Exhibitions‎ > ‎

Current Exhibition




Cover Up

 by Damian John

A solo exhibition of Damian John’s new body of work, ‘Cover Up’ will be presented at the new VISAC POP-Up Gallery located in the Waneta Plaza Mall, Trail. This exhibition is presented by the Trail & District Arts Council and the VISAC Gallery.

The exhibition opens Saturday June 5, 2021 and will run until July 31, 2021. Damian John will be present this day, live painting and for discussions.

Gallery hours are Wed-Sat / 11am-5pm. 






About Damian John: 

Tl'azt'en artist Damian John, is highly influenced by his indigenous heritage who uses his art to explore. He is self taught and continues to grow as he explores his passion for creation, trying to find a voice for the various spaces his mind and emotion inhabit. 

Damian has been working towards his art as a career since 2012, and has been a full time artist since 2014. Damian John has studied in universities, forests, deserts, and on lake shores with wise people from a small part of the vast variety of wisdom traditions of the world. Part of his current paradigm is a deep need to strive for a kinder and more curious world. With a love for all that he is ethnically, a Tl'azt'en German Irish Austrian Hungarian Canadian, he strives to create a space in which we can truly see one another better. 

www.caribouwoman.com 

Facebook - Damian Johns Art Endeavours 

Instagram - @chasingthecaribouwoman


About the body of work: ‘Cover Up’ 

Artist statements written by Damian John: 

“The Indian act is a document that has deeply affected indigenous peoples in Canada for the past 150 years yet it's rarely talked about outside of certain circles. The document and amendments are not light reading.” 

“Almost every North American knows what a comic book is, the variety of comic books ranging from Archie comics through to the superhero comics like Superman and Batman. In recent years, the rise of the superhero movie genre has brought these characters and stories to a whole new level of fame. All of these stories had their humble beginnings in comic books.

As a child and young man I was thrilled by the stories and art in comic books. They brought me to a different world, a fantastic world, and it was the covers that initially pulled me in. The better and more intriguing the cover art, the more likely I was to buy and read the comic.” 

“If you’ve read comic books for long enough, you realize the universe they depict have a peculiar quality to them. There is a culture of revisiting stories and retelling them, tweaking them, creating a whole new universe that tells a similar story but it’s entirely different in the retelling. Recognizable but different. Some of the comics I enjoyed the most engaged with some of the most pivotal decisions and actions that had happened to the title character and her/his supporting cast being reimagined. Marvel had “What if...?” DC comics had “Elseworlds”. Over the years origin stories have been told and retold, reimagined and tweaked. I loved these reimaginings as they allowed for completely new and different stories to be told. They were mystical, fantastic, imaginative, and deeply intriguing.” 

“This peculiar quality alongside my deep working of the intergenerational traumas that were created by the Indian act and our governments application of the racist and genocidal ideas within it got me thinking about the unique conversation we could have as a community about this difficult subject if I created some sort of artistic mash up. What if I reworked the images that pre-existed in comic book cover art to address some of the complicated, unusual, and deeply disturbing aspects of the Indian act and the treatment of indigenous people in this country? What if I used the culture within comics that allowed for that historical reworking? If I mimicked the cover art closely, would it hold some power in explaining both the ethereal nature and the very real impact of the story that is our history. How different would things be if we did things another way? How close are all our stories and the futures they create if I can take a purely fictional image with a story that is completely unrelated to the one I am telling, yet I can find a way to have it closely mimic the real story of indigenous peoples in this country? There is an incredible power to storytelling, to changing stories a little to fit our agenda, to thinking about all the potentials that exist within this framework that is our reality. It allows us to reflect on what has been done, how we could have done it differently, and the importance of our decisions that we make in the here and now.” 

“This show is me using this unique history, my indigenous heritage mixed in with my love of storytelling through comics and the unique quality of a comic cover being able to draw one into the story just enough to get them to buy it and read it. It is an homage to the art form that I grew up with. It is using the vehicle of popular culture to engage the audience, using a recognizable medium to pull one into a little known story. It is reworking iconic comic industry imagery and cover art imagery to spark the qualities of juxtaposition and mimicry, to get one thinking about the power of decision and engagement or lack thereof, to pluck at the threads of reality with the thought of sparking conversations. It hopes to inform about the past, to make it approachable and provocative, to get the viewer to want to know more with the intention of creating meaningful space for us to make better, kinder, and more empathetic decisions as we move through this life. It is working my trauma and my peoples trauma in a way that is responsible but gives voice to the deep pain, confusion, anger, and resentment that exists and needs to be voiced, to be heard.

It is my story.

It is our story.

What are we going to do with it?” 




- This exhibition was made possible through the support of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, British Columbia Arts Council, Waneta Plaza, the City of Trail, KSCU, and the Province of British Columbia.





Resources Recommended by the Artist


Online


Books

  • The Inconvenient Indian – Thomas King

  • Clearing the Plains – James Daschuk

  • 21 Things You May Not Have Known About the Indian Act – Bob Joseph

  • A National Crime – John s Milloy

  • Braiding Sweetgrass – Robin Wall Kimmerer


Artists