The history and the appropriation of Indigenous people is showcased in Sovereign Acts, the current exhibit at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery.

According to the exhibit curator Wanda Nanibush, “In Sovereign Acts, the artists contend with the legacy of colonial actions and representations. Their work returns to the multi-levelled history of ‘Performing Indian’ to recuperate the erased and objectified performer.”

Each artist draws on the popular and mass cultural depictions of Indigenous subject, many in the form of prints and photographs.

One collection of prints that depict the appropriation of Indigenous culture is Putting the Wild back into the West by Adrian Stimson and Lori Blondeau. These prints depict people in a Wild West photoshoot with “Cowboys and Indians” style costumes.

The exhibit also featured video installations. One of the installations is In My Room by James Luna. This video shows a man living in a tent in the forest, depicting him as “primitive.”

Another video installation is a four-channel installation called Buffalo Boy’s Wild West Prep by Adrian Stimson. This installation is found in four viewpoints under a Wild West Poster. Each viewpoint shows a different video connected to the poster.

The exhibit will run at the East Campus Hall until Mar. 10, with the curator talk taking place Feb. 7 at the UWAG gallery.

Photos above taken by Leo Li


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