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Item Name: Painting
Title: Displacement, Indigenous Scholarship
Maker: David Garneau
Year: 2019
Materials: acrylic on canvas
Measurements: 122 x 79 cm
ID Number: PC2021.4
Legal Status: PERMANENT COLLECTION


Extended Label Info: David Garneau’s artwork is rooted in his Métis heritage. This still-life, a stack of books on top of a lichen encrusted boulder in a southern prairie landscape, is part of a series that Garneau painted to explore the complexity of being a contemporary Indigenous person, academic, and artist. The arrangement of the books and rocks represent the struggles and joys Garneau has felt as an Indigenous knowledge keeper. The rock under the books and the landscape suggests that Indigenous ways of knowing and being are grounded by traditional land-based knowledge. The books in the stack represent the rich selection of writing authored by First Nations and Métis, including pivotal works such as Maria Campbell’s autobiography “Halfbreed”, and Thomas King’s “The Inconvenient Indian”. They rest on top of an old picture book about the “Vanishing Indian” which is a persistent and racist myth in Western Culture. The Indigenous books outweigh the old, colonial book. Garneau’s concern is that translating teachings into English and into text might not do Indigenous knowledge justice, but that Indigenous books are necessary in the contemporary world, in conjunction with oral teachings. David Garneau (1962- ) is a Métis artist, writer and curator whose family roots are from Edmonton, Treaty 6 territory. Currently based in Regina as Associate Professor in Fine Arts at the University of Regina, Garneau earned a BFA in Painting and Drawing, and MA in English literature from the University of Calgary. Garneau’s work focuses on painting, curation, critical writing, and creative expressions of contemporary Indigenous identities. His artwork has been exhibited internationally, and is held in numerous private and public collections, including The Canadian History Museum; the Canadian Parliament buildings; the NONAM museum, Zurich; and the Musée de la civilisation, Montreal.