Primary Colours / Couleurs Primaires
Primary Colours/Couleurs Primaires was a gathering of artists held on Lekwungen territories, near Victoria, British Columbia from September 23-26, 2017. In this issue, Rungh has compiled five different pieces to provide the reader with differing perspectives on this landmark national event: a Transcript of a conversation with Directors Chris Creighton-Kelly and France Trépanier; three Reflection pieces by artists who attended the gathering – Samaqani Cocahq, Zab Maboungou (in English and French), and David Garneau; and Tara Hogue’s review of Deconstructing Comfort an art show held at Open Space artist run centre featuring the artists from the PC/Cp gathering.
When I received the invitation to participate in the great gathering that was Primary Colours this autumn in the city of Victoria in British Columbia, my feeling was above all that of remembrance. France Trépanier, Chris Creighton-Kelly, myself, and several others had already been there, in a way. We had experienced these gatherings, driven by the desire to see them turn into a pan-Canadian solidarity that could counter the effects of racial and cultural exclusion in our institutions and our communities. That was more than two decades ago… So what could we expect today?
English to French Translation by Scott Daley. Thank you to Rumi Translations
Lorsque je reçus l’invitation à participer à cette grande rencontre que fut Couleurs Primaires, cet automne, dans la ville de Victoria, en Colombie-Britannique, mon sentiment fut avant tout celui d’une remémoration. France Trépanier, Chris Creighton-Kelly, moi et plusieurs autres étions déjà passés par là, d’une certaine manière. Nous avions connu ces rassemblements, animés du désir de les voir se muer en une solidarité pancanadienne susceptible de contrer les effets de l’exclusion raciale et culturelle dans nos institutions et nos communautés. Il y a de cela plus de deux décennies … Alors que pouvait-on espérer aujourd’hui?
And we continue to walk. Taking time to go to our medicines. To speak to our teachers. We do our ceremonies. And we continue to walk. We see the medicine, but we don’t touch them. But we know they are there. We see the ceremonies. But we don’t go to gather. We just continue to walk. To go.
I wonder about artistic privilege. The advantages, attention, and public money granted to select artists, but especially the social margin, passage, and exception we occasionally enjoy. In exchange, artists make the absent present. We reflect the fleeting known in condensed, beautiful, novel, and more permanent or replicable forms. We recite, repeat, refresh, and invent.
The opening reception of Deconstructing Comfort at Open Space artist run centre in Victoria, B.C. in conjunction with the Primary Colours/Couleurs primaires (PC/Cp) gathering on Lekwungen Territory brought together over eighty participants from across Turtle Island, traversing the imposed boundaries of colonial nation states.
Primary Colours/Couleurs primaires (PC/Cp) is a three year initiative designed by Chris Creighton-Kelly and France Trépanier, which seeks to place Indigenous art practices at the centre of the Canadian art system. PC/Cp also asserts that art practices by people of colour, that have roots around the world, play a critical role in any discussion that imagines Canada’s future(s).
This initiative, spanning 2016 to 2018, includes a major, multidisciplinary, trilingual - Lekwungen, French and English - gathering at the Songhees Wellness Centre, on Lekwungen territories, near Victoria BC.
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