Boarder X Receives Honours

In May 2021, the Canadian Museum Association awarded the 2016 exhibition, Boarder X, with an outstanding achievement award!

Boarder X brings life to a museum by demonstrating and celebrating how art can be inclusive and transformative,” says Benoit Legare, Chair of the CMA’s awards and membership committee. We sat down with exhibition curator and WAG curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art, Jaimie Isaac to talk about this achievement.

What was your inspiration for Boarder X?

I created the Boarder X concept back in 2010 and brought it to life at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2016. The concept came from my own interests and practice of growing up skating, snowboarding, and interests in surfing, as ways of connecting to the land and environment around me. The artists in the exhibition made work that draws on their connections to culture and these lifeways through interdisciplinary art forms, and they all engage in these practices which was important in their experience and embodied knowledge.

How does sport, art, and land connect to each other?

As a matter of perspective, I view skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing as vehicles to maintain a relationship and connection to the land. Societies’ relationship to the land and waters are complicated and broken, so being on the land and in the water are ways to connect, repair, and demonstrate a specific knowledge of the landscapes we occupy. The artists have made works that expresses their world views, cultural, and political lens on that connection through their various art forms of photography, film, weaving, new media, carving, installation, sculpture, painting, and mixed media. The exhibition as a whole celebrates adaptation, survival, activism, perseverance, and mobilization for culture and reverence of the land.

How does it feel to receive an outstanding achievement award/what does that mean for you and for the WAG?

I feel super honoured that others see the relevance of this exhibition, and that acknowledgement means a lot. I respect the artists and their level of production, their perspectives and shared interests, and want to acknowledge the host galleries that maintained the spirit of the exhibition in programming and partnerships as the exhibition continues its tour, as well as our programming partner sponsor, Vans Canada.

Where do you see art exhibitions and museums going to continue on this path of inclusivity and transformation?

Embracing change with a vision for inclusivity and transformation is key for systemically colonial institution’s futures and relevance to the communities they serve. Museums must ask themselves what they are doing for the community to deserve the support of the community: can people see themselves in these spaces in more ways than one? How can these spaces be relevant to them? Museums have that responsibility going forward.

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