Wednesday, April 13, 2011

...Now THAT's What I'm Talkin About...(article)

*update (added April 25, 2011)

Film Screening: Aakideh
Saturday, April 16, 1 pm & Tuesday, April 26, 7 pm
‘Aakideh’ is an Ojibwe word meaning brave or brave-hearted. Artist Carl Beam earned a reputation for being fearless, visionary and ultimately, unforgettable. From his early years growing up on Manitoulin Island to his turbulent years spent at a residential school, this documentary explores how these early experiences not only impacted Beam’s life but also his art. Location: Museum of Anthropology, Screening time: 65 minutes.

Only in a world this cool could a Cree guy (me), on Coast Salish territory (Vancouver) visit the Museum of Anthropology to learn about the life and work of an Ojibway/Anishnabe (Carl Beam) artist from a Mohawk man (Greg Hill). In a world where many people (it seems) prefer to think of Indian art (and indeed, Indians) as relics, artifacts or something belonging to the past, last night was the perfect example of how a person and their work can transcend time and space. This in my mind is one of the things good art is supposed to do. Carl Beam’s vibrant display of painting, collaged images and text, not to mention his work in other mediums including architecture, installation, pottery, broadcasting and curriculum development and the places he studied and lived the and choices he made, all seem to depict a LIFE that IS art. And though the artist has now passed from this world his work continues to resonate and speak for itself which is another item of criteria that I think validates it. His work is also a clear example of culture that is alive and vibrant and is completely appropriate in a contemporary context. But the work and many of the things Carl Beam did outside of the studio or art gallery deeply reflect his roots and values (which is key) as an Anishnabe person. Only an Anishnabe person could have created this work and only Carl Beam could have created it in this fashion - it is completely original and you will experience nothing like it any other place or at any other time. Dig it while you can.

©2011 Champsteen Publishing


  1. You said it! Too bad it's only here for two months.

    --the groupie

  2. ...without question, one of my faves, no substitute for seeing some of the pieces in their proper setting...great running into you, "Erika the Historian" - *note, i recommended to Greg Hill he investigate a Bob Dylan song called "Jokerman", from his 84 album, "Infidels" - youtube it perhaps - it seems clear to me, that this song spoke to Carl Beam (as well as me, great video, too...something i never thought i'd hear myself say)