Travel Blog

19 Sep

Two Spirit Siksika Artist Adrian Stimson’s New Work addresses Colonial Erasure and Sexuality

Adrian Stimson | Image courtesy of the Queer Arts Festival

By Kendell Yan

The only permanent multidisciplinary queer arts hub in Canada, the exciting and radically diverse SUM Gallery, has opened a new show with internationally acclaimed Two Spirit Siksika artist Adrian Stimson. Stimson’s most recent work, an interdisciplinary exhibit titled Naked Napi is a series of sculptures, paintings, and drawings that subvert the colonial erasure of indigenous bodies, autonomy, and the sexual histories of the Blackfoot peoples.

Blackfoot culture, traditional creation stories often feature the character Napi, or old man, as well as old woman, who are quasi-creators. These characters are often tricksters that serve as moral guides, who are in some cases responsible for creating humanity and imparting knowledge onto the Blackfoot people.

By reorganizing the Napi stories and retelling them in a contemporary context Stimson places an emphasis on their nuanced and holistic conceptions of sex, sexuality, and gender and creates an environment where two spirit living and the sexual histories of the Siksika people can be reclaimed and applied to a contemporary audience.

Stimson says, “my intent in creating Naked Napi is to celebrate the human body…to bring them into the present, exorcise the horrors that these Two Spirited people faced, to reclaim our power, bodies and sexuality.”

Naked Napi is open from September 8th through December 8th, Tues to Sat, 12pm to 6pm. Entrance is by donation.

The SUM Gallery is located at 268 Keefer street, suite no. 425 on the fourth floor of the Sun Wah building. Co-curators SD Holman and Paul Wong present Stimson’s Naked Napi in keeping with the gallery’s mandate of representing and supporting indigenous QBIPOC LGBTQ2IA artists that take bold risks and stand with conviction in their transgressive work.

Kendell Yan is a queer, second-generation POC who navigates the hyphen of mixed ethnicity LGBTQ2+ living in Vancouver. Kendell has a penchant for drag Queens and Kings that borders on obsession, and he favours events that encourage free expression, inclusivity, and love in all flavours.

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