Mourning and Mayhem: The Work of Adrian Stimson
Curated by Wanda Nanibush; presented by imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
and A Space Gallery.
Toronto's first solo exhibition of multidisciplinary artist Adrian Stimson, featuring a new performance.Mourning and Mayhem: The Work of Adrian Stimson
is a solo exhibition combining two streams of the artist's multidisciplinary practice: his experience in residential school and his commitment to the spirit of the buffalo. Buffalo Boy is the persona developed and lived by artist Adrian Stimson
. Sporting fishnet stockings, a buffalo g-string, corsets, and pearls, Buffalo Boy's transformations and campy shenanigans challenge colonial history as a story of Indigenous disappearance and inferiority. Buffalo Boy's alter ego is Shaman Exterminator who inhabits the spirit of the buffalo here and now as a form of healing and transcendence.
Stimson's installation, photography and performances often enact a reversal of the value system that supports colonialism and the value system that marginalized Indigenous people as uncivilized. Through processes of mourning and mayhem, Stimson's work destabilizes these value systems with wit, irony, and campy humour while at the same time creating symbols of mourning that mark the trauma of colonial history that we wear in our bodies and communities.
Stimson often uses real materials like buffalo hide or the remnants of the actual residential school that he attended in order to ground his camp aesthetic in an actual experience or material reality. It is in the performance of play and the creation of spaces of mourning, in the creation of fictions and the maintenance of alternative histories, in the letting go and holding on to colonial trauma, and the engagement with the sacred and sacrilegious that separates Stimson from the rest as a radical agent of change and not simply a performer of postmodern puns. ... more