Off the Beaten Path: Vi­o­lence, Women and Art

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS -

Feb. 1 to April 20, 2014 Win­nipeg Art Gallery Gen­eral gallery ad­mis­sion: $12 Visit for hours With those grim stats in mind, the WAG was in­ter­ested in lo­cal­iz­ing the show. “The ex­hi­bi­tion was not built in Canada, so we’ve added two ad­di­tional works from our Inuit Col­lec­tion to bring it back home,” Delacre­atz says. She says the fact the art­works are from the North is sig­nif­i­cant to the Cana­dian ex­pe­ri­ence: in 2013, Statis­tics Canada re­ported that Nu­navut’s rate of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is 13 times higher the na­tional av­er­age. The first work is Pit­se­o­lak’s Hard­ships #1, by the late Inuit artist Na­pachie Pootoo­gook. “She had these amaz­ing au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal draw­ings that spoke to do­mes­tic and fam­ily abuse. This one was very spe­cific: it de­tailed the abuse of her mother at the hands of her father,” Delacre­atz ex­plains. The sec­ond work is by Inuit ac­tor, film­maker and sculptor Natar Un­galaaq, en­ti­tled Man and Fe­male Slave. “It’s a whale bone sculp­ture that de­picts a man rein­ing in a woman, and she’s pulling him along. She’s in the wa­ter and he’s on an ice floe,” Delacre­atz says. Rosen­berg says each coun­try that has pre­sented Off the Beaten Path has em­braced the topic dif­fer­ently. “I know that in Man­i­toba there’s a fo­cus on do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and traf­fick­ing,” she says. That the ex­hibit has been shown ev­ery­where from Mex­ico to South Africa speaks to the preva­lence of the is­sue. “No cul­ture is im­mune to it; there are no bar­ri­ers,” Rosen­berg says. The ex­hibit has trav­elled to places where vi­o­lence against women is deeply in­grained in the cul­tural fab­ric. A few years ago, Rosen­berg and her team mounted an ab­bre­vi­ated ver­sion of the show in Sene­gal. “They didn’t have the se­cu­rity or cli­mate con­trol to be able to bring the whole show there, but we did send videos and in­volved some of the lo­cal artists. Very few even saw vi­o­lence against women as an is­sue be­cause it’s so part of the cul­ture,” she says. Open­ing peo­ple’s eyes to a global prob­lem is a big part of what Art Works for Change does via its ex­hi­bi­tions. For Rosen­berg, one of the most unique as­pects of Off the Beaten Path is the op­por­tu­nity to trans­form gal­leries and mu­se­ums into safe spa­ces in which to en­gage the com­mu­nity. “I see con­fer­ences come to town for three days and then ev­ery­one goes home,” she says. “The ex­hibit stays up for three months. It’s a great op­por­tu­nity for on­go­ing pro­gram­ming. Some of the ad­vo­cacy and ed­u­ca­tional groups in a com­mu­nity who didn’t know each other had an op­por­tu­nity to work to­gether. We’ve been ex­cited about all the pos­si­bil­i­ties.” Ab­sent from Off tThe Beaten Path is any graphic or sen­sa­tion­al­ist im­agery, which Rosen­berg says per­pet­u­ates vi­o­lence. “We see so many acts of vi­o­lence on TV and movies that we be­come de­sen­si­tized to it. The lan­guage of art is a dif­fer­ent way to com­mu­ni­cate. We want to cre­ate em­pa­thy.” Delacre­atz echoes that sen­ti­ment: “We want to pro­vide ways to look at the world dif­fer­ently — a lens through which to look at the world. Vis­ual arts is a lens through which we can ex­plore sig­nif­i­cant is­sues that im­pact us all.”

Above: Gabriela Mo­rawetz’s J’ai reve que... (I have dreamed that...) from The Sleep­ing Self se­ries, 2008-2009.

Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece video of two live per­for­mances

from 1965 and 2003 will be screened.

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