by Peter Morin and Tania Willard
This year, the annual guest edited issue of C Magazine has been organized by artist Peter Morin and artist and curator Tania Willard. Together they represent two members of a shifting group of Indigenous artists that make up BUSH gallery – an experimental land-based, Indigenous-led artist rez-idency that takes place on Willard’s land in Secwepemc Nation in interior British Columbia.
This is a very special issue of C Magazine. Part of this lies in the fact that it focuses inwardly, with the texts circling back to friendship, kinship and often to the specific plot of land at BUSH gallery where many of the contributors in these pages have gathered to think and work. But the texts, interviews, poems, scores and artworks within also extend far beyond BUSH gallery, provoking critical discussion of where and how art exists – and has existed for thousands of years – on the land, outside of city centres, gallery systems and western systems of valuation. With many thanks to Peter, Tania and BUSH gallery for their radical work herein. — Kari Cwynar, Editor
BUSH gallery is located on the traditional territories of the Secwepemc Nation, hosted on Tania Willard’s land. BUSH gallery is a series of on-going gatherings of like-minded folks united under questions concerning art making, land, Indigenous art history and interventions into the colonial. These gatherings focus on experimental investigations that enable the complexities of Indigenous knowing along with an active disengagement with western logic.
In this issue of C Magazine we dared to ask this question about land: does it still mean art if we make it on the reserve? We dared to ask this question about art: does it help us to realize the depth of Indigenous art history when we make art on the reserve outside of gallery and museum systems? We present here a decolonization of the idea of an art magazine or an art review or art writing or art criticism. We asked writers to consider the future and space-making. We asked writers to consider and acknowledge the creative force of the body. Instead of reviewing the places art circulates in dominantly non-Indigenous institutions, we called on writers to review experiences, exhibitions, events or lands close to their heart. We asked them to give voice to aesthetic experiences in their communities, defining community generatively to include spaces on and off reserve, Indigenous or non-Indigenous spaces in which they find home and cultural continuity and safety. We asked writers to de-centre the city as the place of contemporary art, to ask ourselves what it means for contemporary art conversations to circulate in rural or non-art spaces.
BUSH gallery opens up space to experience all of the complexities that build contemporary Indigenous art, Indigenous knowledge, history, ancestors and future ancestors fusing time streams in a nonlinear constellation of meaning, history and futurity. Within these pages is an interrogation of the established structures of meaning within english language, and an active questioning of the unnamed and silent barriers that keep us just one foot away from an imagined and inherited futurity.
There are no contemporary art galleries or artist-run centres on First Nation reserves/reservations because people have been too busy surviving. Art is both a record and a future. In these pages, we want to ask the spirits: is it a good idea to have Indigenous art galleries on a reserve or on the land? What do Indigenous artist-run centres look like on lndian land? And when they do happen on reserve land, do they just feel like artist-run centres in cities?
The reader is invited to plant these pages in the ground for mother earth to read.