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Vancouver artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, of Coast Salish and Okanagan descent, is showcased in this provocative exhibition of new and existing paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installation works that confront the colonialist suppression of First Nations peoples, and the ongoing struggle for Aboriginal rights to lands, resources, and sovereignty. Twenty years since his last major Canadian solo show, Unceded Territories will demonstrate the progression of Yuxweluptun’s artistry and ideas through hard-hitting, polemical, but also playful artworks that span his influential 30-year career.
Co-curated by Karen Duffek (MOA Curator, Contemporary Visual Arts & Pacific Northwest) and Tania Willard (artist and independent curator, Secwepemc Nation), Unceded Territories promises colour and controversy through this display of over 60 of Yuxweluptun’s most significant paintings, drawings, and works in other media – a critical and impassioned melding of modernism, history, and Indigenous perspectives that records what the artist feels are the major issues facing Indigenous people today. This exhibition will undoubtedly fuel dialogue, indignation, and even spiritual awareness as it tackles land rights, environmental destruction, and changing ideas about what we can expect of Indigenous art from the Northwest Coast. The issues Yuxweluptun addresses are impossible to ignore.
Yuxweluptun, an artist of Coast Salish and Okanagan descent, graduated from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in BC. Influential as both artist and activist, Yuxweluptun merges traditional iconography with representations of the environment and the history of colonization, resulting in his powerful, contemporary imagery; his work is replete with masked fish farmers, super-predator oil barons, abstracted ovoids, and unforgettable depictions of a spirit-filled, but now toxic, natural world.
Highly respected locally, Yuxweluptun’s work has also been displayed in numerous international group and solo exhibitions, including the National Gallery of Canada’s special exhibition, Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art. In 1998, Yuxweluptun was the recipient of the Vancouver Institute for the Visual Arts (VIVA) Award. He was also honoured in 2013 with a prestigious Fellowship at the Eitelijorg Musem of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, where his art was featured in an exhibition and book, and was acquired for the museum’s permanent collection.
A full-colour publication, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun: Unceded Territories, featuring essays by local and international writers and illustrated with selected works by Yuxweluptun, will accompany the exhibition and will be available for purchase at the MOA Shop.