Reconciliation / Coincidence (2010)

Reconciliation/Coincidence was part of the group exhibition Art and Social Justice; curated by AA Bronson for the Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary, New York City, in the Fall of 2010. My work was composed of a display of books in a vitrine and a folder explaining the ‘reconciliation’ in process and the ‘coincidence’ at hand.

In summary, my father was a graduate student at Union (1956-57). The books in Reconciliation/Coincidence were acquired during his year there, along with a booklet of sermons he wrote that year. They fortified his views and helped to shape the actions of his vocation. He was an Anglican Church minister and tacitly supported the Indian residential school system.

In 2008 the Prime Ministers of Australia and Canada made landmark apologies for the 'Stolen Generations' and the Indian Residential school system respectively. My work, We Are Sorry in Melbourne (2009) and at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (2010) commemorated these apologies. Coinciding with this work, I made the Artists and Activists pamphlet for Printed Matter in 2010.

This has led me to reconsider and reconcile my year (1974-75) as a high school student at the former Carcross Indian Residential School. From 1911 – 1969 it was one of approximately 130 schools of a nation-wide network spearheaded by the Church and the federal government. As an ‘alternative’ school (c. 1970), the Carcross Community Education Centre it was an innovative and progressive model, however, the underlying damage of the Indian residential school system was only felt as a vague undercurrent in the Community.

The re-thinking I’ve done for Reconciliation/Coincidence has pushed my understanding of the value of these two landmark public apologies and the reconciliation process that ideally takes place in their wake. There are still many stories to be told.