Recommendation-- play this audio file while reading this to get the full hip hop flavah of this show..
Back in the mix again is Tobique First Nation hip-hop artist Beaatz with his new track One Last Time featuring fifteen-year-old Tobique First Nations MC Speechless, Eskasoni MC Gearl andIll Fundz also out of Tobique First Nation. One Last Time speaks on the injustices suffered by Indigenous cultures around Turtle Island through the eyes of these young hip-hoppers coming out of the east coast of Canada.
While I was enjoying my time outside on the frozen lakeshore my fingers were numb so I sought harbor from 2 degree weather inside the "Power Plant." The Power Plant is a wonderful alternative art space for cutting edge exhibitions and multi media installations. I always try to see what is happening there because the exhibitions are usually powerful and provocative.This time was no exception.
I was absolutely stunned by "Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture" organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and amused to find artists from both sides of the border including many from New Mexico.
The first installation that blew my mind was "Native Kids Ride Bikes," four bikes artfully tricked out as lowriders each one skillfully crafted with elements of aboriginal art like fox skins, bone and horse hair. Each bike gleams in a different color symbolizing the four sacred directions of the earth: white (north), black (west), red (south) and yellow (east). I confess I have a certain comfort level growing up exposed to Canadian art and art of first peoples like "eskimo" sculptures, carvings and totem poles but these bikes were so right now reflecting our current fascination with bikes and youth yet they incorporated ancestral elements and materials in a spiritual respectful fashion. Did I mention the hip hop playing throughout? This show just felt good!
Part of developing one's sense for collecting and an "art IQ" begins with getting out there in our world and seeing what there is, wherever we are. Once you begin the practice of viewing art you become familiar with artists you like, remember them and most likely see them again. It will enrich your life.
I will definitely be on the lookout for more work by Dylan Miner and continue to visit the "Power Plant" whenever I go to Toronto. I never know what I will find but I know it will invariably bring me to my knees.