By Lori Beavis
zhigwe / aim is a multi-week project initiated by Lori Beavis, P. Lantz artist in residence, that seeks to introduce contemporary Indigenous artists and their art work to the students, faculty and staff.
The word zhigwe (su-i (flat i)-gwe) is the Anishinaabe word for aim. It is an appropriate choice on two levels, the first being that in the act of aiming your smartphone at the QR code, information will be revealed about the image. The second is, the aim of this project is to ask – Can learning about the social and political issues these Indigenous artists are examining educate us as educators? Can knowledge of contemporary artists and their art contribute to reconciliation? Will this knowledge help us move forward in reconciliation and build “capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect”? (TRC Calls for Action (2015) p. 7, #63.iii)
Art by artists, Shelley Niro, Adrian Stimson, Barry Pottle, Lori Blondeau, Kent Monkman, Barry Ace, David Garneau, Nadia Myre has been chosen because they are all working with material and subjects that create awareness of the Indigenous experience in Canada. Their work is also very accessible in terms of the subject matter and eye-catching images. The viewer may also have an emotional response to the work. Art is often a way to say the unsayable – it can tell stories about family histories, knowledge and experiences and it can often open the space to have a public discussion about difficult and challenging subjects.
These images also speak to the notion of self-representation and this is important because the artists have a story to tell about Canada as a colonial space from an Indigenous perspective. The stories are important and may in some ways act as a form of activism as the information is dispersed.
The images of the art works will be displayed alongside a QR Code (Quick Response Code). When the square of black & white code is scanned further information about the artist and the object will be available. The code can be captured with your smartphone camera. To be able to read QR codes, you need to download a free QR Reader app, such as Quick Scan, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/quick-scan-qr-code-reader/id483336864?mt=8
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