Hunger Strike Sparks Visual Poetry

Authored by: WAG Staff on January 28, 2018

Tayna Lukin Linklater. The Treaty is in The Body, 2017. Film still.

How does a film with no audio relate to language? For Tayna Lukin Linklater, The Treaty is in The Body (2017) functions as a form of activism, “a series of reflections on Indigenous women’s work that consider treaty, family, and place.”

The northern Ontario based artist was inspired by the 44-day hunger strike by Chief Theresa Spence. In the winter of 2012-13, the Attawapiskat First Nation, James Bay, Ontario leader took political action over treaty rights and issues facing Indigenous communities. As a response, Lukin Linklater began interviewing a number of women and her Omaskeka Cree relatives from James Bay, gathering their stories about trapping, hunting, sewing, and beading.
Originally from southern Alaskan, Lukin Linklater sees the interviews as honouring the “oral traditions and learning as she translated their experiences into visual poems that resembled bead work on the page.” The poems became canvas banners creating a shelter on the land, which went on to be performed in three cities. The film and installation currently on view in the INSURGENCE/RESURGENCE exhibition serve as Linklater’s treaty investigation since 2012 in the form of text, performance, and installation projects.

February explores the theme of language and storytelling within INSURGENCE/RESURGENCE as artists examine the interconnectedness of the written and spoken word. Join in the language conversation February 11, 3pm for an artist tour and talk with artist Joi T. Arcand on the revitalization of Cree syllabics. The event is included with Gallery admission. See Lukin Linklater’s The Treaty is in The Body and Joi T. Arcand’s work when you visit INSURGENCE/RESURGENCE, on view until April 22.

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