Sonny Assu / from Interventions On The Imaginary

This work originally appeared in Issue 3.26 (Spring 2015).

The title “Interventions On The Imaginary” is a reference to Marcia Crosby’s essay, “The Construction of the Imaginary Indian,” and situates itself within the realm of remix culture—as digital interventions onto works that contain the colonial gaze. 

These interventions participate in the growing discourse of decolonization, acting as “tags” challenging the colonial fantasy of terra nullius and confronting the dominant colonial culture’s continued portrayal of Indigenous peoples as a vanishing race. 

With the insertion of ovoids, s-shapes, and u-shapes into the images, both the landscape paintings and the Northwest Coast design elements are changed. The landscapes become marked by the spectre of Native presence and the NWC design elements, traditionally two-dimensional in appearance, acquire the illusion of depth through association with Western principles of perspective. I see this bold interruption of the landscapes as acts of resistance towards the colonial subjugation of the First People.



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