This exhibition by C. Elizabeth Best explores modern Indigenous identity through her art practice and academic thesis work. See her artist statement below for a detailed description.
On 16 May 1976, a young AIM activist killed himself in protest of the mishandling of Indigenous affairs by the Canadian federal government.
This series of paintings complement my Master’s thesis. I made these pieces in tandem with my academic work. Despite the distance of 40 years, I mourned the loss of the young AIM activist. It wasn’t until I made a painting in his honour that I felt I could process this tragedy outside of myself.
My second painting, the pink and turquoise rabbit, is an amalgamation of my own identity. Identity plays a central role in my thesis and this theme flowed naturally into the art I made during the past academic year.
The series of three represent the main chapters of my paper. When I think about my thesis, bits and pieces float in and out of focus. I tried to capture that feeling with this series by using my notes to produce a visual representation of my thesis.
This series represents the process I went through to understand the material I was reading and writing about. I think it is important for academics to experiment with different ways of presenting their work. Expression through art is how I have chosen to present my academic work to a varied audience. For more information, please see my thesis, Writing Activism: Indigenous Newsprint
Media in the Era of Red Power, accessible through the Laurier Library.