“YESTERDAY WAS ONCE TOMORROW (OR, A BRICK IS A TOOL)”
WALTER PHILLIPS GALLERY SATELLITE SPACE, BANFF To July 2
In the third instalment of this exhibition that highlights little-known or grassroots Canadian arts publications from the 1990s, curator Kegan Mcfadden presents six magazines, including all four issues Talking Stick First Nations Arts Magazine for the first time. of
KEGAN MCFADDEN: Following the Columbus quincentenary and resulting Indigenous investigations into the hangover of colonialism, Talking Stick was a grassroots synthesis of those nationwide conversations. All the content is Indigenous. All the writers and editors and designers are Indigenous. And they’re talking about Indigenous issues. Their primary readership was the Indigenous arts community, with a mandate to reach out to Indigenous cultural producers to foster a network. It was published by Circle Vision Arts Corporation, an Indigenous arm’s-length arts organization in Regina, and its editorial council consisted of elders.
Contributions include Buffy Sainte Marie on cyber art and the urgency of being an artist, Edward Poitras doing layout and design, and critiques of stereotypical depictions of Indigenous people in Hollywood.
The editorial of its final issue says that “Talking Stick is dedicated to trying to balance these two issues of Aboriginal protest and celebration. We try to honour both as essential to our practice as contemporary artists in a complex and often difficult environment.”
In 2017, the most important part of the title is in the parentheses: it’s a clue to reading the show that honours the way they approached the medium of the magazine. A brick is a tool to dismantle, to be thrown through a window or used as a weapon. ■
Cover of Talking Stick First Nations Arts Magazine, Spring 1994 PHOTO KEGAN MCFADDEN