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Native Lens: R.E.M. Burn


Native Lens


In our initial consideration for this piece, we discussed examining the appropriation of Indigenous design and iconography within the art and fashion worlds. We spent some time getting to know the artists, and listened as they generously shared their stories and perspectives. 

This piece quickly became more than acknowledging the distinction between appropriation and re-contextualization, a concept that becomes more and more indistinguishable in an age of commodification. As Indigenous people we understand that knowledge comes from our relations — to ourselves, each other, our communities, our animal relatives and the land herself. In its truest form, this knowledge is without replication. This piece is a reflection on the land that sustains us, the knowledge she offers, and the responsibility we carry to share those teachings for the wellbeing of the generations that follow.

We are grateful to the artists and storytellers included in this piece for sharing their incomparable talents. As well, this project would not have been possible without the generous support of Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des arts du Canada and the Harbour Collective.

The Bawaadan Collective is a majority Indigenous Collective made up of a diverse and highly skilled membership of artists and collaborators, each focused on narrative change and capacity-building in our individual right. Our members have professional and educational backgrounds ranging from community development work; youth advocacy, amplification, and engagement; project management; nonprofit sector experience; early childhood education; Indigenous language revitalization initiatives; Indigenous governance; Indigenous post-secondary education; social justice education; policy development; advancement of Indigenous-led educational programming; to creative arts practices, including film and costume production, mural installations, and youth arts projects.

Dante Biss-Grayson / Elias Jade Not Afraid / Jasmin Glaw / Kelly Boutsalis / Bawaadan Collective

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