Colonial Blanket for Peoples Who Refuse to Vanish
This work began by stitching together a patchwork chronicle of the past five centuries on the marble floor of the rotunda of the former provincial courthouse ― now the Vancouver Art Gallery ― as part of Gallery Gachet’s Nothing About Us Without Us project.
The documents include letters from Columbus, Vespucci and Cabot announcing their discoveries of the New World; reports on the internment of people of Japanese heritage during WWII; government recommendations regarding the demolition of Africville in Nova Scotia; and glossy pages from the 1968 hardcover “Vanishing Peoples of the Earth” facetiously lamenting the “disappearance” of Maori, Inuit, Ainu and other Indigenous Nations. Taken separately, each document is an artefact of its time; together, these papers illustrate the arc of occupation and the canny romanticizing of attempted genocide that continues to fail in the face of resistance.
Afuwa was born in Guyana, on Karinya and Akawaio lands; she makes art on Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, Squamish, and Coast Salish territories. Her work encompasses language, the body, and diasporic memory.
Aerlyn Weissman is a media artist and filmmaker. The recipient of two Genie Awards, Aerlyn has a Master’s degree in digital media and received the 2009 Mayor’s Arts Award for Film and New Media.