Pick of the Day: Rezidents

We couldn't squeeze a review of Rezidents, which runs at Neutral Ground (203-1856 Scarth) until Dec. 19, into prairie dog, but I dropped by the gallery the other day and would definitely recommend checking the show out. It's co-presented by Sakewewak Artists' Collective and includes work by three Aboriginal artists-- Terrance Houle, Jackson 2bears and Peter Brass.

In the summer of 2008, I interviewed Houle about a residency he was participating in that was based in north-central Regina. What he ended up doing was creating a series of photographic vignettes in the neighbourhood using miniatures. The one pictured above is titled Pray for Me. There's three others in the show including one that, with football season having just ended, is particularly timely. In the foreground, it shows a dozen green-clad revellers, while Mosaic Stadium looms in the background. The vignette, from my perspective, comments on the irony of what amounts to a holy shrine in Regina (and Saskatchewan in general) being located in neighbourhood that, outside of game day, most Reginans (and Saskatchewanians in general) avoid like the plague. And when they do deign to visit, how many of them, especially if they've been drinking before and during the game, are rude and condescending to the people for whom the neighbourhood is home?

Of Mohawk ancestry, 2bears currently lives in Victoria. His contribution to Rezidents consists of two video projections (still from one pictured above). Schematically, they resemble Canadian flags, with red bands on the outside edges and white interiors. Instead of the expected maple leafs at the centre, however, there are two images of a young Mohawk drummer. Projected atop the "flags" are texts commenting on the simmering territorial and jurisdictional disputes between Mohawks and Euro-Canadian authorities in Ontario and Quebec.
According to bio material I was able to access on Peter Brass, he's a Saskatchewan artist who holds a degree in English from First Nations University of Canada with a minor in film studios. In his video Bobsledding, two young men join a third man for a housewarming at his new residence (pun perhaps intended). During a night of beer drinking, card-playing and charades Brass explores paradigms of masculinity that exist among inner-city urban youth. Similar themes would seem to be in play in a second video of his in which a young man dressed partially in clown garb roars across the open prairie on a motorcycle.
Neutral Ground is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. there'll be a reception/Chirstmas party at the gallery.


observer said...

was there any info on why the name is written at 2bears?

Gregory Beatty said...

None that I could find. It was just the way his name was written in Neutral Ground's press material. Jackson 2bears (J2B) has his own website at