' cultural dislocation, although not an effect of immigration or emigration, is the result of the colonization of autochthonous people and culture within Canadian borders. For artists, educators and other cultural producers, the subject of displacement cuts across many cultures and traditions, challenging conventional ways of locating subjectivity and defining 93 'place' in order to consider the contingency and transitory nature of an evolving, shifting, postmodern life. Notwithstanding Canadian multicultural policy, the continuous movement of people and ideas disrupts the "nostalgic fantasy of cultural purity" within our society, "one that not even 'rion-Western' societies can provide proof of any longer" (Fusco, 1995, p. 26). Art historian Reesa Greenberg (1998) believes that "the diverse communities that comprise Canadian society, and the cultural permeability of its borders ensures that the definition of the nation is not closed" (p. 95). For her, "the idea of'nation' has no fixed essence...it is a socially formed category which also is historically variable" (Greenberg, 1998, p. 95). Yoon recognizes that national identity is continually constructed, "formed by telling stories, inventing fictions, and manufacturing traditions in a way that is invariably selective" (Malvern, 1998, p. 123). Through pedagogical art practice Yoon provides new portraits or stories as part of the construction of national identity. Nationhood, "is a relational term, founded not on intrinsic or essential properties but on what it is not and what it is amongst others" (Malvern, 1998, p. 123). Therefore "nations define themselves through a process of negation and difference" (Malvern, 1998, p. 123). According to this notion, artists like Yoon whose work involves "negation and difference" can be seen as also redefining nationhood. Multiculturalism and Racism The strength of Canada, to which artists like Yoon contribute, is in its diversity, beyond the limited relevance of the multicultural notion of the colourful Canadian mosaic (Irwin, Rogers, & Farell, in press). Instead of this heritage mosaic motif, Canadian artists and educators are recognizing the inadequacies of Canadian multicultural policy by addressing specific differences of particular cultural practices of Canada's diverse groups (Crosby, 1997; Tchen, 1994; Yoon, 1998, Irwin, Rogers, & Farrell, in press). Yoon puts it this way: 94 I'm interested in a deeper critique of how we construct who belongs and who doesn't. How that's been constructed historically, let's say in this particular case [of the Group of Seven exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery], through painting practices. Canadian multicultural policy does not go far enough in, for example, undermining the roots of racism or the stereotyping or essentializing of identities and cultures in representational practices. Jin-me Yoon is among those who feel that Canadian multicultural policy, is a relatively superficial engagement with the problems and conflicts of displacement and difference. She, talks about the ongoing permissiveness of racism and how she is trying to move beyond the stereotypes: I experienced subtle forms of racism and really blatant forms of racism. When I was in Korea I was just another kid with black hair, but when I came here, I suddenly became something else - Chinese br Japanese, a 'Chink' or a 'Jap'. But I was neither. And, you didn't hear anything about Korea except about the Korean war, that it was a poor country, a war-torn country. That's the thing, the war was 1953 and it was still very fresh in the mind of everybody in a certain generation. Yoon asserts the importance of not only promoting understanding and undermining racism but also the transformative effect that such a practice has had on her own sense of self. Times have shifted. I'm not saying racism doesn't exist or its struggles don't exist in certain ways, but I think that growing up here in the late sixties was very different than it is in the late nineties. Even in terms of the so called Pacific Rim era, and economic global changes that have shifted certain ways of thinking. Although I'm not optimistic, I think ' that certain kinds of stereotypes are based on old racism. It is different; and also I am different in the sense that I made the work. That's helped me to move somewhere else. I really avoid benign, facile gestures towards multiculturalism. I'm highly skeptical of many kinds of multicultural maneuvers because I'm not just interested in an inclusive critique; just let us belong and let us be a part of the structure as it stands. I'm interested in dismanthng, and 95 understanding how those structures were initially set up and then to find some alternative, which isn't packaged as though it's my answer, but is an opening. Which is, I think, a more profound critique. Mass migration has been the narrative of the twentieth century. Through war, through famine, through economic circumstances, whatever. The way that we're trying to fix identities is completely, retrograde. Look what happened in the former Yugoslavia. People were married to each other and then all of a sudden they're killing each other's families. That's what I mean. At the same time that I believe in anti-racist work, I don't believe'in ethnic purity, I'm not interested in origin. I really don't care if people say you're not really authentically this or that. I don't want to be authentic, thank you. That doesn't mean that I'm ashamed of my Korean heritage or some of the very lasting effects of that culture which I'm very interested in perpetuating. What is Korean culture? Patriarchal Korean culture, -1 don't need to perpetuate that. Yoon supports alliances and flexibility in forming compatible interrelationships between people and among communities, which she asserts are culturally hybrid identities. She refutes the notion and expectation of sameness. Without dissolving everything into homogeneity I hope for a future in which people don't subscribe to these tight, rigid categories in their lives, and that they are more fluid, more open, and more expansive to each other. That is already happening. It is time for us to catch up on how we live our lives. Not just theoretically, I mean I'm talking about practically and how we move through the world. You know, that's a hopeful gesture. (Interview, 1997) Canadian multicultural policy, designed from a eurocentric point-of-view against which other cultures are measured and defined (Irwin, Rogers, & Farell, in press), succeeds in diffusing protest and acts to inhibit more meaningful social awareness and debate across cultures and within groups (Crosby, 1997; Yoon, 1998) . Wary of such a policy, many British Columbia artists including Yoon, struggle to represent their lived experience as individuals who negotiate between cultures as culturally hybrid beings, not stereotyped, essentialized 'others' relegated by the dominant culture to a position outside of the mainstream. They look at what it means to belong within this cultural and political landscape and attempt to set the terms of participation. Their efforts 96 open dialogue about such questions that dismantle assumptions and reveal that in contemporary society, the dominant culture is not as homogeneous and monolithic as it was once believed to be (Gagnon, 1992). It is being recognized that "the master" is "just an 'other' among others" (Minh-ha, 1989, p. 98-99). In acknowledgment of demographic and social/political shifts, publicly-funded art galleries, such as the Vancouver Art Gallery which was the institutional context for Yoon's A Group of Sixty Seven, are attempting to address questions of assumptions and privilege through their exhibitions and education programming. According to Gagnon (1992) in merging political and cultural agendas, care must be taken to avoid "undermining the specificity of experience, community, cultures and identities" and "to leave open the possibility of self-criticism within expanded communities" (p. 38). An evolving, dynamic, cultural life of the province includes immigrants, exiles, refugees, even First Nations people severed for various reasons from their 'homes' and familiar ways of life. Such a designation includes a large number of people who are part of hybrid communities in flux, with shifting and developing cultures, too often nostalgically represented as static and homogeneous, or whose presence is only to be tolerated because of certain events of history. At this time, while disjunctions and contradictions within and among communities are unavoidable, perspectives based on lived experience need to be represented, (in galleries, schools and elsewhere) and understood in respectful pedagogical interchanges, through art and education practices (Ellsworth, 1989; Lather, 1991; van Manen, 1991). Pedagogical dialogue and exchanges through critical art and education practices can be.thought of as journeys, not destinations, routes both to the past as a way to explore historical constructions and to an uncertain future (Clifford, 1997). They are contingent sites of transformation of consciousness, mappings or portraits of lived experience. The M u s e u m Context : The Exh ib i t i on as an Educa t i ona l Site In most nation states, national galleries function as sites for the self expression of the nation. The National Gallery of Canada serves as a good example of the enormous influence such an institution can wield. (To some degree, provincial and municipal institutions such as the Vancouver Art Gallery, have been important in defining the regional character of the nation.) During the 1920s the National Gallery of Canada promoted nationalism, confirming the political and economic agendas of those in power, among other exclusionary actions, by affirming the Anglo-Canadian, gender-biased central Canadian vision of the Group of Seven painters. Within the art world of the present, as in the 1920s, these cultural institutions continue to be influential as the framework and physical environment for exhibitions. The gallery wall, according to Krauss (1989) becomes "the signifier of inclusion" with "everything excluded becoming marginalized with regard to its status as art" (p. 289). In British Columbia, the Vancouver Art Gallery is regarded as ope of the most influential public institutions in the province for the legitimization of contemporary works of art. It is within this context that Yoon chose to locate A Group of Sixty-Seven to create an intervention in the legitimizing space of the Vancouver Art Gallery, and to extend criticism to some of the underlying attitudes towards nationhood and representation that is a part of the history of the gallery. She especially wished to address the very popular exhibition, that circulated just prior to Yoon's installation. The Group of Seven: Art For A Nation, curated.and then circulated in 1996 by the National Gallery of Canada, not only underscored the continuing preeminence of the Group of Seven in Canadian art, but also served to authenticate the Vancouver Art Gallery, one of the four places across Canada where it was shown, as a venue for significant art. Jin-me Yoon's A Group of Sixty-Seven, which is engaged in the discourse surrounding landscape in art history in Canada and its ongoing impact on 98 attitudes in Canadian society, is in part a response, in concept and design, to that exhibition. As Yoon says, 1 How could I take on Canadian national identity without addressing landscape^ for goodness sakes? I don't think there is a way to do it because it has been so much about the formation of what Canada is, or is supposed to be, in terms of all those wilderness myths - the un-peopled places, mountains and forests - and how tourism has also folded into all of that. (Interview, 1997) In recent years, the Vancouver Art Gallery has begun to address issues of representation within and between more diverse communities, and has been more inclusive of a broad range of artists and audiences. Like many other publicly-financed galleries, the Vancouver Art Gallery, now seeks to expand its scope: instead of purveying elitist perspectives it is attempting to respond to changing social dynamics. In tandem with this realization are calls for more public accountability and an expanded educational role that qualitatively inserts art within broader contextual frameworks and diverse audiences. The history of the institution itself, the building it occupies and the land on which it stands, the institution's public mandate and funding criteria, and its permanent collection are rarely acknowledged but significant factors that contribute to an understanding of the site in which the work is presented and framed (Buren, 1973; Crimp, 1983; Karp & Lavine, 1991; Kwon 1997; Roberts, 1998; Owens, 1992). By intervening in the social space of the gallery, by referring to the gallery's collection of Emily Carr paintings and its presentation of a major exhibition of the Group of Seven, Jin-me Yoon's work conjoins the history of the gallery, with its complicity in propagating ideas of exclusivity, and expands the focus for defining art in British Columbia. In recognizing that it is incumbent on the gallery to redefine itself as more socially aware, Yoon takes the opportunity of claiming it, through her work, as an educational site. It is here where regular gallery-goers learn about her experiences and ideas, and where members of the Korean community, through her invitation and encouragement, learn about the 99 Gallery by being present: - physically in the production process, opening night and other visits; through representation by means of portrait images; and symbolically becoming a part of the place. Institutionally, the Vancouver Art Gallery is just a building. It is what you do in those spaces in terms of social practices and engagement that makes it what it is. It is not one static thing. It is not like there's the art gallery and that's what it is. It is how people use that space that makes it meaningful. (Interview, 1997) 'topographies'and'Art for a Nation' In 1996 the Vancouver Art Gallery organized the exhibition topographies: aspects of recent B.C. art to present some of the most recent ideas and practices in contemporary British Columbia art. Shifting attention away from Art for a Nation, the preceding 'blockbuster' historical exhibition which commemorated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Group of Seven's inaugural exhibition, the topographies curators Grant Arnold, Monika Kin Gagnon and Doreen Jensen defined a discursive frame that focused on aspects of recent B.C. art: regional cultural identities and localized politics dealing with cross-cultural issues of the present. They selected "a culturally diverse group" of forty-one artists who encompass a broad range of perspectives "in relation to tradition and community", media, and stylistic concerns (Arnold, Gagnon & Jensen, 1996, p. x). Acknowledging the difficulty of presenting a cohesive exhibition of artists of diverse points of view, Charlotte Townsend-GauTt (1997), in reviewing the exhibition states that topographies is "aesthetic pluralism in action" (p. 71). Jin-me Yoon's, A Group of Sixty-Seven, a photo-based installation project conceptualized specifically for topographies, was featured in the section of the exhibition entitled Shared Terrain/Contested Spaces. Grant Arnold (1996), the section's curator suggests that Yoon is among those artists who draw on diverse traditions to "question pictorial traditions that have been closely tied to 100 nationalist narratives" and who contest "the concept of history as monolithic", emphasizing that "the habitation of any particular place is shaped by a variety of cultural and economic circumstances" (p. 3). Her work joins with others in the exhibition which "destabilize reductive processes of spatialization that underscore overarching constructions of national [and provincial] identity" (Arnold, 1996, p. 3). Since its completion, A Group of Sixty-Seven, which was purchased by the Vancouver Art Gallery for its permanent collection, has been viewed by many people in different contexts. A 'gifting set', one of which Yoon gave to each Korean Canadian participant, was exhibited at the Korean Community Centre in Vancouver, in Taiwan, and in Korea. Most recently, the work was installed at the National Gallery of Canada in Crossings, an exhibition about the complexity of the subject of displacement and the artists' processes of translation and transformation as past and present, origin and destination come together (Nemiroff, 1998). Using autobiographical material Jin-me Yoon's work explores these themes as a vehicle for promoting understanding. Jin-me Yoon Lived Experience, Stereotypes and Pedagogy Lived experience is embedded in Yoon's art/pedagogical practice. The events and experiences of her early life as an immigrant to British Columbia coupled with her familial responsibility and pressures of being the eldest girl-child have caused her to be attentive to constructions of attitudes and behaviour that create tension in the translation of cultures. Even in accompanying her mother, who spoke little English, and assisting in the negotiation of ordinary daily contacts in Canadian society, Yoon became attuned to racist assumptions and misconceptions. Such experiences have, had an important impact on the 101 formation of her identity, her choice of themes and her commitment to pedagogy that undermines relations based on stereotype. It was a hard time, and some of my observations still continue to play themselves out. I remember, from that childhood period, my mother who was a professional woman struggle with no language, and no sense of who she was. Her identity was completely flattened out. She became just an immigrant woman who couldn't speak English. And then, you know, there was this, kind of quick leap then that she wasn't very intelligent, or worthy in terms of being a citizen. I don't want to say everybody was mean to my mom, but there was so much to negotiate, for example, when she wanted to return something at a store - I was told, TELL YOUR MOTHER THAT. I felt like saying 'She's not mentaUy deficient, she just can't speak the language'. You know? I think formative experiences of being an immigrant child, and being the eldest girl child, really influenced who I am and therefore, the kinds of things that I'm trying to work through. There has been easier absorption of European immigrants into this area, whereas fourth generation of Chinese Canadian friends are still asked to 'go home'. (Interview, 1997) Generally assumed to be Chinese in a city where the majority of immigrants from Asia are from Hong Kong, Yoon struggles to cohere public and private identities. Her experiences of conflicts and contradictions - learning to be Canadian and Korean at various times in her life, and attempting to understand the supposed distinctions and expectations of stereotypical or essentialized versions of each one of these constructions - gave rise to feelings of cultural dislocation. Her work is evidence that she continues to contend, as do other feminists, with the relationships of public and private identifications, interrogating the role of the embodied self in her art practice (hooks 1984, 1990, 1995; Lippard, 1990; Machida, 1994, Minh-ha, 1989, Piper, 1996). In her artist's statement in the catalogue for her exhibition at the Yokohama Citizen's Gallery, Yoon (1995) asserts "In general I am interested in questions of identity and how social relations are constructed" (p. 55). 102 Art School and Education She began to seriously address those questions during her art school education at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver where she enrolled as a student after receiving a degree in psychology and travelling through Asia. She describes her early education as an artist this way: I didn't know until I came to art school at twenty-five that art was not just about formalism or aesthetic issues, but also about the way that through material and visual languages, you can ask questions that are very engaged with the social dimension. I was always fascinated by other ways that you could learn,. I felt that I could actually get to what I was really interested in: the human psyche and the social. I applied to Emily Carr Institute because I didn't want to do graduate work at a university. After getting a B.A., I had that kind of discipline and ability to read fairly difficult text against the grain. I'd already learned the basics of research, writing and reading. I wanted to go to art school. I decided that I wanted to be a visually literate person. I feel very passionate about some of the things that I've seen come out of the visual arts. At art school, to be in a more unstructured environment, and to be more exposed to visual languages; to students making things, talking about how we make things all the time: that was a training that I needed and I valued. I am very interested in psychoanalysis, psycho-processing. I feel like I came to art with the spirit of something more like the sixties and what people were able to- do in debunking certain myths about artists and a strictly formal practice. The Situationists and Fluxus, were wild and interesting in trying to say 'why do we accept these social structures and take them for granted?' For me, formal languages are how you articulate meaning in the visual arts. But as an end in themselves I've never been that interested. I remember being just completely bowled over when I saw Adrian Piper's work. As an undergraduate, I was very much interested in sociology, anthropology, history, philosophy. So when I realized that Adrian Piper [the black American artist whose mixed media work concerns issues of identity and racism], whose work made a big impression on me, was asking questions that were related to the way that those disciplines were also asking questions, I realized, that art really is a field of inquiry! 103 I was very influenced by certain feminist practices and then, in the eighties, other social movements became very relevant, for example, the way that a lot of British cultural theories dealt with race and representation; Stuart Hall's work, Paul Gilroy, people, working out of England. I was looking at the way they also used post-structuralist theories, like let's say Mary Kelly or Griselda Pollock, to then critique nation and questions of race. Those things became really important to me as well. My getting to know about that was informal; my curiosity, my own hunger, for what was relevant to my own life, and things that I thought were very profound, very important, were missing. I knew how to research it. Trinh Minh-ha and bell hooks were important, all that work, especially by women of color. It was an exciting time, and yet, I did feel that the art school was lax in not having a class that dealt with, let's say, post-colonial theory and its influences on visual practice. But I didn't say, I'll just forget about it. It gave me the impetus to go out there and do it myself. I felt that something was missing which was a big part of who I am in terms of being a racialized subject, living in a Western country. So then it was a process of being an autodidact. I was in contact with other artists who were out there, other Korean women that I knew, networking, meeting people - all those ways of finding out what's going on. It was also an historical moment in which practices.were emerging. Because gender studies wasn't being addressed at the art school, I felt like I needed to do something about it myself. I was one of the people that was very instrumental in organizing a petition. I think that there are very important ways in which a woman can talk about the impact of social movements, certain kinds of social theories and critical theories within art school. We just wanted a more structured environment in which to do that. Sara Diamond, an instructor, was most supportive while I was there, even though I very much valued also working with Marian Penner Bancroft. I felt totally empowered, because I felt that I was basically respected, and also, because of the people I was with in art school. I liked the openness because that gave me a balance to a more methodological and straight-forward, systematic analysis that I was trained in. (Interview, 1997) Yoon's interest in art and education that involves dialogue on subjects outside the canon was evident while she was still in art school. Social issues related to art and education were of special interest. Largely as a result of Yoon and other feminist students' active involvement in promoting a more socially relevant curriculum, a series of 'feminist/gehder' art-related studio courses and seminars was established and were eventually expanded to explore issues of race and 104 class. These early experiences of curriculum development and practical negotiations for the implementation of social/political approaches to educational practice in relation to studio practice, were useful precedents for her later role as an artist/pedagogue in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.. Three Related Works By incorporating her self-portrait in her autobiographical work, in A Group of Sixty-Seven and in other projects, Yoon seeks to disrupt assumptions and stereotypes of a generic Asian femininity and heritage. She "explores the possibility of rupturing historical stereotypes of Asian women's representations, and how these representations have carried through into the present" (Gagnon, 1997, p. 18). Yoon (1998, in a lecture Feb. 3) states, "I am very interested in discursive sites that speak of phenomenological experience". Prior to A Group of Sixty-Seven, there were; Intersection, presented at Presentation House Gallery in 1996 shortly after her first child was born, and Souvenirs of the Self in which she incorporated photographs of herself in Banff. In these projects, Yoon inserts herself into the frame by way of a portrait image, declaring her position as both the author and subject of the narrative portraits she constructs. In Intersection, Yoon interrogates the relationship between maternity and work, the "prescribed relationship between the biological imperatives of reproduction and the social imperatives surrounding working women" (Allen, 1996, p. 7). In one photographic panel Yoon is portrayed holding her infant child and, in a panel on an adjacent wall, Yoon, in 'business' attire soiled by breast milk, is surrounded by the contradictory props of an attache case, a breast pump, and a burping cloth. Symbols of motherhood and professional efficacy collide and collapse into one another as hybrid images. Yoon says of her experience as a parent and an artist: 105 I think that having a child has really added another kind of consciousness about what the maternal means in this culture. If you're biologically reproductive then why is it such a reach for people to think that you are also culturally productive? It is as if because I'm nursing my son here, I can't think. It is so ingrained; that's a contradiction in this culture. I think it stems from ideas about man/woman, mind/body, - that somehow these things are contradictory. This work [Intersection] in particular, it is about how, all those identities were done again, imposed upon me when people saw me with an infant. Like that's all you are is a mother - you know, you can't be a thinking, creative, intellectual, artistic being. In this culture child care is a menial task; it is delegated to the lowest of responsibilities. Yet, as a society, to raise the next generation, that's a completely important cultural endeavor. For Souvenirs of the Self, Yoon is photographed against the backdrop of conventional views of Banff, a favorite site for Japanese tourists, and where it is assumed she is one of them. She poses the subtle question: "How do you actually recognize a tourist or a foreigner?" (Augaitis & Gilbert, 1991, p. 6). Perceiving that the root of this question lies in racist and feminist assumptions, Yoon (1998) explains: "This work speaks against the flattening of complexity of my history that is tied to my body to which I am bound". Souvenirs of the Self, which was ^produced in postcard format, makes strategic use of the power of the vernacular in photographic representation, of "how images circulate as a kind of vernacular in consumer culture" (Yoon, 1998). Yoon acknowledges that "postcards are cliches but have an enormous amount of authority nevertheless" (Yoon, 1998). In her artist's statement in the catalogue for the exhibition at the Yokohama Citizen's Gallery in 1995 (p. 55), Yoon claims that in Souvenirs of the Self, "in order to push the boundaries of geographical and cultural nationality, address high and low art, and the original and the copy, the images produced for this project were made into postcards, sold in souvenir shops in Banff as well as mailed internationally". She considers the relationship of tourism to the landscape: Mountains, forests, these are the icons of Canada. I saw many people take their pictures in exactly these same spots as in Souvenirs of the Self, especially Japanese tourists. It is interesting because people often 106 thought I was a Japanese tourist when I was in Banff. Why does my body in this place make me a tourist? Why am I not Canadian? So that's where that work started from. To exercise that agency, to move beyond classifications and embodied „ stereotypes, has been to make the work. And it is a very healing process for me and I'm somewhere else now after doing Souvenirs of the Self, which is about the exterior of the body in a very touristic site, that's symbolic; it is in the symbolic imaginary of Canada - the Rockies. How do I transform myself as this object, which I present self-consciously as an object, or by invoking a kind of stereotype, but also by doubling in a sense: the woman in the photograph also looks very proud; and it is a whole new ground, she's got a lot of presence. So this flip from object to subject and this duality of how I have experienced my life actually, as a racialized subject in Canada, how do I transform that into something else? Because I've made a series of works like this I've exorcised something. (Interview, 1997) Yoon once again acknowledges the importance of artmaking as a transformative practice. The compositional construction in Souvenirs if the Self and A Group of Sixty-Seven, in which Yoon occupies the position in front of the scene, "is significant for Yoon as it positions the artist in the space between the accepted view and the viewer" (Augaitis and Gilbert, 1991, p. 6). For the viewer, her embodied presence pedagogically signals the question: Where does she, or the other individuals who are subjects in her work belong? Indeed all of the terms in this question are variable and imprecise. 'Where' is not necessarily a physical place and can be described in psychological terms or as passages or journeys. 'Belonging' is a complex term that goes beyond nationalistic, ideological, or geographic traditions to entangle with qualifications of why belong, and under what conditions. Embedded within Yoon's artwork are allusions to social attitudes and historical legacies, and to contradictions of private and public identities which affect the conditions of belonging. Simple inclusion does not satisfy questions of prejudice or the obstacles to engaging in meaningful dialogue through self-representation. 107 In her most recent project, Between Departure and Arrival, which expands on many of the themes in A Group of Sixty-Seven, Yoon uses video projection, photography, archival photographs, audio voice-over, and text to evoke a sense of being between worlds; public/private; East/West; home/away; past/present/future; memory/fact; image/imagination. This work, concerned with historic representations filtered through the imagination and the traces they leave on memory and identity, blurs distinctions between the visual and the experiential. This is how she describes this project and her process: The big wide open skyscape and then the concreteness of day-to :day realities shown in the archival images of the practical, historical, and sociological, in Between Departure and Arrival, co-exist. A l l these things co-exist. At the same time, we can talk about the social, historical construction of identities, and how they've been constructed and how they impact our body still, living out those constructions, or through those constructions. It is not a contradiction, because they are constructs, but we can imagine something else. That always happens - the imagination always happens within a discursive formation or discursive background, because those documentary images and the archival images in Between Departure and Arrival are images that I've inherited. If I look for images, they come from somewhere. The whole project is about journey. It includes the archival images I got - there's the train, the images of boats, Steveston, Japanese women canning, fisheries, the boats being confiscated because the Japanese Canadians were interned. Then you have the landscape which is being tilled by the Chinese workers, after settlement, (initially when the men came they worked in the mines and the railways). The project is also about how the landscape is haunted. It is full of these- memories. And even though it is not genetically or even culturally my background, I've inherited this background through the virtue of what my skin looks like from the outside. I'm not Chinese, I'm not Japanese. There's images of Koreans walking through the snow in the Korean war with big packages. The men, Canadian soldiers going off, sailing off to fight the Korean war. It is always a constant movement; this movement - that's what structures the whole montage on the video monitor. It [the project] is about the way that discursive background of images also forms my identity and how I rework that, in relation to place and landscape. (Interview, 1997) The viewer is surrounded by the exhibition space with elusive, time-based sensations and images. Rather than making assertions, Yoon's work invites 108 viewers to participate by being receptive to questions revolving around her politicized, provisional identity and metaphorical journey. It is a pedagogical strategy that reveals fragile and ambiguous spaces, and that enables the work to act as a catalyst for viewers in this nation of immigrants, to embark on their own journeys of discovery (Noddings, 1991; van Manen, 1991). The Project A Group of Sixty-Seven The project, A Group of Sixty-Seven, connects the discourse of landscape painting in the history of Canadian art, to photoconceptual practices and to the identity politics of visible minorities, "raising questions in regard to audience community and site" (Arnold, 1996, p. 14). Yoon focuses on the largely uncritical presentation of the Group of Seven landscape paintings that depict the northern unpopulated wilderness, by Anglo-Canadian male artists from central Canada, as emblematic of Canada as a nation. Yoon visually connects her project with Art for a Nation but puts her own twist on the Canadian landscape. The title;of her artwork plays on the iconic nature of the Group of Seven paintings and their lasting impact on our national identity. Sixty-seven is symbolic of the year 1967 in which the Immigration Act was amended to allow more immigration of Asian nationals and made it possible for Yoon's family to come to Canada. It was also the centennial year of Canadian confederation. For her project, sixty-seven members of Vancouver's Korean-Canadian community, including Yoon, were photographed against the backdrop of historic landscape paintings by two Canadian artists, Emily Carr and Lawren Harris, both with close ties to the Vancouver Art Gallery. A Group of Sixty-Seven consists of two sets of sixty-seven, 40x50 centimeter colour portrait photographs of individuals of different ages arranged in two simple grid panels. Each of the monumental horizontal rectangular shapes is reminiscent of a giant flag but a corner is missing out of the whole. The two sets are installed on adjacent walls forming a triangle with the viewer as one side. 109 i f * 1 I -!, ', 'I , . I ! V, rf, , j l i* Ms ->^» I j '} l~ • HH • Jin-nie Yoon // Group of Sixty-Seven I996 135 framed dye coupler (C-type) prints 18.5 x 24.S inches each (working dimensions) collection o( the Vancouver Art Gallery figure I i h> IIO In the panel of one set of photographs, each individual faces the camera, placed in front of a detail of Lawren Harris' painting Maligne Lake, Jasper Park (1924). These portraits gaze outward at the viewer and away from the painting. In the second set, the sitters are positioned this time in front of Emily Carr's painting, Old Time Coast Village (c. 1929-1930), facing away from the viewer and looking at the painting. Accompanying the two large panels is an explanatory third component which serves as a map legend to identify the individuals in the photographs by name. Mindful of the heterogeneous nature of the community itself, and "because the community is provisional" (Yoon, 1998), Yoon's naming of the individuals who are of various ages, backgrounds, traditions and experiences helps to collapse a homogeneous reading of the group. Korean Community Participation As part of the A Group of Sixty-Seven, each sitter-participant in the project received a set of photographic prints, and a complete set of prints was installed at Vancouver's Korean Community Centre. Yoon talks about this project and its relationship to her community: I think that work shifts according to who you are. At least in my fantasy as an artist I want it to work that way. If you're one of the participants that knows me from the Korean community, then you're going to have a very different take about that project. Everyone is not going to feel the same way. But, what I heard as responses back, is that the people are very proud to be in that project. So it had a very affirmative function. They've never been represented in an official art institutional context. You know, we have our own art shows in the community center on Hastings Street and Clarke, so, they felt very proud in some ways. Some people, my family, at first didn't want to be a part of the project. They said they don't believe in that fiction, of this kind of ethnic homogeneity. You're just perpetuating something that doesn't exist. And I said, I'm not saying that we're homogenous - that's why everybody is separate. It is their own portrait. It is not like a group shot, formally. So that's what I mean, the way that you articulate those formal languages is full of meaning. And I said that we can be completely dismantled, in the sense that it's just a grid. It can be arranged in any way; these are individuals. I l l And yet, there's also the identification with the group, and that group for various reasons, hasn't been represented in the mainstream society. But it wasn't a benign multi-cultural gesture on my part to do that; to say, we're Korean, we've been marginalized so we want to be included too, into this canon of what it means to be a Canadian, using Lawren Harris' Maligne Lake, and Emily Carr's Old Time Coastal Village paintings as icons; forest, and mountains. No, that's way too simple, because I'm much more skeptical about multiculturalism and simple facile inclusion into the Canadian mosaic. I'm not interested in that. But on the other hand I can critique the way that Canada as a nation has been constructed. Some people are offended that I would just use those paintings as a backdrop. But for me, it is not to trash Emily Carr and Lawren Harris. They were social subjects in their own historical milieu and they are very complex subjects. I'm talking about representations, I'm talking about looking at the paintings as icons and how that traditionally has been disseminated and communicated to others. I think that the Group of Seven were struggling against their own colonial inheritance, as men from a European background who were now in Canada. They were engaged in a certain kind of nationalist project which wasn't necessarily cohesive per se. But this painting of Maligne Lake was exhibited in 1924 at the Wembley Exhibition in England that consolidated their status as somehow truly representing Canadian painting as apart from European painting not a derivative of European painting. That's when Canada, as a colony, accepts them, right? I'm talking about how they've been constructed as well, and then how that construction comes to stand in for all Canadian experience. Frankly, we did 'car camping' but it was almost a completely urban experience. So this is a group of sixty-seven, instead of the Group of Seven. To facilitate the process of producing the work, Yoon sought assistance from the Vancouver Art Gallery which made available to her Lawren Harris' painting, Maligne Lake, Jasper Park, on view at that time as a part of the exhibition The Group of Seven: Art for a Nation, as well as Emily Carr's Old Time Coast Village from the Gallery's permanent collection. Members of Vancouver's Korean-Canadian community were invited to come to the gallery, to have dinner and to have their portrait photographs taken in front of the paintings. Explanations of the project and general instructions for the photographic session also helped to ensure the comfort of the sitters in the gallery, an aspect of the project carefully 112 considered by Yoon in its orchestration. She described her role at this juncture in the production of the project "as more.like a director" (Yoon, 1998), but it was a pedagogical role that was a principal element of the collaborative process in the creation of the work that was realized through "pedagogical tact" (van Manen, p. 84). According to van Manen (1991) "pedagogical understanding and pedagogical thoughtfulness are closely related (p. 84). He explains that "the essence of pedagogy manifests itself in the practical moment, in a concrete situation"(p. 46) such as the performative actions of constructing the artwork which also grounds the meanings of the process of creating the work within the institutional framing context. I think that the participants were really happy with the project and the experience. It is not just this object, and being there on opening night. I had three sessions where we ate Korean food in the Vancouver Art Gallery, left the olfactory trace of that, and it was a whole process. I invited sixty-seven Koreans (including myself). They came to the Vancouver Art Gallery, this painting of Lawren Harris was removed from the exhibition Art for a Nation, and brought into one of the rooms downstairs where each subject was photographed. I had three sessions, because it is just too intense with sixty-seven people. I served Korean food and explained my project. I had already sent them a letter explaining the project and asking them if they wanted to participate. My parents, community members, as well as family members were instrumental in organizing by word of mouth and, - they came. A lot of them hadn't been to the Vancouver Art Gallery and it was just a whole new kind of experience for them. They thought, what is art? Some of them have very conventional notions of what an artist does. J Trevor Mil ls [a photographer employed by the Vancouver Art Gallery who took the photographs under her direction] and I got together, we went over all the kinds of f-stops, the Ughting, tested it out, and he agreed to do it. I was very privileged to work with him. I was a little worried because I thought that some of the Korean people wouldn't feel comfortable with him there because it would be more like the official, you know, because he is not Korean and he is a Vancouver Art Gallery photographer. But we had enough of us doing the hair and the makeup because I wanted it to be very, very formal. I wanted it to be not like a naturalized snap shot. I wanted it to look very formal, like everything was constructed. I placed them exactly at the same spot. You know those things were all very controlled. 113 Jin-me Yoon A Group of Sixty-Sewn 1996 (research images) K>8 cibachiomc photographs each IS.5x19.5inches (working dintensions) colled ion ol the Vancouver Arl Gallery figure J 111 I wrote a letter with some instructions about what colors to wear, and so on. I told them, wear solid colours, don't wear black and white. One person wore black. That's okay. I said, no reflective material and avoid patterns. To the older people - I said, wear whatever you feel most comfortable in because I didn't want them to run out and buy something. The younger people, it is easier, you can borrow stuff. But it is harder for older people and for a lot of them Ihad to arrange transportation, to pick them up, because they just don't come downtown that often, or move around that much. So, you have this modernist T-shirt, or blouse next to this granny here, she's the eldest of the whole setting. She wore a pattern. It is really modernistic, black and white with the squares and the circles. So, that was her choice. Yeah, I love it. Some of the Korean women showed up in Korean dresses. I was horrified, and I thought oh my God! This is going to be like multi-culturalism again, wear your little dresses, right? And then I thought, gee, quit trying to control everything so much! So they wore what they wanted and in the end, I really loved some of them wearing their Korean dresses. It was really beautiful, because I love the colors that the Koreans put together in terms of our traditional clothes. So everything worked out. Some were very formal, and some weren't. And so I loosely controlled it, because I didn't want too much pattern and wild stuff going on. (Interview, 1997) Yoon's Pedagogical Process A Group of Sixty-Seven is a multi-layered, complex work that interrogates issues of subjectivity, identity and privilege. In her project for the exhibition, Yoon calls for the inclusion of Asian-Canadians i n the cultural life of Canada while making reference, wi th the use of the Carr and Harr i s paintings, to some of the conditions which form the backdrop for participation i n Canadian society. The Group of Seven images and those of Carr were accepted as a part of Canadian historical artistic development at a time when nationalism was important and they continue to be associated wi th Canada as a nation. Yoon undermines their version of national identity. While al luding to the iconic stature oiMaligne Lake by Harr i s of the Group of Seven and Old Coast Village by E m i l y Carr, Yoon contextualizes these paintings from art history i n Canada and their powerful impact on the Canadian consciousness. Yoon's intention was not to denigrate the Harr i s and Carr paintings but to employ them as symbols, and "to point to 115 the constructedness of what we naturalize" (Yoon, 1998). Through juxtaposition of images and combining photography and sculptural installation strategies she subverts landscape painting conventions. Her pedagogical intervention alters the meaning of these painted images through irony rather than confrontation, in order to address cross-cultural and social issues concerned with subverting the stereotypical with regard to people and place. She directs her pedagogical focus on the Korean community or other communities of minorities who after seeing her work may feel empowered to express their position or to feel more a part of the landscape as described by Yoon. Other viewers have the opportunity of better understanding immigrant experiences. I thought that it was going to be so interesting because Art for a Nation was going to happen, then topographies; it's nation and region, that had been already discursively set up. I think that topographies did provide a kind of a memory for the people who had seen Art for a Nation; an institutional lingering, so to speak, of. the presence of that show. I hoped that would subconsciously or self-reflexively stimulate some other kinds of questions of my work. This kind of articulated package, of Art for a Nation, should have had a sub-title, because it should have been slightly reflective. Even if Charles H i l l [the curator and essayist] said it's an exhibition about exhibitions, and it's a very scholarly take, it's still a bit nostalgic for me at this time, when we're going through such upheavals about constitution and nations. I'm not saying it shouldn't happen, but it could have had a more contemporary context. They tried to do something in Ontario where it was previously shown, to address that and I think that at the Vancouver Art Gallery, public programming was trying also. But those efforts were kind of appendages. They weren't integrated into the actual body of the exhibition. The particular paintings were chosen for specific reasons. Lawren Harris has very abstracted formal shapes, still recognizable as mountains, but the perspectival system was interesting. That particular painting going to the Wembley Exhibition consolidating the reputation of the Group of Seven as uniquely Canadian painters was important in this context, in how their national identity as artists was constructed that was very particular. Also, this is Maligne Lake in Jasper close to where I had done that series of work of postcards, Souvenirs of the Self, at Banff. And then Emily Carr. She is Emily Carr. First of all, a lot of her work is vertical and I wanted something horizontal like this forest scene, to suggest landscape. This is a painting that she did after a hiatus of many years of not painting, because of being so discouraged as a woman. Then she 1 1 6 meets Lawren Harris and picks up the brush again, and his influences, yet using very different ways. I also wanted to call upon the way that the paintings have also been constructed in terms of gender. Here's Emily Carr, some people have talked about her images in relation to invagination; and in the Harris, the erect phallic rigidity of the forms so I just wanted to play on that a bit. I just see those as constructs and, I'm not subscribing to them, but also to call upon them. In Old Time Coast Village, it was important that it have Native artifacts but not a huge totem pole and then us, that's too blatant. I was looking for some sort of relationality to the depiction of the representation of Native culture, which doesn't mean direct relationship, but how we've inherited representations by Emily Carr of native artifacts and therefore Native culture. The representations in her paintings have been quite formative in the way that representation of Native culture has been perpetuated. I wanted to call upon those subtleties. So that's why I chose those paintings. I thought they would work formally really well too, with placing the Korean subjects in the front. She attempts to teach about the interrelationships of cultures, especially the Korean community and the First Nations. She envisions her work as a dialogue or an exchange in which she presents her experiences while at the same time attempting to foster understanding of others; of the predicaments of First Nations people, of confrontations with the urban Native, of contestations over territory, for example, shopping areas in the downtown. Lawren Harris and Emily Carr paintings are complex. As representations, they are layered and layered and layered. But I think that some people were offended, and my gesture was not one of offense. I'm not interested in easy work, that's critical. I'm right in there. T mean I'm right in there. It is also a critique of how - we as immigrants - what are our relationships with First Peoples? So it's an auto-critique as well, in my own specific ethnic community.; I am interested in our relationship as immigrants, to First Nations People. There's a lot of Koreans curious as to what's happening on Hastings and Main, the most traumatic, tragic result of colonialism. But they still don't really understand/really comprehend where they've landed in terms of Canada, and First Peoples. " I mean when they go to Hastings and Main, at Carnegie Centre they see "drunken Indians". And they have this vision, but without the historical analysis, of the First Nations people being completely marginalized, 117 disenfranchised,. They just feel pity for them, or have disdain for them. You know, Koreans don't understand because they are so busy trying to make their own place here that they don't understand the context in which their survival is dependent on colonial past and present. And that's ongoing. And my intentions of placing the Korean subject in front of the canoe and the totem poles back here, in the distant background, is to ask, what is our relationship to these inherited representations? I'm not about to say, well I know that Emily Carr was participating in a salvage paradigm because she just painted artifacts ecetera, ecetera. I'm not going to make grand statements like that, but I'm willing to say here's a representation that we've inherited. What's our position now, as it concerns contemporary First Peoples? And, that's one of the conversations I would like to have in the Korean community. I'm the next generation, so it is my responsibility now that my immediate interests are not only economic survival, to bring these questions back to the fold of my community. The process of colonization binds the Korean-Canadians here and the First Nations as marginalized people. I think colonialization politics and affinities between communities are very important. I've been very interested in Korean people supporting land claims and working with First Nations Groups for their right to sovereignty. When I look at First Nations' struggles it's still so much about also just the most basic struggles for economic determination in a colonized land. And, it's very different, so I don't want to collapse it, but of course you can have alliances and support. But, it is not to prioritize and say, well then, First Nations issues are much more important than various other kinds of struggles in this country for people of color or immigrants. But, there is a difference. They are the first peoples, and I think Koreans must address that. She is very aware of the complexities of colonization: It should be remembered that the Korean community is diverse. Even though the first wave of Korean immigrants did suffer very difficult kinds of conditions economically, even i f they were professionals they were working and doing menial kinds of jobs; janitors, I mean tons of people with Ph.D.s doing things like that. Working in grocery stores, my family worked in the grocery stores. My aunt worked in the cannery. My cousin . still works at the cannery just down here from my house, you know? It was hard. But the new wave of Korean immigration really is a very prosperous, - the entrepreneurial class from Korea. And they have a very different relationship to that kind of sensitivity to the hardships. So there is a big schism in our communities as well. It is not just one thing. I can't quickly then say, well you know, we're in alignment because I think Korean. 118 For me it is central that they bring that [the interrelationship of cultures] to critical consciousness. I don't like to think of my art as directly influential, or instrumental in these problems, but it is a way to dialogue about difficult issues and I'd like to start - as a catalyst. (Interview, 1997) Intervention in Myth and Icon Yoon posits another layer of cultural diversity, broadening the definition of place, by boldly proclaiming in A Group of Sixty Seven that Asian-Canadians, in particular the Korean-Canadian community, are a part of the Canadian landscape. In placing the figures in front of the landscape paintings, 'front and centre' from where they were previously excluded, partially obliterating through imposition two of the most cherished icons in Canadian art history, she presents a visual statement that declares a presence that must be recognized. According to Arnold (1996) in the catalogue essay for topographies, the appearance of disjunction "raises questions regarding the exclusions that underlie a conception of Canadianness, naturalized in part through a specific imaging of the land" (p.. 14). By positioning the Harris painting in the background, she places its ideas and formal presence in the past, stating that those ideas of nationalism, gender, class and race of which they are symbolic (Hill, 1995; Watson, 1991) can no longer be elitist and exclusive but must be a part of a much wider cultural perception. In the Carr painting, the forest and village, and in the Harris painting, the mountains and lake, are the embodiment of the myths of unpeopled wilderness which are then subverted by the placement of people in the picture. Even though there is a village in Carr's work, it is diminished to gray rectangles and uncarved verticals for poles, so that the details and the richness of the Native impact on those buildings and poles are wiped out through Carr's use of modernist simplification procedures. People do not appear. Rather, the power of that painting is in the oppressiveness of the surrounding forest with regard to the tiny settlement on the beach where the only escape is by water. Harris has i • 119 chosen for his painting a glacial lake as a foreground, and the mountains on either side are simplified into pyramids. They are as cold as ice. In striving for purity of form, Harris has left out traces of human presence. Yoon emphatically inserts people, Korean-Canadians, into both scenes. According to Lai (1998, p. 5), in Yoon's depiction the "individuals in the portraits do not question whether they belong in the Canadian landscape or demand inclusion", but instead, "the sitters' feet are firmly planted on the shores of Lake Maligne and the West Coast respectively, facing inland...the water behind them". They "have arrived" and "have started asking questions about the places they inhabit" (Lai, 1998, p. 5), or as Yoon suggests, their questions concern "the terms of inclusion" (cited in Lai, 1998, p. 6). Yoon's prodding of such questions relating to lived experience is a pedagogical project that empowers the participants by reflecting lived experience to encourage the transformation of a sense of self. The overlap of the superimposed sitter creates a space within the picture plane that negates the illusionism and perspectival elements of the paintings. Photography, as a medium of reproduction, and as employed by Yoon in A Group of Sixty-Seven, questions the traditional reverence afforded the artist/painter's unique vision as privileged producer, while. denying the transparency and naturalization of the scenes depicted in the landscape paintings. To take a photograph of a painting, which conventionally is complete in itself, diminishes the aura (Benjamin, 1968) of the original painting, engendering questions of authenticity and originality. The paintings, as icons and embodiments of art historical conventions, are subverted in the engagement between painting and photography and their art historical and vernacular associations in the construction of meaning. In response to the interviewer stating her perplexity at why the artist chose to photograph the back of the heads, Yoon responds: It is significant that the portraits were taken that way, because if I had everybody facing out from the Lawren Harris and the Emily Carr, it would very much be like landscape format and portraiture. Because of 120 the way photographic representation functions, as i f you know this person now because you've seen an image of them, and how these things in newspapers and magazines circulate photographic meaning for this society; then you don't ask that further question - What's my relationship to them? Why are they turning their back? Because then it is just a portrait of that person in front of the painting and assumptions are quickly made on the part of the viewer. But if I turn - then it is like this is a question mark, this is the pivot where you ask the question. And the whole project for me is questioning. That's the question mark, - why are they doing this? What can you tell from the back of the head? Not an . awful lot. So it is also about the refusal of identity, of easy reading. For me it is about the way that you really can't tell a lot from the photographic representation of a person, on some fundamental level. And then, from there, hopefully to ask, who are these people? I mean, who are they? The name cards are very important; that one panelwith all the names on it that tells you who they are as individuals, because they are, of course, very specific people. Also it is about history. The way this is a perspectival system, with the portrait placed in the center, there is the pushing forth of the subject. And you have the Emily Carr and it is this undulating, enveloping space that adds a temporal dimension - like looking into the past - using the formal structure of the painting to look at past, and future - those kinds of things. Also playing up that kind of the vigorousness, the kind of not violence, but thrust of perspectival systems in the way that I've set it up. (Interview, 1997) Photography as a Construct The highly constructed nature of photographic representation is foregrounded in Yoon's careful staging of these formal portrait photographs. She describes them (Yoon, 1998) as "passport-like" or "official" photographs which honor the sitters' expectations of conventional portrait photography since "many Koreans would have their portraits taken, unsmiling, formal, posed". To help create a bridge between communities. through her pedagogical focus, working closely with members of the Korean-Canadian community, she made conscious efforts to make everyone who participated feel welcome at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Her familiarity with the art gallery, with the Korean-Canadian community, and the trust that the elders and other participants invested in her, were important factors in the enactment of the project. 121 She explores the relationship betweenphotography and painting in her work: A really important part of my work, too, is how we experience many paintings through photographic representation. The way that the Group of Seven and even Emily Carr are continually reproduced in calendars and publications, you know, that's how we experience a lot of painting. In A Group of Sixty-Seven the relationship to painting and photography becomes important here because not many people have their portraits painted any more, it is all photographs. But here, it is in front of the painting. So I've turned the painting into a photograph, you see. That dialogue about the relationship between painting and photography has been happening on the West Coast for a long time. I don't really want to comment specifically on [Vancouver artists] Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace actually. I'm not saying that I'm necessarily sustaining the dialogue on their terms, but that it is not just a casual kind of coincidence that I've made this painting/photograph. I think there are some really, very important theoretical and conceptual maneuvers that are going on when. you do that, engage with that terrain, and I'm conscious of them, that's all. So this is part of my continuing interest in photographic representation and its relationship to painting. It's about historically, how painting has been positioned in Western art history, and now the vernacular language is photography. So I'm engaging on that level. (Interview, 1997) Her interest in vernacular culture and the viewer's participation are important aspects: You have here, this vernacularization of painting that I've presented. I am interested in the dissemination of painting through reproduction and through photography and how that's often collapsed. People think they know the painting because they've seen a photograph, so the difference between the actual painting as an object and the image, has completely collapsed; the way it's been reproduced for calendars for example, or note cards. So that's what I'm self-consciously doing here. It is like turning high art into popular culture; the vernacular culture is something that I'm interested in. And, also, that these are, in fact, real paintings also alludes to the fact that I could have done this digitally, a stand in. It is significant that people are actually at the institution doing their thing, instead of my making a formal portrait at a studio and then just scanning it in. No. That wouldn't do it for me, because I'm not just after the image. I'm after the experience and the process-as part of the work. It is important that these people are actually physically at the site of the exhibition, in front of the actual painting, that I have now made a 122 photograph of. So it's phenomenologicalfy important that their body is in that space as a kind of institutional intervention that was negotiated. I worked with Grant Arnold and the Vancouver Art Gallery it was just perfect, in terms of trying to move through the process in the best way I can imagine. Yoon not only worked with each of the participants, but with the institution and its space: For me this Group of Sixty-Seven is so monolithic and on a certain level I had to make it that, because it was an institutional intervention. I had to - you can't just have, scale wise, these little photographs that are 8" x 10". It is about the way that landscape is constructed; nation. The way I've gridded it out, it's 67, there's seven and then three missing; also the shape of it, ten across, six, seven down, that's horizontal. That's like landscape format; it is also flag. It is nation. It's about this institutional intervention, which, like I said, is negotiated. I. don't see myself being outside, you know, attacking the institution. Not at all. I worked with the institution. Individuals work in institutions that are also interested in change. It can be used in many ways. Some might be more skeptical about why my work has been purchased, all that stuff, but never mind. I'm in good faith that people also want to see structural changes to that particular institution and it's history, but also committed to ongoing discussions of nation. She alludes to the dilemma of nationalism and of global viewpoints that are necessary in the condition of the interrelationships of cultures worldwide At the same time I saw the necessity of scale and intervention, I also saw how L actually don't believe in identity or that monolithic kind of representation of identity. I think that it is almost a contradiction that co-exists. (Interview, 1997) Redefinition of Space In working from within the institution to open it, to subvert elitism, to engage a broader public, and to set an agenda for the recognition of difference in Canadian culture, Yoon's work can be compared with that of American artists Fred Wilson's oblique view of museum collections to bring out the histories of race and racism (Ward, 1995), or British artist Adrian (1996) who recontextualizes the contents of museums to expose them variously as powerful 123 sites of resistance and as complicit in dominant culture and ideology. Yoon acknowledges the pedagogical impact of the gallery, as do other artists and critics (Duncan, 1991; Machida, 1994; Solomon Godeau, 1984, 1991) and "that the gallery not only has material specificity that affects how the work will be seen and by whom but that it is discursively located within ideological structures that define what a gallery is and what objects displayed in a gallery are supposed to mean" (Giroux, 1994, p. 186).. In her redefinition of space, Yoon assumes an empowered, pedagogical stance, working with the institution to produce social practices within it in order to change the meaning of the institution itself. Considering the gallery as an unfixed component of culture, she attempts to redefine the institution "by how people use that space" (Yoon, 1998), in setting up, through her work, new conditions for participation that link communities and encourage pedagogical interactions. If pedagogy is about making connections (Irwin, 1998), Yoon is certainly acting in a pedagogical capacity; she uses the project as a catalyst for teaching and learning. She directs her efforts to the interweaving of cultures, combining the art gallery, as purveyor of dominant culture, with the diasporic immigrant Korean-Canadian community, thus challenging other communities and individuals who have similarly felt dislocated from mainstream society and art institutions. Interact iv i ty and T rans fo rmat ion By employing processes and strategies aimed at interactivity between the artist, the subjects, the viewers, and the knowledge they produce, Yoon engages in pedagogy described by Lusted (1986) as addressing "the transformation of consciousness that takes place in the intersection of three agencies — the teacher, the learner, and the knowledge they produce" (p. 3). Yoon looks to transform the consciousness of the viewer, the subjects of the photographs, and herself (Yoon, 1997). Her aim is to engage in dialogue and exchanges with the 124 issues she raises rather than only the transmission of information or interest in purely formal aesthetics. While inviting the active participation of viewers in the construction of meaning, she acknowledges that each viewer interprets the work through the lens of his or her own experience, knowledge of the questions raised and the contextual framework in which it is presented. The meaning of A Group of Sixty-Seven is therefore unfixed and variable. Yoon (1997) welcomes the multiplicity of audience responses to the work, which, according to Arnold (1996) "explicitly acknowledges multiple responses. Meaning is overtly provisional; a viewer's relationship to the work will clearly depend on who and where they are" (p. 14). In this respect, A Group of Sixty-Seven "emphasizes the on-going process through which identities and communities are formed, and denies the conception of a singular or ideal subject upon which essentialized understandings of identity rest" (p. 14). Her concern with response and engagement with the ideas are an inherent part of her pedagogical stance: On many questions such as national construction or national identity the work doesn't make a direct statement . It operates on very different levels, according to who you are. It is about the individual engaging with the work. And then, on the other hand, I don't really know what it means for people, the individual viewer, or the kind of meanings they derive. Who knows? That's always the curious thing: the way you're trying to make meanings or push for meanings in the viewer. But, once it's out in the world, people come from all different backgrounds. I want to use these icons that are disseminated in very specific ways. So if someone else is in a different body, and from a different background looking at that work they'll get something totally else out of it. If someone- is positioned as "White" in this culture, because I think that is a constructed category given the history of immigration, then, for example, what's your relationship to these Korean subjects, in image? Those are the kinds of things that I'm trying to bring to light, so to speak. For me, there's a visualpleasure and also an emotional response which I am not willing to set aside. I know what it does for me. I think that even if you identify with certain social categories or constructs of identity, I think that there's highly personalized, individual ways that we can engage work. Or not engage work. 125 I want engagement - I don't want the 'right' response, I just want an honest response that people somehow engaged with it.. Iknow my own fantasy, my own ideas of what I want people to get. But I know that's not necessarily the case. And, then there's a whole level of emotional engagement. My work is fairly restrained in some ways, and fairly formal actually because you know the way I've drawn these landscapes here. It is taking fragments and making another kind of thing. So it is kind of a metaphor as well. (Interview, 1997) From a formalist aesthetic point of view, the simplicity of the modular repetition of individual portrait panel elements, punctuated by the rich colours of the pattern of reproduced paintings, and the overall rectilinear grid structure of imposing dimensions, configures a visually elegant work. Seducing the viewer to examine the work more closely, the presentation of the individual portraits considered relationally within the same repeating compositional format brings to the fore variations, subtleties and nuances found in the depiction of character, age, gesture and colour. Exploring details within the perimeters that Yoon sets, the viewer searches for a sense of the character of the individual in each portrait. A layering of visual and symbolic information and the theatre-like staging within the picture plane relating to the whole project, begins to form a 'thick description' (Lightburn & Davis, 1997), that denies the viewer a 'quick read'. Instead, Yoon asks that we interrogate the assumptions that a superficial glance would provide. By piecing together ethnographic details found in visual cues (young or old, traditional dress or t-shirt, etc.), the viewer, from his or her perspective, creates interpretations or imaginative portraits (Lightburn & Davis, 1997) but at the same time is made aware of the limits of interpretation provided by photographic representation of staged portraits and visual constructions. Yoon is aware of the effect on the process of subject formation, and of the pedagogical implications of inviting the viewer to discursively position him/herself to enter into the unraveling or uncovering of the opaque and complex layers of the work. As a result of the positioning of the panels, the viewer who is 126 situated between and visually compares the views of the front and of the back of the subjects, is reflected in the glass of the framed photographs and included as a part of the 'scene'. Thus the tendencies toward transparent interpretations typical of photographic representation of the vernacular and painting icons are revealed as a part of this process. Addressing both personal and public experience, A Group of Sixty-Seven provides a multiplicity of associations, including those to the background paintings and, by extension, to Canada itself. Ken Lum, in a University Art Association of Canada conference lecture concerning his photoconceptual work suggested that "the use of photography provides rhetorical methods as much as they are perceptual". In discussing photography as her medium of choice, Yoon would agree with Lum, adding that she attempts to "engage a wide audience" and "since everyone makes photos in this culture" arid is "conversant with the photographic and video image", these are important "entry points into the work" (Yoon, 1998). Her interest in the vernacular and in making connections with people is evident when she states "I try to reach out to people not trained in art", theorizing that "perhaps this is part of my immigrant background", remembering that, "when I was growing up, people around me were not going to the art gallery" (YoOn, 1998). Unlike most other visiting lecturers to the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design who are invited to speak about their own work, Yoon foregrounds the pedagogical nature of her interests. In reflecting on Ian Wallace's questions relating to the structure and form of her work, she explains that in the time provided "I want to give the students the understanding of where my art comes from, so that they too can search into their experience and history", because "therein lies important subject matter for their art making" (Yoon, 1998). She continues, "students don't.have to look outside of themselves, they just have to look at an old family photograph" (Yoon, 1998). Marian Penner Bancroft in 127 conversation with Yoon agreed with her and suggested that it is difficult to convince students that their own experience is worthy to explore in their art making. In the past two decades, the term 'phptoconceptualism', which describes the project A Group of Sixty-Seven, has been used to represent an art activity for which Vancouver is widely recognized in contemporary art circles. While many artists use the landscape images of Vancouver in their work, for the most part it is an urban/suburban landscape which has rarely addressed concerns, contexts, and specific histories of Vancouver. Rather Vancouver has been used as the "embodiment of Everycity, a backdrop against which the general concerns and problems of modernity are played out" (Lai 1998, p. 2). Except for a few exceptions, such as Wallace's Clayoquot Protest, and the work of Marian Penner Bancroft, Jin-me Yoon is one of a handful of Vancouver photoconceptual artists whose work addresses historical legacies, the politics, subjectivities and questions of cultural difference and their relationships to identity and place. Summary Jin-me Yoon's work takes the point-of-view of a first generation Korea-Canadian artist/pedagogue and addresses itself to the conditions of postmodernity, refuting definitions of 'place' as static locations and challenging idealized notions of fixed identity. She recognizes that it is in cross-cultural interactions and the interplay of histories that places and identities are formed. In her artist statement in the catalogue for her exhibition at the Yokohama Citizen's Gallery (p. 55) in 1995 and quoted with reference to A Group of Sixty-Seven in the catalogue of topographies (p. 9), Yoon states that she is interested in how social relations are shaped and identities formed; "Often Iwork in a way that is 'site-sensitive' and thus I pay attention to the particularities of a place/space and its sedimented stories and repressed histories". In A Group of Sixty-Seven, and many of her other photographic projects, the dislocation of diasporic experience 128 of a visible-minority in British Columbia is foregrounded. With an interest in discursive sites that speak of phenomenological experience, Yoon, using visual language, seeks ways of joining the personal aspect of her lived experience with the public content of social history. A Group Of Sixty-Seven marks a shift from exclusionary practices to an opening up of cultural representation of/by diverse communities in British Columbia. Reference is made in this work to the relationship of painting as a high-art medium to the vernacular and accessibility of the reproductive medium of photography, although both have been used in a variety of ways to promote class and national interests. Historical narratives and conventions of landscape and portraiture representation in painting and photography, in art history and the colonization of Canada, are explored by Yoon to draw attention to some of the conditions of Canada's past and it's self definition as a nation. She believes these must be understood contextually to move forward. We are reminded that all narratives are constructs based on cultural memory, assembled through processes of inclusion and exclusion. Focusing on the interactions and provisionality of minority and mainstream communities that are in flux, Yoon refutes the conception of the stereotype or essentialized understanding of identity. In A Group of Sixty-Seven and in her other projects, Yoon (1998) speaks of "multiple-identities", because for her "fixed identities are not possible; no essentialized identity, no ethnic purity, not origins, not authenticity". As an artist/pedagogue, Yoon insists on respect for difference: I'm not saying that I would want everyone to be homogenous, the same. I think differences are critical to the way we understand each other. But differences- that doesn't mean conflict, difference doesn't mean that it is a psychic or a physical threat. It means that it is different; to respect that and not fear it. 129 There is the desire to not just deconstruct, but to reconstruct possibilities; for the students, my community that I belong to, my colleagues, my own children, everybody.. I think that partly comes from being a teacher. I don't mean any grandiose monolithic vision according to Jin-me, but something that I don't know what it is about and that's just a continual process. Personally, as an artist, but also in culture - it is just ongoing, it is going to change. That's the nature of our lives. The work is concerned with the future. It isn't about saying, look at these past historical injustices and, what are we going to do about them. But it is almost that the past, present, and future exist simultaneously. It is my desire for the future. New identities that aren't so mired in oppression or hierarchy or how we discern 'us and them', that are so divisive and that for me is a critique of binaries; of how we construct man/woman and either/or. Those things are not academic issues. I think they have real life effects on our bodies and our lives. I hope for some other interrelation that isn't based on this kind of dualism, in order to understand me/you, us/them. Something more fluid goes on. And my hope really is that we come closer to that kind of intelligence about how complex and how interdependent our lives are. (Interview, 1997) Yoon's project can be regarded as an intervention which raises questions about the institutional contexts in which the work is shown. Although she subverts our understanding of art history through intervention within the institution, the process of constructing the work was enacted on a community and personal level, and by highlighting the local. The feminist scholar and advocate of critical pedagogy Patti Lather (1991), in describing her own research process, makes reference to "postmodern" and Derrida's "writing under erasure", which for her is "writing paradoxically aware of one's complicity in that which one critiques. Such a movement of reflexivity and historicity at once inscribes and subverts" (p. 10). Similarly, Yoon approaches her work with these conditions in mind, and takes into consideration "how power works via exhibition, observation, classification" (Lather, 1991, p. 15; Foucault, 1980). She comprehends how those systems of power can effect experience and aims, through the pedagogical agency of her work and. its exhibition, to re-invent them. The transformative nature of Yoon's work can be understood in light of 130 work by feminist and postmodern scholars (Becker, 1996; Collins, 1981; Collins & Sandell, 1984, 1996; Culley and Portuges, 1985; 1989; Giroux, 1994; Hicks, 1990; Sandell 1991) who foreground the centrality of the issue of pedagogy to cultural production. By creating narratives using images that "deconstruct stories that appear to tell themselves", Yoon discloses their constructed nature (Lather, 1991, p. 129). Her photo-based projects are "reflexive" in that they bring back into the narrative or artwork, the artist, or "the teller of the tale" as "embodied, desiring, invested in a variety of often contradictory privileges and struggles" (Lather, 1991, p. 129). Her work provides both a critique and an example for the development of alternative theories and practices. It is in this context that Yoon's cultural production asks us to consider the formation of subjectivity, and how identities and places are constructed, challenging us to reflect on her and our own perspective of the cultural landscape of British Columbia, and inspiring us through her pedagogical art practice, to transform pur own conciousness through the creations of new constructions to which we are invited to contribute. 131 V L A W R E N C E P A U L Y U X W E L U P T U N Pa in t ing , Po l i t i ca l A c t i v i s m and L i v ed Exper i ence I cannot celebrate or feel any national allegiance to the Canadian flag while such racist legislation as the Indian Act remains in force: the system Native people are governed under is the despotism of white self-interest. Because of this, a lot of my pieces are historical. You cannot hide the real history or the censorship of Native history, a colonial syndrome. You can hide Department of Indian Affairs documents, but you cannot hide my paintings. They are there for all people to see. (Cited in Land Spirit Power, 1992, p. 220). Lawrence P a u l Yuxweluptun straddles two cultures. A s a contemporary artist and a member of the Coast Sal ish Nation, he creates artwork that reflects and portrays his l ived experience and beliefs that also negotiate between two histories, "the first being the modern/postmodern ....and the second, the tension between the contemporary world and that of the ancient ones" (Houle, 1992, p. 72). Although he did live on a reservation at one time, as a teenager he attended a mult icul tural ly integrated high school i n the Vancouver area, played hockey wi th the local recreational team, and was immersed i n popular culture. Salish stories and dancing were also a part of his formative years. Most important during these years was his immersion i n Br i t i sh Columbia Native politics, i n which his parents were actively engaged wi th efforts to improve conditions for Native people. Yuxweluptun's early exposure to legal documents from the Department of Indian Affairs, especially the Indian Act, which disadvantaged Native people wi th respect to other citizens of Canada, and his parents' involvement i n these issues helped to prepare h im for polit ical activism, and the politics which empower his artwork. 132 Why, asks Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, as an Aboriginal can he not have the rights and privileges of other Canadians, rights that even recent immigrants can enjoy? Why is he treated legalistically and morally as though he were a child and not as an equal in this democratic nation? Why is the classification and description of his identity circumscribed by bureaucrats in the Department of Indian Affairs in Ottawa or the "synthetically-formed", federally sponsored administration system of Indian bands (Crosby, 1991, p. 284)? Why does he have no say, through democratic process, over how spending is allocated on his behalf? Why is he told where he can and cannot live, and have legal ramifications and sanctions a part of the consequence of his decision, even though the land is his? The issue of land underscores many of these questions. In British Columbia, land is the basis of First Nations' history and culture; "land is a teacher in the context of indigenous knowledge and models of experiential education" (Raffin, 1992, p. 4). It is at the core of spiritual beliefs and contemporary political power. It is seen as retribution for the past and as agency for the future. In this postmodern world with complex situations becoming even more opaque and fraught with contradictions, Yuxweluptun presents notions of land that focus on the specifics of 'place' while acknowledging history in order to understand the present. He is clear in his demand for justice in the equation of land and power. In addressing this and other issues, he has chosen art as a vehicle for voicing his opinions and seeking change. As he suggests, Painting is a form of political activism, a way to exercise my inherent right, my right to authority, my freedom. This is real freedom for me. (cited in Land, Spirit, Power, 1992, p. 221) In British Columbia these days, discussions about land attempt to disentangle its meanings and social, political, economic, moral and even spiritual value 133. dimensions, but the question must be asked, "for whom?". Clifford (1998), . suggests also asking questions about the motivations, underlying interpretations, demands for change and the strategies that are employed. Who are the stakeholders and how will they benefit? In a constantly shifting, unbalanced and interactive arena, how can connections be made between environmentalists, resource industries, Native land claims, and tourism in "Super Natural British Columbia" (the province's motto), contextualized within preceding histories that are fraught with legacies of colonialism and capitalist expansion? How do invented traditions or traditions of invention play out in struggles for transformation of individuals and communities? While Yuxweluptun, through his paintings does not give explicit, practical answers to these questions he nevertheless reframes them from a personal perspective of First Nations lived experience and as a artist/spokesperson/pedagogue of his community. Many of these' questions which are inherent in Yuxweluptun's work are courageously confronted by him in the uneven landscape of political identities. He confronts restricting stereotypes attributed to First Nations' individuals and the assumptions about institutional and paradigmatic frameworks for First Nations' art by attempting to broaden the traditionally accepted parameters of art, while giving expression to cultural difference. Courage is required because of the complex volatility of identity politics and the quagmire of oppositions which could easily attach barriers to the efforts of an individual Native artist "making a stand" on stony ground, attracting criticism from many sides. I'm just documenting an example of what it is like on a day-to-day basis living as an urban Indian, or sitting on a reservation, and having to deal with this system. And, you know, it kind of gets trying. It gets trying - of people who keep saying that this is a beautiful country. It boils down to whose freedom, whose democracy are we talking about? 134 His rhetoric is inflammatory and intentionally disquieting as audiences are provoked to examine their own ambivalent feelings in response tb mixtures of showmanship and truth. Do we hate the work for its awkward drawing, garish colours, unorthodox abandonment of the parameters of visual traditions and his laying of blame? Or do we love it for its audacity, bright colour, dramatic narrative, smorgasbord of Native and Western visual styles, 'comix' references that represent reality in ways that make it palatable, even humorous? Some viewers feel angry, perceiving an insult or accusation; others are "on side" for what is unjust, insupportable and needs to be exposed; but there's no denying that Yuxweluptun's work has impact. The responses and reflexivity generated by his lecture/discussions/performances and his artwork are seized by him as pedagogical moments in encounters with his audience. In this way his performative work aligns with what feminist, postmodernist, and reconstructionist scholars suggestion for postmodern pedagogy (Elfand, Freedman & Stuhr, 1996; Giroux, 1991; Giroux & Shannon, 1997). He encourages an interactive relationship through his artwork and in his lectures wherein the viewer is jolted, nurtured, or nudged, out of complacency, to ask questions, to reconsider viewpoints, and to be reflexive about why we think the way that we do. . Discourse and Pedagogica l Strategies Yuxweluptun struggles to be considered an artist outside of conventional boundaries of mainstream modernism in art and distinct from stereotypical expectations of contemporary "traditional" Native art in Canada. Through his paintings, positioned within the legitimating frame of art institutions, he makes a place for himself within contemporary art discourse, to give voice to the realities, hardships and spirituality of his culturally hybrid lived experience. His work is an important contribution to the social enquiry into representation and the politics of difference. By destabilizing conventions, styles and traditions that often cloak the social, political and economic objectives of the dominant 135 culture to the detriment of others, he unmasks issues and presents opinions that in the past have been systematically excluded from representation. In his critique of racism and environmental concerns, for example, he directs attention to the colonizers' greed and their power "to pollute, physically and morally, both the colonized and themselves" (Townsend-Gault, 1992, p. 7). His politically motivated art practice is a way to present his views on Native sovereignty and land use, "to assert his right to the land that is being destroyed. He is painting not landscapes but land claims" (Townsend-Gault, 1992, p. 7). Yuxweluptun puts it this way: To understand the present, I must speak of the past. You have to start with your history, even though you can't go back with tradition. I mean, you can't go back to those days. In making art now, you can't go back now with the traditions of traditional poles and say, by the way, we forgot to do this because it's part of history of ourselves. Like anything in history, people write their own history the way that they want to glorify it. So I thought I'd be honest and paint it now, as I see it, so that history wi l l remember it. He has many influences, both contemporary and historical: I listen to what Bob Marley has to say in his music, I listen to I Had a Dream speech, I watched Indira Gandhi, I looked at Sitting Bull , Geronomo, Chief Capilano, Wounded Knee, Oka. I remember reading speeches as a child on reservations with my Dad, legal documents. I remember looking at what was around me - the ozone, as a problem, is a world event. Sitting on a reservation, I'm not going to be their scapegoat. I research a lot of my stuff before I do anything. I go out and do some fishing in the winter, some hunting, some trapping sometimes. I like to go out to the libraries and do some research. I like to pick up the newspaper. I like to watch the news, to watch the events as they happen. I like to photograph paintings, different paintings from around the world or different art objects. I go to the art shows in town. I go to some of the Indian meetings. I go to pow wows. You know, art is art. Life is culture. Art is culture. Life mimics culture, so you participate within all of those things. I don't think that you could sit around, be in one room, and paint every day, and say that you're participating with culture. Participation is vital to his work and to his role as an artist 136 I've read the Nisga'a agreement, that's research. I go to lectures and I participate in lectures, I talk to people, I talk to the public, I give lectures. So that's research. No, I don't think you can sit in one room. As an artist, I think you should be everywhere, you should take the time out to be in life. I'm an artist, just because I don't carve, doesn't mean that I'm not a Native artist. I am an artist. We live in a modern world, and a modern world means that we have to get on with things. But, i f we want to get it on, let's get it right, rather than going back. You know, this government has been so oppressive that it even scares the life out of non-Native artists to say something, and that's a lot of power. I have nothing to lose. I want people to feel, to taste what it is like to suffer, instead of standing in front of that totem pole having their picture taken. Aboriginal people have paid dearly for that. Colonialism's Legacy of Racism In Yuxweluptun's paintings, although there are hints of salvation and recovery, the anger, frustration, cynicism and often destabilizing views, describe conditions today from a Native perspective. They reveal the reality of the situation, disrupting complacency, demanding another look at the injustices of colonization including the appropriation and mistreatment of Aboriginal land. The newcomers believed that the wilderness was there for the taking and, along with "primitive" people who were considered "savages", was theirs to control. Through conflation of these beliefs, in order to force assimilation, racist policies were enacted to undermine Native people and ultimately eliminate Native culture. The Indian Act of 1868 and its amendments, which officially set out the terms of the relationship between the Government of Canada and the Native people; the segregation of Natives on reservations, the control of education, and even the appointment of chiefs by bureaucrats of the Department of Indian Affairs in Ottawa, are key documents in the patronizing and racist legislation of colonial efforts to subdue and control. Yuxweluptun says "Let's face it, this country was built on racism" (cited in Shier, 1998, p. 50). 137 Look at my status card or section 91-24 of the Constitution; ' in care of, 'a ward of the Crown'- I'm a property of the Crown. I'm under a separate citizenship of Canada" (cited in Shier, 1998, p. 50) Although I was born in i957, I'm first generation public school, so that can give you an indication of, in terms of the Indian Act, the supremacy over Aboriginal people. That's a lot of power, to say that it's 1997 and I'm first generation public school. Yuxweluptun's paintings focus on the social/political struggles that Native people encounter i n day-to-day experiences on reservations, off-reservation, as urban Indians, and as citizens of the world. H u m a n rights and reconciliation, both of which are closely aligned wi th questions regarding land use and issues of sovereignty for Natives, are at the forefront of his concerns and fuel his sense of cultural empowerment. Yuxweluptun considers his position wi th in Canadian society not simply as a site of privation but as a space of resistance - a space of radical possibility and artistic activism: I want to expose hate-mongering towards Native people. My chief and the Department of Indian Affairs aren't going to solve it - the racism that exists in this country. I wanted to talk to the outside world because we weren't talking to it. We were being told how and what to think as Aboriginal people. How much hate wil l my children have to grow up with? And their children's children? If I don't say something now, if somebody doesn't say something now, then we just allow it. I'm tired of. preserving. I want to project this as a reality - show it for what it is. I'm not'there', in terms of world art, because it won't allow my voice. This is pure supremacy. They don't want to hear, people don't want to hear how they oppress people, how they oppress Aboriginal people as Canadians. Yuxweluptun's search for freedom from oppression is fundamental to his ideas and to his art: I challenge the system. This [the Vancouver Art Gallery] was a closed door, so I wanted to kick it in and go in here. In terms of world art, in terms of Aboriginal art and calling it primitive, in terms of culture or the world - this work challenges all of those things. You know, I've never been on television or on radio; that voice has been smothered. That voice has been taken away. That voice is controlled. It is really hard to say things freely because, as a minority, you don't have that power base to say those things. I don't have anything to lose, so I say it all. Look at the Indian Act and the laws that I'm governed under, art has no rules, there 138 are no rules to art. As a social discourse, I can attack Native art as much as I can attack Western culture He suggests that Native artists have a choice: It's a choice, do you pick up a paint brush, or pick up a pen, or do you pick up a gun? You know, that is a choice. What is the most powerful weapon that you can use? What is the freedom, the power of freedom of expression, where do you place it? The Land and Its Importance Not satisfied to only document life and 'record history' as he experiences and understands it, the messages i n his allegorical teachings, through his paintings and slide-lecture/performances, are about the importance of learning to love the land as he does. He attempts imbue i n others the Native belief i n the existence and power of spir i tual anima i n the land and a l l l iv ing things. These paintings...., it's about teaching people to love this land. I don't want them to feel like, 'Oh well, I destroyed it. Let's all go home'. That's not good enough. You may swear allegiance to your flag, your country, or to the almighty buck, to whatever you may want, but i f you don't love this land, you become a problem. You become a problem to my ancestral being. It's only a few Indians who say- let's just get on with the business of what we're doing. Where does it lead? What is the direction? What accountability in real time, in terms of human beings? I want to show, and teach, and share and give why is it that I have this much love for this land. Although it is reeking with decay and destruction, I 'll still love it. You can't take that away. You can oppress, but you can't break me. You'll have to stick a gun down my throat before I wi l l give patronage. I may not be a free man, but I wi l l not bend. And I wi l l not deter from that position. I wi l l not wait for Greenpeace to say something. A l l I'm saying is that I want to teach. If you listen to that man in Powell River, and MacMillan Bloedel, what is it really going to get you in society? How are you going to benefit from 500 years of land being unfit for human consumption? He expresses his ideas through his art to teach the public: Thousands and thousands of children come to see this work in the Vancouver Art Gallery and enjoy it. And I give them really good color, and I give them a really good insight into this ecosystem. A picture tells 139 a thousand words. They can tell, they can see for themselves, and they . are going to make their own decisions. I feel, if you educate the young, they have that opportunity. Legends, Symbols and Polemics in Art Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun's teaching is informed by his belief in the educative power of symbolic imagery. It also represented in his belief in the capacity of the Native narrative tradition to transform understanding (Cordero, 1995). "Yuxweluptun is doing with paint what the Salish have always done with words -through oratory and allegory picturing the meaning of their universe; telling stories" (Townsend-Gault, 1995, p. 13). Salish oral, performative and visual traditions and conventions, as well those borrowed from other Northwest Coast nations are translated by him into art. Yuxweluptun's art practice creates new hybrid legends. He interweaves and juxtaposes Northwest Coast symbols and cultural strategies, including parody, and strategic withholding (or only partial telling), Western art historical conventions and techniques, and popular culture. These are galvanized to expose in his 'legends', the unwillingness of Canadian modernist landscape painting to engage with the real social landscape. According to Watson (1995), Yuxweluptun's work "searches through the archive of Canadian images and dispels illusions", especially those "that have built up over the years based on the relationship between the land and nationhood" (p.61). In the lessons on social history embedded in his paintings, and in discussions forcefully decrying the legacies of racism and oppression which Native people have endured in British Columbia, he makes little distinction between non-Native audiences and government powers that are responsible for the condition of Native people in the province. However, his appeal, enacted through his pedagogical art practice in which he calls for a transformation of attitudes, is addressed to both Native and non-Native communities, alerting them, and admonishing them to change. 140 While Yuxweluptun's "polemics are inflammatory" and his stance is that of a "warrior" (Shier, 1998, p. 49), he embraces the value of dialogue i n his role as an agent of change. While he proclaims to be interested i n "the Indian problem", he acknowledges that connections and interrelationships between individuals and communities are crucial. Environmental problems, for example, "aren't about aboriginal issues"; they concern everyone, (cited i n Shier, 1998, p. 54). Usufructuary Landscape (1995) In an interview i n 1997 at the Vancouver A r t Gallery, Lawrence P a u l Yuxweluptun spoke about the painting Usufructuary Landscape (1995) which was a part of the exhibition Emily Carr and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun on view at that time. As you can see, the landscape has become a Native land - an imagery. The images that are involved within the spaces become a new symbolism for colonial renderings in terms of land claims, of the overlapping of territories of space. This type of work is about possession of land. When we look at the land, it is Indian land, it is a landscape, an Indian landscape. And I think that this Indian landscape transforms European language of art into an understanding of the ideologies of Aboriginal People, - that this is Native land. It's never been ceded and it's never been surrendered. They are in negotiations now on land claims so it is about the usufruct landscape; in its legal terms, the usufructuary right. [Usufruct is defined in the Random House Dictionary of the English Language (Urdang, 1969, p. 1449) as the right of enjoying all the advantages derivable from the use of something which belongs to, another]. So I was dealing in a modern sense of time, space, place. This is in the northwest coast, so the colors are set within a time, space and place, and the symbols of people holding onto the land or even holding onto their water rights, fishing rights. When we start to decipher what you're actually seeing, you can see a man swimming in the water. So, where does Aboriginal rights stop and where does it start? It's about everything, it's about being or inherent right? There's a lot too, in terms of its symbolism, but at the same time, to the audience it maybe is just a landscape to them, so they can read it that way. But you have all these Native images at the same time, symbolic of trees, or even symbolic of human occupation of space and place, which is the Natives, with first 141 occupations of land. The painting becomes a land claim painting. So that's what this painting is about, if that helps you. The figures, they're Natives. There's a red man holding onto the water, there's the symbols of the water and that attachment to the water, to the land. Right now they are attached to the water and the fish. It's in the West Coast and they are swimming in the ocean. Very simple. There are others standing in place, in time. It's their symbol simultaneously - some in motion, some standing, some holding, some clinging - it's a symbol of space. In speaking about his relationship to the nation and the land, his thinking is related to the ideas of Native educator, Cordero (1995) who states that Native languages "suggest conditions and qualifies humans, always in the context of others and in the context of the environment or nature" (p. 34). Yuxweluptun's hybridized visual language and his statements support that theory. I think you can call it British Columbia, you can call it Canada, but it is still Indian land. There is nothing in the Indian Act that says you have the right to brainwash me and this is a feeling that I have. It's still my inherent right to being, and believing, and feeling in the love for my land. So I place these images within that context as well - that the environment is a part of me, and I'll never surrender that. He introduces into art and education discourse, ideas similar to those of Native educator Stan Wilson (1995) who argues that Native beliefs and values "that kept our ancestors in harmony with our environment" should be remembered (p. 69). Wilson (1995) asks probing questions, "Is this spiritual? Can we teach it?" (p. 69). He urges nevertheless, that efforts be made in "teaching of these things" and in acknowledging "the help of our ancestors in our writings and in our research so that another side of the story", of history, past and present "could be heard" (p. 69). Yuxweluptun presents a contemporary story that is mindful of his ancestors and of other ways of knowing that Townsend-Gault (1992) suggests is manifested in Native "artists' working through of their spiritual relationship to the land, to show that 'land' and 'spirit' are not really separate terms" (p. 76). 142 Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun Usufructuary Landscape 1995 acrylic on canvas 60x84 inches figured (top) Toxilogical Enchroachment of Civilization on First Nations Land 1992 acrylic on canvas 96x216 inches figure 4 (bottom) 1 4 1 The Salish have a philosophy of spiritualism with the earth that is a part of being, and so that's why I have used human figures to express that form. At the same time, there can be this sacred space for all living things, of animals and their right to exist. In terms of extermination of animals and space, colonialism has been very successful. We have a different relationship with the land. Usufructuary Landscape is about how much space are we going to have for animals and with human beings, in contact. The encroachment of civilization is coming just over the mountain into very, very remote regions where no humans live. You can see the clear cuts in the brown spaces squared off with big lines. Probably you could look at logging companies that give this type of landscape its rendering. I document the land around us, that's what that painting is about. In terms of space garbage, land garbage, you're looking at what is happening to the realities of time, place, space. The world has forced me to deal with land as a concept. In terms of the question of landscape, I've had to create the manifestos of working to record symbolism, new symbolism and to render those equations, to this time. So that's what it is about, it is about looking at a mirror of one's self. Toxicological Encroachment of Civilization dn First Nations Land (1992) In an interview at the Vancouver A r t Gallery, Yuxweluptun described the painting Toxicological Encroachment of Civilization on First Nations Land (1992), that was on exhibit at the time. This large painting, addressing environmental concerns and land use which according to L ippard (1997) "are at the heart of the most controversial aspects of Native culture today" (p. 172), was included i n the Nat ional Gallery of Canada exhibition Land, Spirit, Power i n 1992. When we talk about toxic waste, I thought I'd have two White people as welcoming figures to Canada, so that it is a true rendering of colonialism as I see it - it is never accountable for its actions, when it has supremacy and superiority. One of his major concerns is the pollution of the environment: This painting is about this encroachment, and the toxicity [left by] MacMillan Bloedel, Crown Zellerbach, different types of multi-144 nationalisms that have no accountability to environmentalism. This is pure - when you get nothing for nothing you beget nothing. Now there's the big hole in the sky, the big ozone. We talk about all the glory of a land and Canada, but I find big huge garbage dumps, big huge destruction, pulp mills, and the monetary wealth structure of colonialism: this is all totalitarian, empirical, capitalistic, death pig. Well, as soon as they finish destroying this land here, they can get on their planes and they can go back to Europe, or Japan, or where ever, where they live, somewhere else. Multi-nationalists don't live in very, very remote regions where the Aboriginal people live, or in the environments that are being destroyed. He asks a number of angry questions: Whose democracy, whose accountability, whose power are we talking about? When you get nothing for nothing, I go back to that all the time. They don't really give a shit because they are there to make a buck. If I take monetary wealth and throw it on the ground, no monetary system wil l bring back a biosphere. When the money is in the bank and your eco-system is dead, where are the men that created it, this mess? There's no accountability to anything when you safe-guard share-holders. Society is destroying my ancestral land in front of my face. He continues his description of the painting: My art is true to the tradition of recording monumentalism as it exists. This is a monumental painting to deal with monumental things. That's what I wanted to look at; acid rain, everything, the whole onslaught of what is happening to Aboriginal people as we sit on reservations. Do I enjoy watching colonialism? You see the human head sticking its tongue out and dying? Colonialism is fading dramatically, look at the biosphere, the livable human occupation of space. Look at Aboriginal people, colonization is saying, sit on your little less than one percent reservations and rot. Can I sit there and take it? Can I sit there and enjoy it? This painting is a language to talk to the outside world. I think the world should look at itself as a colonial regime. It is not a pretty picture. Although Yuxweluptun demands accountability, he also invites conciliation: "we have survived - now it's time for Canada to grow up" (cited i n Shier, 1998, p. 51). He extends his conviction toward the reconstruction of relationships and identities, i n ways that encompass Native perspectives integrating nature and culture i n order to help sustain the health of the land for a l l people. A s one critic says, i n Yuxweluptun's paintings the "Rescue of the earth must be preceded by 145 < rescue of its inhabitants, culture reintegrated with nature" (Townsend-Gault, 1995, p. 19). Dialogic approaches engaging audiences/viewers to consider problems and solutions concerned with the environment are used to encourage awareness and promote responsible, ethical actions that are respectful of others. Hybr id i t y , Cu l t u r a l Identity and Pedagogy Yuxweluptun's ethnographic visual portraits of the Native people and troubled land, reflecting the social/politics conditions in need of change, translate across cultures. His reflexive paintings, imprinted with his own lived experience of immersion in Native and Western culture and politics, combine recognizable stylistic forms and iconography of Northwest coast Native art, Western art conventions, and popular culture references. Bridging strict separations, these hybrid paintings seek to challenge popular expectations about style and subject matter in contemporary Native art, and to promote fluid interchanges between people and cultures. He describes this new hybridity and its challenges: I'm not doing Indian art. I'm just doing art. I'm translating Native culture into another culture simultaneously in new symbolism. If people have a hard time looking at this, they should, because it is something that they really don't want to look at. It is because they have separated and segregated us from everything. So, I've had to translate this linguistics, this language, this culture - translate it into Western philosophy, Western space. Northwest Coast art has always been surreal. I took it out of its Northwest Coast traditional concept of putting it on wood, or carving it, or, putting it on paper. I've translated it into this time in history. I've modernized it, put it up to date. I came here to the Emily Carr Art School and I appropriated everything. All I was doing was translating Native culture, Native philosophy on to canvas. You may call it surrealism. I may call it neo-symbolism. I see those things in my mind, but in terms of culturally translating the painting into another culture, in terms of euro-isms, this painting is very symbolic, with new symbols, new Native symbols. It is not neo-classicalism, but about symbols and dealing with a present time. 146 In recent interdisciplinary contact zones of cultural practices, Yuxweluptun's practice coincides with other partial, located and situated postmodern disciplines and practices that eschew presumed value-free neutrality in their desire to produce modes of cultural criticism. Embracing interpretation/translation arid the notion of "no guaranteed or morally unassailable positions" (Clifford, 1997, p. 87), Yuxweluptun's politically focused painted narratives about culture contend for the term 'ethnography'. Anthropologist James Clifford (1997), or critic Stuart Hall (1990) argue for an extension of ethnographic practice across other disciplines outside of anthropology. Art critic Hal Foster (1996) claims that the crisis in anthropology with regard to assimilation, appropriation and representational practices has encouraged anthropologists to look more closely at art theory and practice. He also suggests that there is a reciprocity of influence since the work of many contemporary artists, particularly those from minority groups involved in cultural critique, employ ethnographic strategies to interpret/translate and present/perform their perspectives. Foster (1996) describes the artist as ethnographer, who like Yuxweluptun, represents and articulates personal and community experiences to negotiate connections across cultures. With his work as a catalyst for dialogue about issues related to place and identity, Yuxweluptun is engaged in the practice of pedagogy, as a spokesperson and leader linking communities. Other artists venturing into the field work of postmodern cultural anthropology "in which theory and practice seem to be reconciled", and pedagogy include Mary Kelly or Fred Wilson who, with a critical focus, "draw on the participant-observer tradition", and who employ "a narrative tense that favors the ethnographic present" (Foster, 1996, p. 181). In his essay the Artist as Ethnographer, Foster (1996) claims that anthropology, "the prized science of alterity" that "aspires to the fieldwork in the everyday", shares the demand of artists today to "take culture as its object" (p. 182). Recent 147 migrations and movements across cultures and geographies render definite spatial practices such as patterns of dwelling and traveling less relevant in anthropological field work than in the past. (Clifford, 1997) argues for sociocultural anthropology to become more fluid. He proposes a renegotiation of practice from previously defined sites and temporalities; from insistence in field work on "leaving home", and "its inscription within relations of travel that have depended on colonial, race, class, and gender-based definitions of centre and periphery"; and from previous definitions of "cosmopolitan and local" (p. 87). In art, following the work initiated by artist Robert Smithson in the 1960s, similar renegotiations in practice and theory that are likewise sensitive to the postmodern and feminist Concerns are taking place. Shifts from a focus on medium and form, to interest in institutional frames, to discursive networks (Kwon, 1997) that overlap sociological and anthropological 'journeys', opens possibilities of interactive participation by new audiences encompassing a broader range of 'territory' (Clifford, 1997). In an interchange of anthropology and art, in Kwon's (1997) analysis of non-spatial discursive sites for art aligning with Clifford's (1997) notion of non-physiographical 'fieldwork', anthropologists or artists could investigate the shifting locations of their embodied practices, their own life or "homework as autobiography" rather than "fieldwork" (Clifford, 1997, p. 88). This approach is appealing, particularly for those artists, like Yuxweluptun, who find it important to claim their authority over cultural identity by using transformative flexible practices for self-representation. Crosby (1997) underscores the value of such flexibility in her statement that "prescriptive definitions and fixed rules can confine" Native artists to a reductive "difference" which excludes the actual, specific and "historical differences" (p. 27). Burying the Face of Racism (1996) Yuxweluptun's painting Burying the Face of Racism (1996), which he completed shortly after his journey to major European cities, was included in the 148 Vancouver Art Gallery's 1996/1997 exhibition Emily Carr and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. The painting takes on the epic dimensions of a European history painting that Yuxweluptun saw on his travels. Displayed in the central rotunda of the Vancouver Art Gallery, one of the few spaces in the building that could accommodate its large dimensions, it dominated the core of the gallery. During the interview with the artist, several groups of school children were viewing the painting which loomed large and imposing in the otherwise serene, elegant architectural space. He commented on the large number of people who see the painting and the potential effects of pedagogical encounters and public interaction with the work. As an artist/pedagogue, his work helps to redefine the space of the Vancouver Art Gallery as a pedagogical site. Employing pedagogical and aesthetic strategies the paintings encourage viewers to 'see', 'hear' and 'feel' what he is trying to convey. Yuxweluptun describes the work and its ideas this way: This painting is about racism, and the treatment and the history of racism, that Aboriginal people have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Even when I travel, and when I'm at home, even to be here [at the Vancouver Art Gallery], there were quite a few closed doors. What do I do? Where do I go to bury racism? When you're confronted with it all the time, how do Aboriginal people deal with it? It's like a big, bottomless pit. I thought I'd put it into a colored box of racism, we get racism from all cultures, so I made it a colored box of colored racism that Aboriginal people have been receiving. This painting is a monumental painting about racism. I think racism is so big, why not give it its grand space,how I feel how big it is. If we get this type of treatment, it's a really big space that I have to use to bury this racism in my mind. It's a very personal painting. It's really funny that people feel, or they make each other feel that - 'what are you even doing here'. Why is it that the color of my skin irks their feelings, that they don't even want me to be in their sight? I'm on my own land, where am I suppose to go? Yuxweluptun's paintings integrate personal and public solutions to bury racism and the hate associated with it: 149 This is how I deal with it -1 bury it. I'm a free person, I choose to be free. This is what it is about - that's something (freedom) that is not in the Indian Act. I can give a lot of examples of what it is like - even while I was doing this painting, or even in the history of being. When I was in Europe traveling, that's where I sketched this piece, when I was traveling abroad, I wanted to go and find out why Europeans hate Aboriginal people so much. Why is there this big hate? What is the big hate of racism on Aboriginal people? Where do they get this righteous position that the color of some body's skin is more important than other people. In terms of a status quo, a status Indian, why do we have status Indian and non-status Indian? Why do we have a non-status human being? That's racism. There's all kinds of that activity that I have to deal with. So yeah, I'm recording it. He talks about the pervasive nature of racism: I went over to Europe, and I was with my girlfriend and I said, you know, I've been traveling in London, I've been in Paris, I've been in Rome, and every country that I had gone through I'm getting racism from these people. I was saying, well, at least I'm not homesick. At least they make me feel like I'm at home. That's what it is about - is that I don't have to travel abroad to be belittled. I could stand right here in downtown Vancouver, and have people mocking me. I mean, sure, freedom - the right to be racist is a given in this country. So that's what this painting is about, it is about racism and recording it. Why should I hide it? That's what it is about - show it. If Canadians are going to be racist towards Aboriginal people, and bigots, then I wil l show them that they are racists. And, why not? How much hate is necessary? He points out the particular aspects of the painting: The other thing about the painting is, forest - huge forest. I chose a space in my mind because I believe that we should look after monumental forests. The painting has a Native design on the ground, [symbolizing] an inherent right; that possession is mine. That's the reality and so that's why the symbolism is on the ground. This painting is about the spirit, the green man, with the four directions in his body, the four winds, - all that this symbolism does. The man in the middle, the black man is a self-portrait. The transformation of a bear to a man is the spiritual identities of another Native person, a being. The other figure is a Native woman, and she's there walking with me and we're in this burial setting. We're going to bury this face. It is a funeral of racism. 150 He confronts the viewer/student, inviting them to pedagogically engage in intercultural questions, in deconstructing Native symbols, in the injustice of racism and concern for the environment, compelling viewers to explore their own wisdom and morality and what they might do about it. When you come here to the Gallery, you can't turn this painting off. You can't hide. The only thing that you can do is walk out of this room. You have a choice. And, it's the same thing in terms of that space [of the painting and of the environment that it symbolizes]. Yuxweluptun makes use of his own situated knowledge (Haraway, 1991) to deflect "the gaze that mythically inscribes, that claims the power to see and not be seen; that represents while escaping representation" (p. 188). .The painting makes evident that cultural difference can no longer be thought of as a stable, exotic otherness; self/other relations are a matter of power and rhetoric rather than of essence. In the interview he talked about oppression in colonialism, anthropologists, white attitudes to the Indians, and the impact of'race rage' on his ideas: It is very painful, it is very destructive, it is very hateful to see that much hate, to paint pictures of hate of Aboriginal people. But that's life. It is like a mirror. You go "click" let's just turn it around and look at yourselves for just one day, and see what you're really like. Colonialism doesn't allow that, it has never written anything in its history books. Even modern art, in art history, was very racist; ethnic groups became very 'primitive'; anything other than their own culture was considered 'primitive', and I find that very racist. That type of racism has to be dealt with. It's important to approach it differently. It is all part of having a manifesto; that philosophy of reversing things; to turn it around and let them look at themselves, let them look at what they do to other people. I was tired at looking at anthropologicalism of Indians. I thought I would reverse it, and take a look at colonialism and look at White society. Do the same thing in reverse. As an individual, I pick it apart, and cut it open and dissect it. 152 Do I allow homogenization to speak on my behalf? No! I'm not going to take a back seat to Shadbolt or Emily Carr who was no different than any anthropologist - in overall terms, she doesn't come up smelling like roses. We don't need Indians any more, with Carr and Shadbolt. It is appropriation. And there we go again, as if nothing is named until a White man finds it. Nothing has a name until a White man names it. You don't have to go to the Amazon, you don't have to go to these really very, very remote regions to look at oppression. I think a turning point for me was watching the James Bay agreement. I think, a turning point in life was watching a lot of, 'the only good Indian on television was an Italian Indian', and 'the only.good Indian was a dead Indian' - the total race rage of Hollywood to romantically exterminate. Even today there's that kind of hatred. To go to a public school and have that much hatred, being a first-generation public school student, why does colonialism have that much race hate for the color of my skin? Art Historical Connections Yuxweluptun's work and its pedagogical focus articulates connections between symbols, narratives and conventions of Native and Western art historical legacies, constructing l inks between individuals and communities. In re-visioning those legacies and i n attempts to construct paths across cultures, "Traditions are invoked and conjunctions formed to create mult iply located, new hybrid forms that are itineraries" (Clifford, 1997, p. 11), journeys rather than destinations. These new forms offer didactic allegories of how cultural power circulates throughout history and the present. They have the potential to move Yuxweluptun's poli t ical and pedagogical projects into the consciousness of audiences i n the dynamic, shifting social, cultural, political, and economic landscapes of Br i t i sh Columbia. Yuxweluptun's concern is w i th the present reality: It's more important to look at recording of history of Aboriginal people of right now; which has a present reality, which is not a legend of two hundred, three hundred, four hundred, five hundred years ago. Those days are dead, those were killed... In terms of legends and the world, the old Indian legend of the thunderbird coming down and catching a killer whale with his poisonous claws; those legends are dead. That culture is dead. And, harping on, continuing to homogenize that type of culture or trying to bring back something that was taken away, that's only looking 153 at a monetary structure of culture and craft. I don't participate within that concept; it really doesn't preserve culture, it may put money in carvers' pockets, but it doesn't mean anything to an Indian sitting on a reservation. It doesn't mean anything to an Indian uptown, downtown, -most of the time he can't even afford his own culture. Urban Reality and the 'Constructed' Indian Yuxweluptun also considers the place of the Native living in an urban context. You have non-status human beings off reserves, fifty percent of Native people off reserve, and you have different Native cultures within these regions participating in colonialism. In big cities we're not really interested in sustainable culture. Most of them have probably given that up. Most of the Haidas that are here don't practise any cultural reality of true Aboriginal culture, because they're probably on Salish soil and they don't have the longhouses or the spaces to do real culture - same as the Bella Coolas, the Nisga'a, any different tribal groups from the West Coast coming to Vancouver. We're talking about a market which is catered to and sanctioned by government. I think that if they want to play that song and dance, that's fine, but I think that there's certain things I have to look at prior to sitting down and having the joy of being a carver dealing with the romantic cultural heritage of Aboriginal life; to carve a mask and cayay around in public - at the expense of what? Look at Joseph Trutch, James Douglas, McBride - I'm interested in our history from the beginning of European contact to this point now. I don't have time for worrying about my history of the Salish masks, about the designs on the boxes and the Salish coffins, the spindle whorl's images. Those things are all there, I don't have to worry about those things. I'm dealing with the modern history. He is determined to point out his role as an artist within the ambiguities of the present: There is a continuation of heritage and culture. We have longhouses that are active, that are our living history, our living culture. In terms of practicing culture, it's not something that you cayay with inside a gallery. I don't have to do those things. I'm not there for that - I'm not there for this society, to entertain them. them. I want people to look at what they are doing. Why should I give them anything nice and enjoyable, why should I give them anything romantic? Traditional-looking art is sanctioned by government. You know, you have 'Supernatural British Columbia'. You have Aboriginal art at the airport; B i l l Reid, Susan Point, Roy Vickers. It is so sweet that i f I had any more 154 honey in my mouth I would choke. I want to choke the beauty out of Roy Vickers, I want to k i l l the tradition of pure bronze by the Haidas. It is not really directly dealing with the realities of Aboriginal people, and neither is Robert Davidson. They are not saying anything. I know a lot of carvers, I can't blame the carvers for not doing anything - have the markets, to markets they wi l l go. It is very beautiful art but it says nothing - does nothing - doesn't hurt anybody - doesn't bother anybody -looks good - I can put it in my house. I enjoy it. I like it. I love it. You can't beat that. As soon as I'm finished with everything maybe I can go out and do that. He questions the assimilation of Native art into white culture: It is all about the homogenization of culture. If we take the scenario that somebody gets off at the airport and looks at the international work, looks at B i l l Reid's and Susan Point's, then goes over to Stanley Park and stands in front of the totem poles, and takes pictures there, then comes down to the gallery here and looks at Emily Carr and Jack Shadbolt. Then he goes into one of these craft shops, these fast travel shops that symbolizes Aboriginal art made in Asia; appropriates Aboriginal art. That's a pretty big blanket of rhetoric - a lot of window dressing. Let's have all these fronts, let's have the token Indian totem poles in the background of CBC and we really don't need Indians. They've gone around and then they say, well, do we really know Indians? Have we seen an Indian? Does Shadbolt say anything? I doubt it. Rather than relying on Native traditions in art, he projects himself as a contemporary artist facing stereotypes and questioning their premises: I'm a modern Indian. We live in modern times. I am assimilated. Yes, we are an assimilated Aboriginal people. I'm tired of preserving. I want to project this [modern assimilated status] as a reality - show it for what it is. This type of manifesto [for producing art] did not include minorities. It makes people ask- what's going on here? What is this person doing? What does this social discourse mean? What do you mean he is not carving! Get with the program! Hey, I don't have to get with the agenda, cause I don't like the agenda. If an artist doesn't like to open the book of modern art, and be called 'primitive', then he has to challenge their intellect. Modern art stands on its high horse. What is this big white horse that they are sitting on? On the world stage of art, the only artists that wil l be shown wi l l be White males. His comments point out the disjunctions and the pain of racism: 155 Why should an Aboriginal, as a minority, not even feel welcome on their own land? I want people to feel what it is like. I want the world to know what it is like, and I think it should be shown. Why show all these nice beautiful things... There's a lot more chaotic things going on, on reserves, with Aboriginal people than there is beautiful cultural totem poles and that song and dance. The Indian business of Aboriginal people has far more precedence: cultural existence is at stake. Although he is critical of that "song and dance" of tradition with its essentialist definitions that define and maintain the colonial mentality of racial subordination and superiority, Yuxweluptun recognizes tradition as a flexible but strategic element in culture. Native people have always adapted traditions and invention as a strategy for cultural survival. "Tradition can be seen to be a process rather than an end" (Gilroy, 1993, p. 276). According to Watson (1995, p. 70), "like all important art, Yuxweluptun's paintings re-align tradition". Yuxweluptun expands the range of instances and contexts in which we can speak about the terms tradition, art, authenticity, and originality with articulation taking many forms and multiple perspectives. Houle (1982) states that "one of the most important aspects of native cultures [is] the capacity to harness revolutionary ideas into agents of change, revitalizing tradition" (p. 5). Purists might ask, how much hybridity can tradition absorb or take? While Yuxweluptun's boldness of approach is disorienting, questions could also be asked about how his approach differs from that of the artists of the Renaissance who are not accused of inauthenticity over appropriation and translation of representations of other cultures? While Yuxweluptun concedes that there are some traditions that are worth reinventing, he is critical of Native carvers whose reinvention of traditions he considers to be market driven, and whose 'authorship' is "institutionalized within a dominant narrative of cultural modernism that has an ideologically selective memory and a dubious gender, [race, and class] hierarchy" (Decter, 1993). Yuxweluptun's criticism is partially based on his rejection of notions of 156 authenticity that rely on myths of a 'timeless', seamless ahistorical past associated with nature, wilderness and the exoticism of the 'primitive' other. According to him, the work of these carvers capitulates to calculated efforts to undermine and appropriate Native culture, conforming to the "agenda" of those who oppress Native people, and who deflect attention away from oppositional content and cultural critique with its potential to improve living conditions. Adamantly asserting his presence as an artist immersed in Native and mainstream traditions, Yuxweluptun denies stereotypical expectations of native art: of harmony, ahistoricity and established ways of working to produce instead political art that acknowledges history and contends with conflict and everyday realities. "Although culture and tradition are not limiting conditions of identity", for many artists from minority communities "they provide signposts that are claimed by artists" (Nemiroff, 1992, p. 39). In Yuxweluptun's paintings, as well as in his lecture/performances, tradition is about transformative practice or the emergent sites of 'history against the grain' (Benjamin, 1968). He re-inscribes his voice into the cultural centre from the perspective of the margin (hooks, 1984; Houle, 1992; Minh-ha, 1989; Piper, 1996), re-imagining himself as a form of resistance. The name Yuxweluptun means 'Man who possesses many masks'. His performative actions bringing to contemporary consciousness his story, his way, are integrated with the complex questions of representation and self-definition entangled with self-determination and the "problematic of invisibility and namelessness" (West, 1990, p. 27). In his essay about contemporary Native art Rick Hill claims, "Art for Indians is perhaps their last hope to retain their individuality in a country that promotes uniformity" explaining that "Indians create art as an act of defiance,...as an act of protest,...and as an act of faith that somehow it is okay to be an Indian in the modern world" (cited in Nemiroff, 1992, p. 40). 157 In Yuxweluptun's paintings, the historical is held in tension with his stories of the local and specific, small histories of the present. He is not interested in heritage that fossilizes the past limiting his identity, marginalizing Native culture and perpetuating injustice. Ron Hamilton makes this observation about artists: "Some are being made by history. Some are making history" (cited in Townsend-Gault, 1992, p. 86). Yuxweluptun agrees with Native curator and art historian Marcia Crosby (1991) who states "I no longer aspire to be white, any more than I believe that I am limited to playing out the roles of the pseudo-Indians constructed by Western institutions". Referring to the "Imaginary Indian" as "the West's opposite," Crosby (1991) explains that "to embrace the 'authentic' Indian produced by the Western science of anthropology would be to adopt a Western construct [of] a textbook or domesticated Indian"(p. 268). Townsend-Gault (1992) explains Natives' efforts for self-definition this way: "Mounting what could termed an 'ethno-critique' by aboriginal peoples, the interrogation of their own misrepresentation in the inscription of history has been the driving force in the politics of representation. It is a politics being played out in courtrooms,... in classrooms,... as well as in museums and galleries" (p. 87). In art history, Eurocentric constructions of the 'Indian' have included the exoticized "noble savage", the "passive colonialized Indian-as-landscape" or "the bloodthirsty savage" reflecting fear of the perceived "hostile forces of nature/indigene" (Crosby, 1991, p. 272). Crosby (1991) is critical of cultural representation by others, for example Emily Carr's paintings which according to her are positioned within the 'salvage paradigm' described by Clifford (1987) and discussed by Minh-ha (1987). It is a paradigm "reflecting a desire to rescue 'authenticity' out of destructive historical change", which considers 'authenticity' in culture or art as existing in the past, "but not so distant past as to make salvage impossible" (Clifford, 1987, p. 122). An example of this 158 misrepresentation is Emily Carr's depiction of Native totem poles as "relics", implying that they "belong to a geographic space" or to the Native constructed as 'nature', rather than belonging to a culture still alive (Crosby, 1991, p. 276). Such attitudes hastened the appropriation of objects by fueling the imagination that Native culture belonged in the past, facilitating the induction of Native "history and heritage" into institutions and European frameworks (Crosby, 1991, p. 276). Throughout the century, not only did the collections of art/artifacts and designs serve the cause of Canadian national identity but it deflected attention away from the plight of the Natives (Morrison, 1991; Nemiroff, 1992). The rush to assimilate the Native people was made easier by. considering them a dying race. M o d e r n i s m a n d Nat ive T r a d i t i o n s The exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Emily Carr and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun (1996/1997), which included the paintings discussed in this study, was an attempt to address ideas relating to the work of two established artists, both powerful for their own reasons. The juxtaposition of their work recalled and reconsidered the 1927 exhibition Canadian West Coast Art, Native and Modern organized by the National Gallery of Canada and the National Museum of Canada, in which paintings by Emily Carr, the Group of Seven and others were exhibited along with Native objects. The collaboration of the two institutions, one interested in modernism and the other in anthropology, reinforced the connections between art and anthropology, with the result that the Native objects in the exhibition were given an ambiguous role as both ethnographic object and work of art (Morrison, 1991). Even though several of the objects were newly completed and their makers were alive, the appropriated work was presented to serve as a background or historic base for the nationalist project; the construction of a Canadian cultural identity, promoted by the institutional organizers. Marius Barbeau (1927), the ethnologist and director of the Nation Museum of Canada described the Native objects in the exhibition 159 catalogue; "A commendable feature of this aboriginal art for us is that it is truly Canadian in its inspiration. It has sprang up wholly from the soil and the sea within our national boundaries" (cited in Nemiroff, 1992, p. 23). His description according to Nemiroff (1992), "severs the Indian artists from history, their own and that of the newcomers" and "equates their source of artistic production with nature itself (p. 23).). Eric Brown (1927), the director of the National Gallery of Canada, writing in the catalogue for the exhibition, also distanced the work from the objects' meanings within Native culture considering instead its potential as a source for decorative design with "its unique quality of being entirely national in its origin and character" (cited in Nemiroff, 1992, p. 25). The Native objects from the museum's anthropological collections were stripped of their cultural meaning, reclassified from scientific ethnographic 'specimens' and recategorized as 'art'. For example, given a new status within a new institutional context, the Native totem poles understood as symbols of family relations, were instead admired for their universal, abstract, formal aesthetic qualities and visual autonomy. In the 1920s, Clive Bell's (1913/1958) theories about 'significant form' were influential in the art world supporting Brown's formalist rationale. Although contradictory to the claims of high-art attributes, these same objects were also appreciated for authenticity, romanticism, and exoticism associated with myths of the 'primitive, noble savage' and of the 'wilderness' of pre-colonial culture. The transition of so-called 'primitive' object from ethnographic specimen to work 'of art was evident in many exhibitions in Europe and America as affinities were sought between the tribal and the modern. According to Nemiroff (1992 ), unlike these other exhibitions which highlighted affinities of form, the 1927 exhibition stressed a commonality of geography, with the Native work representing the heritage of the past with which to compare the 'new' paintings. As an important event in the construction of "Canadian" art history, Canadian West Coast Art, Native and Modern of 1927 160 had far reaching cultural implications that have precluded, disguised and marginalized Native art and life (Morrison, 1991). Yuxweluptun challenges the National Gallery premise and the expectations for Native art set out in 1927 where, according to Morrison (1991), "Others spoke for [the Natives] and their alternate discourse remained unheard" (p. 92). He counters that situation by exhibiting confrontational paintings of what Linsley (1991, p. 236) terms the "real social landscape" of the present, from a Native perspective. The more recent 1984 exhibition, "Primitivism" in 20th Century Art: Affinities Between the Tribal and Modern, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, is another example of "a disquieting quality of modernism: its taste for appropriating or redeeming otherness, for constituting art in its own image, for discovering universal ahistorical 'human' capacities" (Clifford, 1988, p. 193). Instead of honoring differences, specific and local knowledge, the search for affinities often involves careful selection and a view from a specific angle of vision. For contemporary Native artists, cultural expression as "transformations of knowledge ... are ways of maintaining and recovering control of culturally specific knowledge" (Townsend-Gault, 1992, p. 76). According to Townsend-Gault (1992), their work "is representative of the search for ways to translate, transform, re-invent, protect, and sometimes obscure the knowledge that is integral to these cultures" (p. 76). As a co-curator of the First Nations exhibition Land Spirit Power, held in 1992 at the National Gallery of Canada, in which Yuxweluptun paintings were shown, Townsend-Gault (1992) describes the recurrent themes and shared strategies that emerged from statements by the Native artists and the work in the exhibition. They include: "the recovery of history, and with it the contesting of stereotypes and the restoration and reinvention of tradition; the identification of a space from which to be heard, by 161 various audiences; [and] a stress on local knowledge to make specific what has been generalized, to make actual what has been essentialised" (Townsend-Gault, 1992, p. 86). More importantly, according to Townsend-Gault (1992), what is evident in the work of many contemporary Native artists is "the understanding that there is more than one kind of knowing" (p. 86). Pedagogical Alliances and Institutions According to Ferguson (1990), rather than the absolute separation of cultures existing in the same space, it is the impure or the hybrid combining aspects of the center and margin which depend on each other that might claim a kind of authenticity. Clifford (1997) who is also interested in notions of the hybrid, proposes asking questions similar to those posed by Haraway (1991) and Hall (1986), such as "what from our similarities and differences can we bend together, hook up, articulate?" (Clifford, 1997, p. 87). In accord with efforts by artists to create personal and cultural connections, Clifford (1997) advocates the recasting of ethnographic and pedagogical empathy or rapport as alliance, and a focus from representation to articulation to help negate the separation of centre and margin. Artist/pedagogues, such as Yuxweluptun, who attempt to create alliances between people through the articulation of their knowledge and lived experience, are also role models and leaders (Irwin, 1998a) articulating connections between cultures. In seeking alliances, Yuxweluptun underscores the importance of routing his political work, as an intervention within the legitimating site of the Vancouver Art Gallery or other art institutions. In his view, the gallery with its commitment to the 'living' culture of the present has a different function from that of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. He associates the Museum of Anthropology with marginalizing Native art practice by positioning it within an anthropological institutional frame reserved for 162 'salvaging' what others consider a dying or dead culture. Yuxweluptun calls it "A dead man's zone, an Indian morgue" (cited in Townsend-Gault, 1995, p. 12). Crosby (1991), corroborating this perspective, considers it an institution whose role is to provide a context for the colonial scientific study of the 'other' with the attendant assumption that it is "their obligation and their right to care for a culture they presume is dying" (Crosby, 1991, p. 286). It is here, Crosby (1991) claims, that Native material culture is "transmuted into artifacts, frozen in time" (p. 286), removed from the context for which it was produced and distant from Native communities where its presence could play an important educational role within Native communities. The newly appointed director of the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology, Ruth Phillips, is well aware of the theoretical and practical questions raised in institutional recognition of First Nations art. She claims that, "The question of where and how Indian art should be exhibited is one that has been with us for most of this century" (1988, p. 64). On a national level, until the 1980s, according to Nemiroff (1992), the lack of recognition of Native art by the National Gallery of Canada and the mandate of the Canadian Museum of Civilization to collect contemporary Native art "caused some institutional uncertainty of their overlapping roles" (p. 16). The predicament continues to be negotiated. Not until 1986 did the National Gallery of Canada add the work of a contemporary Native artist to its collection. Yuxweluptun's painting, Scorched Earth, Clear-cut Logging on Native Sovereign Land (1991), presently on view in the National Gallery, is also a part of the collection,, however it is separated from the rest of the collection in a room designated for Native art. Recently, in a national newspaper, Yuxweluptun vociferously complained that the painting is being exhibited in what he calls the "Indian room", or "ghetto" for Canadian First Nations artists, demanding that it be 1 6 3 moved into the main contemporary collection exhibition and angry that "it [the National Gallery] even has an Indian room" (cited in Edemariam, 1999). "The real dilemma" for Native artists "is how to sustain cultural difference while contesting marginality" (Nemiroff, 1992. P. 40). This question pervades all aspects of artists' work including the institutional context in which it is positioned. Although in British Columbia Natives are now setting up their own museums in order partially "to redress the imbalance in the official telling of the local and to subvert history" ... to point out "art/artefact or art/culture distinctions as being an artificial imposition" (Townsend-Gault, 1992, p. 92), Yuxweluptun, whose intentions are the same, takes a different tack. His strategy involves insertion of .his concerns about land and identity within the frame of the gallery with its potential of drawing national and international attention to these issues; to work with the contentions and contradictions in our culture. He discounts the risks in which the paintings or his voice, ambiguously detached/attached to ethnic specificity and its subjectivity, could be compromised by being subsumed, and his message collapsed, by the master narratives associated with the art gallery/museum. In recent years, the collection of his paintings by major art institutions has brought his pedagogical art practice into the media spotlight. The critical conversations his work engenders now reverberate through many institutional sites engaged with the practice of representation. How his political practice effects social and environmental change is yet be determined. The Native Art Student Yuxweluptun discusses the issues involved in teaching and being an art student from the Native perspective: Would I teach here, [at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design where he received his diploma]? I don't know if this institution is ready for a voice free of colonialism. I think that these are non-Native cultural institutions. We have immigrants here from different nationalities, but this is still a non-multi-cultural race institution. At some point it may 164 change, that a Native wil l no longer be a token. From time to time I've given a lecture here, and I wi l l continue to do those things. But it's not for everybody - political art. Where are Aboriginal people going to come for tax dollars, tax dollars for culture? They are going to come here, into the city. They are going to come into this institution [Emily Carr College of Art and Design]. They are going to get an education. They have the right to be here. They are not getting the help from the communities. They are integrating and integration is a fact of life. So is assimilation. They are not coming along with the whole baggage of legends, they are coming here with first generation public school. They've grown up, now they are urban Indians. I came here. We do challenge and we do look at our own culture. We do change our own culture in terms of art. If art is culture it means that anything is possible coming here. Townsend-Gault (1995 underscores the complexity of cultural, economic and social relationships in suggesting that, "the separation between the goals of economic and social prosperity has severed the possibility of cultural evolution and fossilized the romantic notion of Northwest Coast art, or so called 'traditional art'" (p. 12). When culture is reconstructed for tourists is this the end of the line? Have the artists such as Bill Reid, Robert Davidson and Susan Point sold out, as Yuxweluptun claims? Or are these artworks 'at the new airport terminal in Vancouver, (for insiders, outsiders and border crossers to see), examples of a 'second life heritage' (Clifford, 1998) that attempts to dispense with issues of authenticity and its associated moral overtones? Are these artists also intersecting with mainstream society to evolve survival strategies through transformations of traditions? Although Yuxweluptun -blatantly confronts social and political issues in his work, both he and these Native artists share a desire to avoid assimilation which negates difference. They revive some aspects of cultural history, reject or omit others as required, and appropriate from many sources to contribute to new cultural formations. Homogeneity acts to contain their distinct and different voices, and so, adaptation, ambivalence and sometimes messy alliances are a recognition of instability and change, and the need for negotiated positions in the present. 165 Diaspora and the Land Claims Issues In the public sphere images of 'the Indian' abound, especially "that of First Nation leaders asserting sovereignty over Aboriginal lands on the platform of origins and traditional forms of governance and cultural practice", when in fact, "not all aboriginal people have or want access to aboriginal'title of land for many complex reasons" (Crosby, 1997, p. 26). Not every Native's interest in Canada is being served by land claim and sovereignty discussions. While some Natives conform to the legal entity "Indian" and have entitlement to the "privileges" of status Indians, there are others who are non-status Indians and not legal stakeholders in the land question (Crosby, 1997, p. 26). Answers about who in the Native communities will benefit from negotiations on land claims and sovereignty are not transparent. Only about half of the Native population in British Columbia live on reservations. How will urban Natives, or Natives in small towns off-reserve away from their 'home' territory, who form the majority of Natives in British Columbia, fare? Many Natives contest the criteria imposed within nations defining their eligibility to partake in decisions or to take advantage of negotiated benefits. While some Natives are enthusiastic about coming to a decision in a process that began one hundred years ago, others are unwilling to compromise on territory, believing that Native land should be held in perpetuity for future generations, unwilling to link resources and land to money. While questions about alienation and belonging have circulated around immigrant and exile communities, Native land claims in British Columbia have turned a spotlight on those issues as they pertain to Native people. Many Native people in British Columbia who are dispersed off reserve live as 'urban Indians' in cities away from 'home' with its "rootedness in particular landscapes" (Clifford, 1997, p. 253). They experience "a diasporic dimension of contemporary tribal life", their identities oriented "toward a lost or alienated home defined as 166 Aboriginal (and thus outside the surrounding nation-state)" (Clifford, 1997, p. 253). Diaspora, according to Gilroy (1987) is described as "alternate public spheres, forms of community consciousness and solidarity that maintain identifications outside the national time/space in order to live inside, with a difference" (cited in Clifford, 1997, p. 251). This situation is one that Native people increasingly share with immigrants, exiles and others whose physical and/or intellectual mobility across cultures render new meanings to the terms of 'place', 'border', and 'belonging'. "The specific cosmopolitanisms articulated by diasporic discourses are in constitutive tension with nation-state assimilationist ideologies" (Clifford, 1997, p. 251). Although there is political antagonism between immigrant and First Nation communities in British Columbia, there are also significant areas of overlap. As minorities within a hegemonic/assimilationist state, both are "dispersed networks of people who share common historical experiences of dispossession, displacement, adaptation ... histories of decimation and marginality" (Clifford, 1997, p. 253). Diasporic consciousness describes Yuxweluptun's integration of personal and public realms in the constant remaking of cultures (as well as identities) in which aspects of assimilation are held in tension with Native community solidarity. In British Columbia, tensions in and between communities concerning negotiations and settlement, of Native land claims such as that achieved by the Nisga'a Nation in 1998 are a part of the social and political shifts that are occurring. Decisions about these matters will have far-reaching social, economic and political implications that will affect all communities. Although reconciliation for land taken has long« been demanded by Natives, there are some, especially those Natives living in urban centres, who, like Yuxweluptun, hesitate to settle "forever" with a partner whose motivation they distrust and who has a bad track record. While they are supportive of their communities 167 claiming autochthonous status, but oppose the terms of land claims negotiations that resemble that of the Nisga'a Nation. Yuxweluptun argues: Think of B.C. land claims, the province is broke, it has a deficit, but it comes to the table and says i t ' l l settle Aboriginal land claims in terms of millions of dollars. They're coming to the poker table with money they don't have. And then, they're trying to give the Aboriginal people 'an Indian deal'. Because of the colour of your skin, because you're an Indian - they say the land is not worth anything. (Yuxweluptun, cited in Shier, 1998, p. 50) Chump Change. The Impending Nisga'a Deal. The Last Stand (1996) Yuxweluptun's painting, Chump Change. The Impending Nisga'a Deal. The Last Stand (1996) critiques the land claims negotiated by the Nisga'a Nation and the federal and the provincial governments. Hailed as a landmark decision, as the first modern treaty in British Columbia, the Nisga'a agreement has been called a template for the more than fifty land claims that have yet to be decided. This deal is symbolic of many complex and significant changes regarding decisions about land use and ownership. While concern about the agreement has been voiced through the media and elsewhere, Yuxweluptun's 'voice' which problematizes the agreement, is among only a few from Native communities that are being heard. In 1996, Yuxweluptun forcefully rejected the process and terms of negotiations and was pessimistic about the benefits for Native people. Chump Change. The Impending Nisga'a Deal. The Last Stand, is a new painting. They need borders, I guess. Colonialism is in a stage right now; in British Columbia, where the Nisga'a have been in negotiations for quite a few years, they are wanting to settle the land claims. So, you have this man, standing there counting his pennies for the land that he gets, and the line that has been put onto the ground, and the White man walking away with the briefcase. And, you have a fountain of water - the end of the rainbow. So, in terms of land claims, I am thinking of extinguishment, or annexation. People have gone to war for annexation 168 and power, for that type of supremacy and colonialism, to determine what is going to happen to Aboriginal people. This painting is about the act of pure power to oppress. I don't like anything about land claims. I think in terms of freedom and equality. I want to know what it means in terms of self-government, self-determination, self-rule. Canada signed the Geneva Convention about self-determination, self-government, self-rule, and if it doesn't want to live up to the Geneva Conventions of the world, then take its name off the Geneva Convention and call itself a bunch of racists. His anger against treatment of the Native people is clear: Billions, and billions, and billions of dollars have been taken out of the land, out of the forestry, out of the mining, out of the fisheries, and then people have the gall to turn around and tell me, and to my chiefs, to the tribal councils, and to the, land claims that Aboriginal people should pay taxes. Forget it! You've oppressed us to the point where sixty to seventy or eighty percent of Native people living on a reserve are collecting welfare, where there is despotism on the reserve, and you expect us to pay taxes. I don't want to pay one red nickel. In terms of Aboriginal people that are settling land claims, I think that when you have to extinguish forever, annexation, - forever is a long time. That's surrendering land for colonialism, and that's enough payment. There are some who do believe that it is wrong to surrender anything. A l l I'm going to say is just pull the trigger, because I'm not going to sign it. That's my position and I think that other Indian people have that right to say no. T say, take a real good look at what happened here before you start to buy into something that you may not want to have. You put us up against a wall, and confine us already. I don't trust - I never wi l l trust this government. I never wil l trust it, because it doesn't have anything to offer except colonialism. A l l it offers is greed, and that's no way to look at land. Yuxweluptun's stance is surprising to those who assume that a l l Natives are i n agreement wi th the altruistic 'spin' about retribution by the governments i n power. These assumptions reflect on Crosby's (1997) concern that "new signposts of Indianness" i n art practice are "determined by aboriginal peoples' inseparability from the representation of the aboriginal leadership and land, and the conventions of authenticity, origins, and tradition" (Crosby, 1997, p. 26). While Yuxweluptun's work concerns issues about land, i t doesn't fit these "new signposts of Indianness", asking us instead, to consider how diverse and hybrid 169 conditions stand in relation to aboriginal traditions in a culture that is in the process of being constructed? He concurs with Crosby (1997) who calls for hybridity that is not naivete or ignoring of injustice but about "honouring all our histories that engender the confidence necessary to grow in an inclusive (rather than exclusive) way" (p. 30). Yuxweluptun's work agrees with Crosby's (1997) suggestion "to rethink aboriginal nationhood as something that extends beyond geo-political and economic boundaries drawn by contemporary aboriginal land dispute politics and its cultural corollaries of authenticity, origins and traditions (p.30). Painting Practice In the postmodern era, the ability of painting to interrogate the nature of representation has come under scrutiny. Nadaner (1998), while acknowledging its modernist associations, supports painting as "a medium of promise for speaking to contemporary issues" (p. 168). He argues that "painting maintains a complex relationship with experience, allowing elusive aspects of experience such as memory, change, irreconcilable experiences and extensions to new realms of experience" (p. 180). In his opinion, painting "expresses lived experience in complex ways" (p. 168), making visible what can not be seen, "irreducible to a story", yet "speaks for a consciousness of its times" (p. 172). In discussing the relevance of painting practice for art education, Nadaner (1998) states that, "if insight and understanding are accepted as values central to education, then the educational contribution of painting is clear" since it contributes "to the understanding of human experience by engaging students in the active exploration of experience through means that are open, flexible, challenging, surprising, and powerful" (p. 180). Yuxweluptun's paintings about dislocation and environmental concerns are morally and ecologically as well as esthetically and politically critical. While he employs strategies to unsettle, contest and challenge, he goes beyond critique or 170 hopelessness to propose the possibility of reprieve. According to Townsend-Gault (1995), "he proposes through the equivalence between story and powerful object... the operation of spiritual forces" calling his own work "salvation art" (p. 13). For Doreen Jensen (1996), artists including Yuxweluptun, "have the power to reach beyond or inside this moment of history, to draw upon and urge us towards the power of the natural world" (p. 103). She describes contemporary Native art "as metamorphosis" (p. 103) or transformations, with artists re-creating and re-presenting our transforming and transformative relationship to the land" (p. 108). Yuxweluptun urges us towards the metamorphosis of spirit and culture by encouraging us to be more intimately connected to each other and with the trees, mountains, rivers: the anima in all things in nature, "to love the land" as a precondition for treating the environment with respect. He aspires to help in restoring "the relationships of people to one another and to the land" endowing his paintings "with a transformative power" (Todd, 1995, p. 48). With "pictorial inventiveness and ethical seriousness" Yuxweluptun has displaced 'landscape', and reinstated the powers of the spirit world upon which salvation depends" (Townsend-Gault, 1995, p. 19). Yuxweluptun's paintings disrupt Canadian landscape tradition putting in its place a view of Native experiences and beliefs. While "making use of the colonizers' tools and means of expression" he upsets "expectations that he keeps to the colonizers' rules" (Townsend-Gault, 1995, p. 12). Instead, he connects his paintings with the sophisticated history of Coast Salish visual culture, "closely linked as it is to an oral and performative culture full of robust stories" (Townsend-Gault, 1995, p. 13). Yuxweluptun, who graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, employs Western art techniques to create inventive paintings of abstracted forms and figures of the Northwest Coast in "the surreal allegory of break up and destruction" (Townsend-Gault, 1995, p. 11). His debt to European Surrealism is evident in his paintings' colourfully barren, post-apocalyptic quality of Salvador Dali's work, irrational relationships of scale and 171 disorienting depiction of space. Combining the knowledge he acquired in art school with his unique legacy makes possible the creation of "contemporary art that is both new and indigenous" (Houle, 1992, p. 70). Yuxweluptun's affinity to Surrealism; its colour, space, form, disturbing and bizarre juxtapositions in combination with idioms from a generic Northwest Coast style adapted for his depiction of figures, trees and patterns on the land are used to create stories, translating experiences and transforming knowledge. . In Yuxweluptun's paintings, Northwest Coast ovoids and formlines of Haida, Tsimshian, and Kwakwaka'wakw art combine with aesthetic devices from European landscape painting to depict figures in the landscape positioned within perspectival and pictorial space. The figures are comprised of fragments brought together to create three dimensional hollow forms. Although these formlines and ovoids are more typically seen as shallow carvings on the surface of totem poles or as flat graphic patterns in contemporary 'traditional' art, they can be recognized as contributing to human figures, Native figures. According to Linsley (1995), Yuxweluptun "liberates his totemic figures from the mass of the tree trunk" so that "the absent mass is preserved as space, the empty space left by the disappearance of the social substratum that supported the ancient culture" (p. 26). The skeletal forms/figures animate the space "as actors in the historical struggle over land and the fight for human rights" (Watson, 1995, p. 62). The landscapes in which these human figures act, denatured and devastated by intrusion and by environmental damage, are organized using mapped sections of flat synthetic colours smothering a dried devastated earth. The conspicuously intense colour alludes to advertising, popular culture, and curios of the tourist trade. "This is the landscape of Dari-land'\ according to Loretta Todd (1995) who interprets the paintings as a "drama of ecological disaster" that takes place in 172 "manufactured, theatrical space" (p. 47). In explaining the link in his paintings to European Surrealism, Yuxweluptun claims "My reality is surreal" (cited in Townsend-Gault, 1995, p. 12). Sa l ish Per format ive S toryte l l ing In Yuxweluptun's provocations, the undercurrents of humour of Salish oral storytelling tradition and performative culture emerge to subvert the harshness of his words while making his message more sharp and incisive. It is a trickster ethos that makes it possible to focus attention on the most serious of issues in ways that enable the storyteller and ,the audience to engage in transformative thinking. Images and narrative are constructed as complex expressions open to interpretation, to be understood on many levels by various audiences. According to Ryan (1995), parody and the trickster, devices often used in Native tradition that acknowledge Native ways of knowing, are translated into contemporary art practice as strategies providing openings for engaging with serious issues more effectively addressed through humour. Native art employing humour provides examples of the multiple ways that cultural production can be understood and interpreted, that are incorporated into transformative practices relying on interaction between artist and audience. Like the Native artists Carl Beam or James Luna, Yuxweluptun also uses parody to cut into the viscera of the body politic, in which both Native culture and the mainstream are fair game. Linsley (1995) describes the hollow figures in Yuxweluptun's paintings as "born out of the invisible clash between a plastic brightly coloured consumer society and a poisoned despoiled nature" accomplished through the use of mockery and satire intrinsic to Native tradition (p. 27). Humour is intentional in my work. The Big Hole in the Sky is an* image of Salish humour. The Hot Dog is Salish humour; Red Man Watching White Man Trying to Fix Big Hole in the Sky; and The Universe is So Big, the White Man Keeps Me on My Reservation. Clayoquot, 1993; - that's a very sick, demented humour. You see this image of a human being with his big tongue sticking out licking all the stumps, with a big chain saw in 173 his hand. That's basically what a logger is anyway, he just money-mongers, and licks big stumps. Not only are Yuxweluptun's painted images bold, and startling, but his presence when discussing his work is formidable. His 'performances' are forceful, and his aud