My journey with the Samuel de Champlain monument began in the fall of 1992 and came full circle in 2013 when National Gallery of Canada curator Greg Hill invited me to be in the Sakahàn exhibition. I contributed an outdoor installation of several images of my Champlain series Seize the Space and I also renewed the portrait sessions of Seize the Space during the run of Sakahàn by inviting the public to pose on the monument platform where the Indian Scout had once resided.
The original plan for the monument did not include an Indian figure, but one was added in 1924 and designed to have the Indian figure placed in a canoe. The project however, ran out of money and the canoe was never added. The year 2013 was also marked by my participation as a panelist and artist-in-residence at the Carleton University Champlain colloquium: Champlain on the Anishinabe Aki: Histories and Memories of an Encounter. This coincided with the fulfillment of a long-time dream of working with Carleton’s Geomatics and Cartography Research Centre and incorporating their living atlas component into my website.
These projects were realized with a grant from Carleton’s History Department. For my artist-in-residence project, I brought a large photograph of the Indian Scout to the colloquium on the first day and offered the participants an opportunity to pose with the image. The idea was to produce a conversation about the role of monuments and indigenous history. And, as with my portrait project at the monument, I offered each sitter a print and emailed a jpeg version as well. My presentation at the Colloquium was a conversation between me and the Indian Scout, with Greg Hill reading the part of the Scout. The conversation was based on the phrase Lest We Forget and decades of service the Scout put in before his removal and transfer to Major’s Hill Park in 1999.
View the ATLAS here.
DEFACEMENT. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MONUMENTS ARE ALTERED?
Manuel Piña Baldoquin, Michael Taussig, Jeff Thomas, Candice Hopkins, Richard W. Hill
Moderated by Ronald Hawker
Stronger than Stone Symposium November 22, 2014
My presentation begins at 1:56.