Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Nationalist and a Generalist; Like an Officer and a Gentleman?

Today, posted of one last fragment of my recent East-Coast journeys--a review of "Republic," an exhibition at the Rooms in St. John's that touches on the resurgence of separatist sentiment (however ironic) in Newfoundland.

What I learned from writing this review (or what, well, came into sharper focus) is that I am a nationalist and a generalist. I feel excited about Canada and its constituent parts, as well as art that addresses same. I'm also a bit of a dilettante—I love to see exhibitions that grab from many different areas to make their point.

"Republic" was satisfying for me on both these tendencies. In St. John's there are repeated underground battles between various parties raising the old Newfoundland-nation tricolour flag on a hill overlooking the city and those who tear down that same flag. It was great to see an exhibition addressing these very Canadian-styled tensions.

Also, the show integrates consumer products from today, like "Free Nfld" T-shirts, with archival citizenship documents and contemporary art. I freaking love this kind of eclectic approach wherein many different forms of visual culture are brought together in an investigation of something that is, when scattered, kind of invisible.

So there ya be. Next up: I become both an Officer and a Gentleman. Maybe.... Not.

Image of Angela Antle's Mishta-Shipu 2009 from

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