Dana Claxton - On Dana Claxton

Dana Claxton’s piece has a different kind of relationship to the viewer, whereas Faye Heavyshield’s piece invites you into the circle so to speak.  Dana’s has certain elements which keep you out, but…they keep you away, but not in the sense that traditional sculpture does.  I mean, it’s very clear that what she’s marking off is a kind of, almost a sacred space I would say.  There’s a pile of broken shards of bone china in the centre of the floor, and then around it are…it’s roped off very much like what you might see in a theatre.  And by roping it off she sets that space, that privileged space, off from the space of the viewer.  But by making a point of that in a very obvious way, she draws attention to the fact that the history that she’s dealing with, which is dealing with the decimation of the buffalo herds and the effects that that had on the Plains First Nations, that this history is a history that’s painful, that is a history of loss, and is in some way a history that we need to see, but we can’t fully participate in unless you have felt that loss.  And then it’s interesting the way that she gives voice to that loss with the video which it also in the same space.  So, as you look at that piece, you have this very poignant sense of being a witness to something, but being held back from it.  And by doing that she underlines the position, especially of the European settler who has come, who has created this catastrophe, but needs to recognize their role in it, and that they are the ones who created this little compound in the centre of the room.

Duration: 2:49 min
Size: 11753kb

Other Videos About This Artist

On Dana ClaxtonExcerpts from Buffalo Bone China
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning