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list price: $34.95
edition:Paperback
category: Art
published: March 2018
ISBN:9781772031706

Sonny Assu

A Selective History

by Candice Hopkins; Ellyn Walker; Richard Van Camp & Marianne Nicolson, by (artist) Sonny Assu, foreword by Janet Rogers

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canadian, artists' books, native american
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $34.95
edition:Paperback
category: Art
published: March 2018
ISBN:9781772031706
Description

A stunning retrospective highlighting the playfulness, power, and subversive spirit of Northwest Coast Indigenous artist Sonny Assu.

Through large-scale installation, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and painting, Sonny Assu merges the aesthetics of Indigenous iconography with a pop-art sensibility. This stunning retrospective spans over a decade of Assu’s career, highlighting more than 120 full-colour works, including several never-before-exhibited pieces.

 

Through analytical essays and personal narratives, Richard Van Camp, Marianne Nicolson, Candice Hopkins, and Ellyn Walker provide brilliant commentary on Assu’s practice, its meaning in the context of contemporary art, and its wider significance in the struggle for Indigenous cultural and political autonomy. Exploring themes of Indigenous rights, consumerism, branding, humour, and the ways in which history informs contemporary ideas and identities, Sonny Assu: A Selective History is the first major full-scale book to pay tribute to this important, prolific, and vibrant figure in the Canadian contemporary art world.

About the Authors

Candice Hopkins is a curator and writer who has held curatorial positions at the National Gallery of Canada, the Western Front, and the Walter Phillips Gallery. She is currently the chief curator at the AIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hopkins holds an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. Her writings on history, art, and vernacular architecture have been published by MIT Press, BlackDog Publishing, Revolver Press, New York University, The Fillip Review and, the National Museum of the American Indian, among others. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Sonny Assu is an interdisciplinary artist whose diverse practice is informed by a deep connection to Kwakwaka’wakw art and culture and melded with
western/pop principles of art making. His work has been accepted into the National Gallery of Canada, Seattle Art Museum, Vancouver Art Gallery and into various public and private collections across Canada, the US, and the UK. He currently resides in unceded Ligwilda’xw territory (Campbell River, BC).
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Ellyn Walker is a curator and writer based in Toronto. Her work focuses on cross-cultural and artistic production as a type of decolonizing practice. Her research asks questions of inclusion and coalition in relation to the nation-state. Her projects have been presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, Xpace Cultural Centre, and Videofag. Her writing has been published in C Magazine, the Journal for Curatorial Studies, PUBLIC, Magenta magazine, Studio, and Sketch. Ellyn holds an MFA at OCAD University in the Criticism & Curatorial Practice program.

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Richard Van Camp is a proud member of the Tlicho Dene Nation from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. A graduate of the En'owkin International School of Writing, the University of Victoria's BFA in Creative Writing program and the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, Richard is the author of over twenty books spanning just about every genre, including Little You and Welcome Song for Baby. His novel The Lesser Blessed has now been made into a film with First Generation Films.

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Marianne Nicolson (‘Tayagila’ogwa) is an artist of Scottish and Dzawada_’enux_w First Nations descent. Her training encompasses both traditional Kwakwa_ka_’wakw forms and culture and Western European–based art practice. She has completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (1996), a Masters in Fine Arts (1999), a Masters in Linguistics and Anthropology (2005), and a PhD in Linguistics, Anthropology, and Art History (2013) at the University of Victoria. She has exhibited her artwork locally, nationally, and internationally; has written and published numerous essays and articles; and has participated in multiple speaking engagements. Her practice engages with issues of Aboriginal histories and politics arising from a passionate involvement in cultural revitalization and sustainability. She lives in Victoria, BC.

Author profile page >

Janet Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from the Six Nations band in Ontario. She was born in Vancouver and has been living on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people in Victoria, British Columbia, since 1994. Janet works in the genres of poetry, spoken-word performance poetry, video poetry, recorded poetry with music, and script writing. From 2012 to 2014, Janet served as Poet Laureate of Victoria. Janet has published three poetry collections to date: Splitting the Heart (Ekstasis Editions, 2007), Red Erotic (Ojistah, 2010), and Unearthed (Leaf Press, 2011). Her poetry CDs Firewater (2009), Got Your Back (2012), and 6?Directions (2013) all received ­nominations for Best Spoken Word Recording at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards, and the Native American Music Awards. Janet hosts Native Waves Radio on CFUV and Tribal Clefs on CBC Radio One in Victoria. Her radio documentaries Bring Your Drum: 50 Years of Indigenous Protest Music and Resonating Reconciliation won Best Radio at the imagineNATIVE Film and Media festival in 2011 and 2013.

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Editorial Reviews

Framed by contributions from some of our brightest Indigenous intellectuals, Sonny Assu’s canvas is more than an examination of how Indigenous Peoples respond to the Canadian experience. His witty and gentle hand offers Canada a mirror to consider its own scarred identity.

— Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

"A necessary addition to . . . contemporary indigenous art in Canada and beyond."

— BC Studies

This book, an appropriate resource for secondary students, contains many beautiful reproductions of Sonny Assu’s art and several analyses discussing his work. His pieces exhibit several strong influences: pop culture; the reclamation of classic art (Emily Carr and others); and the use of traditional West Coast form lines and media . . . Educators and students will find numerous access points through his bold expressions and the enlightening expositions. This resource offers many opportunities to examine our nation’s beliefs, actions, words, and legislation.

— Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools

The pieces feel young, brash, modern, and playful, often speaking directly to current First Nations and Canadian politics.

— Paul Kuttner, Cultural Organizing

The visually driven book highlights the artist’s work, with accompanying essays by contemporaries and Assu himself. Assu’s art leaps from medium to medium and includes graphic art, carvings, prints, photography and combinations of each.

— High Country News

It’s surprising to realize that Assu, a three-time Sobey Art Award long-lister, with a long exhibition list and work in important collections, including the National Gallery of Canada and the Vancouver Art Gallery, graduated from Vancouver’s Emily Carr University only in 2002. His rise has been swift, his work sure-footed from the start, and he has been prolific in his exploration of installation, sculpture, photography, printmaking and painting. The book’s title, A Selective History, might sound presumptuous for one just edging into his 40s, but it fits both the artist’s personal trajectory and the wrongs of the past that his work confronts.

— GalleriesWest

Assu's mastery over his craft extends to an aesthetic refusal deeply tied to his ancestral teachings, his family, his territory and his community. With his practice, documented extensively in the anthology, Assu wants you to know that he will always be, at his core, a nerdy-boy troublemaker for his people.

— Lindsay Nixon, Canadian Art

This brilliant book not only provides readers with an overview of the career of one of Canada’s most important artists but also links his development to the contemporary creative practices of First Nations artists in BC politics and history—the intersection of stories with visual expression. All this unveils historical truths and artistic insights that elevate Sonny Assu to greatness.

— Dr. Ron Burnett, Order of Canada, Order of BC, President, Emily Carr University

“This brilliant book not only provides readers with an overview of the career of one of Canada’s most important artists but also links his development to the contemporary creative practices of First Nations artists in BC politics and history—the intersection of stories with visual expression. All this unveils historical truths and artistic insights that elevate Sonny Assu to greatness."

—Dr. Ron Burnett, Order of Canada, Order of BC. President and vice-chancellor, Emily Carr University of Art and Design

— Emily Carr University of Art and Design

It’s surprising to realize that Assu, a three-time Sobey Art Award long-lister, with a long exhibition list and work in important collections, including the National Gallery of Canada and the Vancouver Art Gallery, graduated from Vancouver’s Emily Carr University only in 2002. His rise has been swift, his work sure-footed from the start, and he has been prolific in his exploration of installation, sculpture, photography, printmaking and painting. The book’s title, A Selective History, might sound presumptuous for one just edging into his 40s, but it fits both the artist’s personal trajectory and the wrongs of the past that his work confronts.

— GalleriesWest

Sonny Assu’s eclectic blending of formline aesthetic and popular culture is amplified by a medley of contributors’ voices telling stories, revealing history, and setting the stage for Assu’s critiques of past and current colonial atrocities. The essays provide key insights into current modes of resilience and resistance by Assu and his generation of Indigenous artists, while his clever artist statements, through humour and biting commentary, reveal obsessions with popular culture, ignorance of stinging histories, and demand that we question personal responsibility.

— Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse, curator of Northwest Native Art, Burke Museum

"Framed by contributions from some of our brightest Indigenous intellectuals, Sonny Assu’s canvas is more than an examination of how Indigenous Peoples respond to the Canadian experience. His witty and gentle hand offers Canada a mirror to consider its own scarred identity."

—Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

— Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

This book, an appropriate resource for secondary students, contains many beautiful reproductions of Sonny Assu’s art and several analyses discussing his work. His pieces exhibit several strong influences: pop culture; the reclamation of classic art (Emily Carr and others); and the use of traditional West Coast form lines and media . . . Educators and students will find numerous access points through his bold expressions and the enlightening expositions. This resource offers many opportunities to examine our nation’s beliefs, actions, words, and legislation.

— Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools

The visually driven book highlights the artist’s work, with accompanying essays by contemporaries and Assu himself. Assu’s art leaps from medium to medium and includes graphic art, carvings, prints, photography and combinations of each.

— High Country News

"Sonny Assu’s eclectic blending of formline aesthetic and popular culture is amplified by a medley of contributors’ voices telling stories, revealing history, and setting the stage for Assu’s critiques of past and current colonial atrocities. The essays provide key insights into current modes of resilience and resistance by Assu and his generation of Indigenous artists, while his clever artist statements, through humour and biting commentary, reveal obsessions with popular culture, ignorance of stinging histories, and demand that we question personal responsibility"

—Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse, curator of Northwest Native Art, Burke Museum

— Burke Museum

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