FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 22, 2020) — The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College (FAC) is excited to be the only United States venue to present “Facing the Monumental,” a major solo exhibition of works by Rebecca Belmore, on view Feb. 21–May 31, 2020. One of Canada’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Belmore creates artworks that respond to the pressing concerns of our time with beauty, sensitivity and resilience. The exhibition originates from and is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). It is the largest survey of Belmore’s work ever presented; the touring version presented by the FAC features 14 major works including photography, sculpture and multi-media installations from the past three decades.
A member of Lac Seul First Nation (Anishinaabe), Belmore has given voice in her work to social and political issues for over 30 years. She employs a visual language that is both poetic and provocative to contend with subjects such as water and land rights, women’s lives and dignity, and state violence against Indigenous people. Belmore has created performance art since the late 1980s, and its immediacy infuses her diverse creative practice. The exhibition’s title comes from a performance staged in Toronto’s Queen’s Park on Canada Day in 2012, where she transformed an oak tree surrounded by monuments to colonialism into a temporary “non-monument” to the Earth.
“Facing the Monumental” presents iconic works from Belmore’s career as well as new works created for the exhibition. “The Named and Unnamed” (2002), a multimedia video installation based on her Vancouver performance, “Vigil,” was created in direct response to the disappearance of more than 60 Indigenous women from the city’s Downtown Eastside. Within that same year it was discovered that serial killer Robert Pickton was responsible for the murder of some of these women. Over the course of her career, Belmore has repeatedly drawn awareness to the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women through works such as “sister” (2010) and “1181” (2014)—the number that equals the total of women reported missing and murdered in Canada, as reported by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2014.
“Belmore’s powerful works reveal a compelling duality: her lyrical representations of human dignity, the beauty of youth, a sleeping subject, the power of water or the quieting effect of snow are all images that exist in contrast to the turmoil of our world. Her art asks us to consider where we are, and what we face in our future,” said Wanda Nanibush, exhibition curator and AGO Curator of Indigenous Art. “These works, seen in isolation, are beautiful. The facts they address, the questions they ask and the violence they reflect on—that is what is political.”
In her new work, “Tower” (2018), a 15-foot sculpture of vertically stacked metal shopping carts filled with clay complicates the way that we see urban development in the context of increasing homelessness. Belmore brilliantly combines symbols of capitalism and real-estate to confront the quandaries that arise around gentrification, while poignantly presenting the shopping cart as a vessel for the worldly belongings of a person with no home.
“The world will be a different place in 20 years, and we have no idea what that looks like,” said Belmore. “I think that’s why we have conversations, that’s why we have to listen, that’s why we make art.”
The FAC presentation of “Facing the Monumental” is organized by Polly Nordstrand (Hopi), FAC Curator of Southwest Art. The exhibition has previously toured in Canada to the Remai Modern in Saskatoon and the Musée d’art contemporain in Montréal. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will be the only US venue to host this exhibition.
Belmore and Nanibush will participate in a dialogue about the show on in Colorado College’s Packard Music Hall on Friday, Feb. 21, that is open to the public in celebration of the exhibition opening. Visit fac.coloradocollege.edu for more details.