Bear Witness

bear witness 1For the last thirty years photographer Jeffrey Thomas has been taking photos of his son Bear in urban settings alongside representations of indigenous peoples that cause the viewer to consider the impact of colonization and systemic racism.  The exhibit We Are On Treaty Land currently at the Winnipeg Art Gallery includes two photos from the Bear series.  Bear was twelve years old when his Dad photographed him in front of a Treaty One plaque at Lower Fort Garry.  Jeffrey Thomas says the often playful photos he does of his son are a way of processing what it means to grow up as an urban Iroquois.  How is that different from growing up on a reserve? 
jeffrey-thomas-indian-treaty-no-1Curator Jaimie Isaac says in these photos Thomas deliberately portrays his son in a way that resembles the mug shots which might be taken of prisoners- with both a front and back view.  This alludes to the high rate of incarceration of First Nation young men.

Bear who continues to be the subject of his father’s photographs is 37 years old now. Canadians may know him best as DJ Bear Witness a member of the Juno award-winning music group A Tribe Called Red.

Other posts……

What’s a Bandolier Bag

Abstract and Frustrating

Whalebone Sculptures

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, winnipeg art gallery

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.