Duane Linklater
September 18, 2021–January 16, 2022

Duane Linklater works across a range of mediums to address the contradictions of contemporary Indigenous life within—and beyond—settler systems of knowledge, representation, and value. This exhibition brings together sculptures, video works, and digital prints on linen from the past decade of the artist’s practice, as well as new adaptations of installations that he has continually revisited and revised. Linklater will also make modifications to the exhibition midway through its run, creating a presentation that embodies the fluidity and improvisation vital to his approach to art making.

Breaching the boundaries of the galleries, the exhibition spills out into the courtyard and culminates in an architectural intervention that literally tears down the walls. These gestures serve to open the historically exclusionary construct of the museum to Indigenous content, including works in sculpture and video that focus on enduring ancestral practices such as hunting, berry gathering, and fur trading; digital translations of tribal objects held in institutional collections; and a series of large-scale structures made with tepee poles. With his draped and folded tepee cover paintings, Linklater transforms the semicircular canvas wrapping of the traditional Cree dwelling into a support for digitally printed imagery that he tints with natural dyes.

Appearing amid these culturally significant forms and materials, references to the artist’s family, childhood home, and favorite bands, films, and garments suggest an expansive constellation of identifications that defies reductive notions of identity. This refusal to be pinned down is an assertion of sovereignty and self-determination—a way for Linklater to counter ongoing processes of erasure, extraction, and dispossession that impede Indigenous people’s potential. Through art, he aims to create what he calls “a zone of non-interference,” a space of autonomy and agency, where that potential can manifest.

Documentation by Jueqian Fang.