unlimited edition
January 17 to March 22, 2014
unlimited edition looks at how prints by Indigenous artists in the Kamloops Art Gallery’s permanent collection represent a drive to preserve, portray and popularize oral histories and address social inequities.

Many Europeans encountered their first images of the Americas via prints. Early illustrations by colonists in the form of botanical drawings, ethnographic images, animal illustrations and maps emphasize the gaps in knowledge in their encounters with new ecologies and cultures. The European practice of depicting fantastical and mythical creatures characteristic of works in theBeautiful Monsters exhibition was intertwined with early scientific views of the “New World” and an anxiety about the unknown. Sea monster illustrations in early maps, for instance, mark out areas unknown to Europeans at the time.

Historical ways in which the “New World” was depicted are reference points for understanding the use and proliferation of printmaking by Indigenous artists since the early 1950s. These artists saw printmaking as a new way to challenge social conditions and give voice to ancestral knowledges and stories. The title of the exhibition refers to the production of prints inunlimited editions for distribution to a broad audience. In many ways, this practice, while quickly revised to accommodate the fine art market with limited editions, contributed to the revival of Indigenous aesthetics both in Inuit communities in the North as well as the Northwest Coast.

Historical threads in the exhibition trace the advent of Northern graphic and print centres to Cape Dorset and the emergence of screenprinting to the Northwest Coast. Later works by artists such as Carl Beam and Daphne Odjig can be seen as more experimental in nature. Printmaking as a contemporary medium for Indigenous artists can be seen as creating critical spaces between new technology, material and medium for the articulation of established Indigenous aesthetics and narratives.
Curated by Tania Willard (Secwepemc Nation), Aboriginal Curator in Residence, Kamloops Art Gallery
View images of the exhibition here.

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