Stekyawden Syndrome offers another way to look at the anxiety of Canadian and Indigenous relations. Stekyawden is a mountain in Hazelton, home to my Great Grandmother Edith MacDougal on Gitksan Territory. The “Painted Goat” is a story that was told to me growing up. A story essentially about bullying those who are unable to defend themselves. The project was a commission of Bracken Hanuse Corlett, a (Wuikinuxv/Klahoose Nations) muralist / painter / writer / singer / songwriter. I asked him to design and paint a mural that speaks to my charge that the problems that exist with reconciliation are that native people have Stockholm Syndrome and that in order that we may heal we must acknowledge the power imbalance that exists between Canada/Crown and Indigenous peoples here in North America. We cannot function and move forward in a captor/captive relationship. This charge is up for discussion, which was what I intended to provoke. Are we captives? I say that we are. I believe that until we break free of this relationship can we CANNOT grow and heal. Respectfully, I acknowledge the injustices we are witnessing in the media on Indigenous men and women. The billy goat is off centre to the left and the mountain goat is more centred with red paint on its neck. Please read the story at the gallery to learn more about the relationship I am trying to depict.
– Skeena Reece
Bracken Hanuse Corlett is an interdisciplinary artist hailing from the Wuikinuxv and Klahoose Nations. He began working in theatre and performance in 2001 and eventually transitioned towards his current practice that fuses painting and drawing with digital-media, audio-visual performance, animation and narrative. He is a graduate of the En’owkin Centre of Indigenous Art and went to Emily Carr University of Art and Design for a B.F.A. in Visual Arts. He has studied Northwest Coast art, carving and design from acclaimed Heiltsuk artists Bradley Hunt and his sons Shawn Hunt and Dean Hunt and was a recipient of the 2014 BC Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art. He has recently received public art commissions from the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Mural Festival and maintains an everyday practice in the confines of his studio in the Downtown Eastside with frequent escapes to a home in the woods.
Some of his notable exhibitions, performances and screenings have been at Grunt Gallery, Museum of Anthropology, Unit PITT Projects, Vancouver International Film Festival, Vancouver Art Gallery (FUSE), Three Walls Gallery, Paramount Theater, Ottawa International Animation Festival, SAW Gallery, Royal BC Museum, Open Space, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Urban Shaman, Mackenzie Art Gallery, ImagineNative and Toronto International Film Festival.