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Perception

A Photo Series

By KC Adams
Foreword by Katherena Vermette
Other primary creator Cathy Mattes
Categories: Social Science, Indigenous Studies, Photography, Photoessays & Documentaries, Discrimination & Race Relations, Education, Social Science, Language Arts, Art, Art & Politics, Political Science, Human Rights, Colonialism & Post-colonialism
Imprint: HighWater Press

Hardcover : 9781553797869, 120 pages, May 2019
Ebook (PDF) : 9781553797876, 120 pages, September 2019
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781553797883, 120 pages, July 2019
Ebook (MobiPocket) : 9781553798682, 120 pages, September 2019
Ebook (MobiPocket) - Unavailable

Excerpt

Cathy Mattes

The Perception Series:
KC Adams, and the Value
of Socially Engaged Art

Art is a catalyst for social change, and Winnipeg-based artist KC Adams (Oji-Cree) is a social-change agent. Her work addresses racism toward Indigenous peoples, engagement with the land and ceremony, the association between nature and technology, and the benefits of community and kin. With ceramics, photography, beadwork, collaborative performance, and installation, she holds up a mirror to society, and provides opportunities for viewers to participate, reflect, and strategize to make personal and collective change. Adam’s photo-based series Perception challenges racist stereotypes and remedies the aftershocks of historical colonization and its continuous and present hold on contemporary Canadian society. The series relies on willing participants and an invested audience, and is best described as socially engaged art.

Although all art invites social interaction, socially engaged art depends on the involvement of others. Historically, it occurred in art galleries, where artists made artworks which were participatory and appealing, like convening visitors to share food or personal narratives in exhibition spaces. This blurred the lines between artist and audience, and broadened understandings of what constitutes art. Physical art objects or video recordings became the residuals or documentation of the process-based artwork instead of the main component.

Socially engaged art now often happens outside of gallery spaces, and artists are driven to not only challenge understandings of art, but also to make social change. They address concerns like gender inequality, poverty, or the effects of colonial oppression. They collaborate with the public to paint murals on buildings, make posters for distribution, organize pop-up exhibitions in storefronts, and create performance works at community gatherings. They activate conversations that promote self-reflection or cross-cultural education and respond to the current issues of their time. For Indigenous artists, socially engaged art is more than a yearning to make right in society; it is also about their own relationships to the land, and a way to personally and collectively heal from the negative impact of colonization. It requires making art in a good way, grounded in culture, community, and kinship ties.

Table of contents

7   Foreword Katherena Vermette
9   Preface KC Adams
15   The Perception Series: KC Adams, and the Value of Socially Engaged Art Cathy Mattes
23   Perception: A Photo Series
 

Description

Social action art in book form, Perception: A Photo Series encourages readers to look, and then look again.

Tired of reading negative and disparaging remarks directed at Indigenous people of Winnipeg in the press and social media, artist KC Adams created a photo series that presented another perspective. Called “Perception Photo Series,” it confronted common stereotypes of First Nation, Inuit and Métis people to illustrate a more contemporary truthful story. First appearing on billboards, in storefronts, in bus shelters, and projected onto Winnipeg’s downtown buildings, Adam’s stunning photographs now appear in the book, Perception: A Photo Series.   Meant to challenge the culture of apathy and willful ignorance about Indigenous issues, Adams hopes to unite readers in the fight against prejudice of all kinds.

Perception is one title in The Debwe Series.

Reviews

Selected for the Outstanding 2020 International Books List

- The United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY)

KC Adams's Perception series absolutely captured the most devastating perceptions from the colonial mind, and the accompanying lack of knowledge about the truth of Canada's historical relationship to Indigenous Peoples. Succinctly and beautifully, KC transformed that narrative in this series. It is a prolific piece which will always be a source of inspiration for truth and reconciliation. It is unforgettable. Kichi miigwetch KC Adams!

- Tina Keeper, award-winning actor/producer

Indeed, the potential lasting impact of this collection can’t be underestimated; this is socially engaged art at its best.

- Kirkus Reviews

KC Adams' Perception series challenges us to bridge thought and reality; emerging on the other side better having challenged ourselves to see Indigenous peoples for what they really are. We are grandparents, parents, children - and everything in between.  As Adams shows through this incredible exhibition of faces and feelings, we are beautiful, whole, and complex peoples irreducible to stereotypes and slander.

- Romeo Saganash, MP for Quebec (2011-2019), lawyer

Perception is an impressive collection. ..an inside look into a living legend’s photography practice (I say this in no uncertain terms) and, more importantly, as Adams intended, a reminder to look past the hurt in search of a love that can bring us all home.

- Lindsay Nixon, editor-at-large for Canadian Art, award-winning author of nîtisânak