July 15 to September 9, 2017
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, an event that is being met by a wide spectrum of responses that range from sincere celebration to profound ambivalence and thoughtfully considered refusal. Many people have noted that 1867 is an arbitrary choice for the origin of the country: only Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were then united by the British North America Act, while other histories of nations that have inhabited this land extend tens of thousands of years further back in history. Others have argued that the last 150 years have been largely marked by shameful episodes of repression and violence against many Canadian citizens, particularly Indigenous peoples and other communities of colour. For many, it is difficult to reconcile those histories of institutionalized violence with their hopes for Canada today.
Komar and Melamid
AlterNation suggests an alternative approach to the consideration of Canada and the embracing of multiple perspectives towards our shared history. It is an acknowledgement of the many alternative nations that have existed within this country, while also suggesting a fluctuation between those various histories. In logic and mathematics, alternation is defined as “inclusive disjunction,” a term that metaphorically encompasses the ways that Canada has endeavoured to be a bastion of multicultural democracy, but has at times failed to live up to those ideals.
Presented alongside Lawren Harris: Canadian Visionary, AlterNation is comprised of work from the Kamloops Art Gallery permanent collection and supplemented by loans from local and national collections. This exhibition presents contemporary work by a variety of artists that explores how art has been involved in the myth-making and nation-building of Canada, as well as work that challenges the dominant narratives of celebration by highlighting some of the darker histories that are often overlooked in mainstream considerations of Canadian history. This exhibition includes works that are both laudatory and critical of the idea of Canada, as well as works that are both humourous and somber, in an effort to encourage audiences to thoroughly consider the range of positive and negative forces that have shaped Canada over the last 150 years.
Curated by Adrienne Fast, Interim Curator, Kamloops Art Gallery