Linklater’s exhibition, titled Learning, is anchored by two iconic photographs. The first depicts an Oka warrior, Richard Nicholas, standing on top of an overturned Sûreté du Québec vehicle, photographed during the Oka Crisis in 1990. The second is an image of Kurt Cobain playing guitar during Nirvana’s Unplugged session for MTV in 1993. Both of these images are several steps removed from their “originals”: Linklater tracked them down on the web, and re-photographed them from his computer screen using a digital SLR camera. What Linklater presupposes with this pairing are multiple potential meanings, but funnels them through two other elements that speak to the photographs’ “geographical origins and familial relationships”: a print by the late Ojibwa artist Benjamin Chee Chee (from which Linklater’s exhibition takes its name), and a custom-made wall work based on the logo of Ontario Northland, the primary transportation carrier for northern Ontario. While these four elements elide a straightforward explanation of the connections between them, each in turn extend Linklater’s investigations of ownership—from indigenous property rights to the artist’s fluid appropriations of signifiers between popular and indigenous cultures.
Duane Linklater is Omaskêko Cree, from Moose Cree First Nation in Northern Ontario and is currently based in North Bay, Ontario. He obtained a Bachelor of Native Studies and a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Alberta, followed by a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Video at the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College. Recent solo exhibitions include Something about Encounter, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario; Modest Livelihood (in collaboration with Brian Jungen), Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Alberta and the Reva and David Logan Centre Gallery, University of Chicago, Chicago; Beothuck Building, Or Gallery, Vancouver; and Raspberry Cargo, Family Business Gallery, New York City. His work has been included in group shows at The Power Plant, Toronto, Ontario; Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver; UBS Gallery, Redhook, New York City; The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta; and Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton. Linklater is on the long list for the 2013 Sobey Art Award.
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