RAVEN DAVIS

Canadian Art - - Generously Supported By Rbc -

Canada’s 150th birth­day fell in the midst of Raven Davis’s “The De-cel­e­bra­tion of Canada 150” at the Khy­ber Cen­tre for the Arts, an ex­hi­bi­tion that crit­i­cally ex­am­ined Cana­dian na­tion­al­ist pro­pa­ganda. In a year marked by gra­tu­itous trib­utes to Con­fed­er­a­tion, the Anishi­naabe artist has been stag­ing per­for­mances at memo­rial sites, land­marks and gallery spa­ces in re­sponse to the pub­licly funded cel­e­bra­tion of colo­nial geno­cide. Davis’s artis­tic prac­tice—with its fo­cus on sus­tained in­ter­ven­tions and du­ra­tional ac­tions—is in no way sep­a­rate from their ac­tivism; when en­coun­ter­ing Davis’s work, passersby might won­der whether they were wit­ness­ing a protest, a per­for­mance or a com­mem­o­ra­tive cer­e­mony. Ap­pro­pri­ately, all three ap­ply. In 2 016, the artist sus­tained a four-day Sa­cred Fire in Hal­i­fax’s Grand Pa­rade, re­nam­ing it Grand Pray in com­mem­o­ra­tion of the young lives lost to sui­cide in At­tawapiskat and other Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties. Davis’s prac­tice re­lies on dis­rup­tion and in­ter­ven­tion, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously pri­or­i­tiz­ing prayer, heal­ing and gath­er­ing. In­stal­la­tion view of Raven Davis’s “The De-cel­e­bra­tion of Canada 150” at the Khy­ber Cen­tre for the Arts, 2017

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