This year, Richmond’s Your Kontinent Film Festival is honoured to be exhibiting the innovating works of not only a local gem, but an inspiring representative to the Aboriginal art scene and devotee to the indigenous community. Dana Claxton, a Hunk-papa Lakota Sioux woman, invests the only-natural defiance she feels towards the displacement of her ancestors as result of American imperialism and Indian Wars.
Throughout her upbringing, she was a witness of injustice, colonization, discrimination, and racism. Exposed to the aftermath of Sitting Bull’s forced-migration at the US Canadian border and eventual surrender, the course of the Sioux circumstances and tradition was forever altered. The clash that left a strain on her lineage and identity, motivated her to preserve her heritage by recording and re-capture those unjust periods in history through platforms such as performance, film, photography, and new media.
In infusing traditionalism with the surrealism that sprung from Westernized influences, Claxton tackles such themes: gender studies, stereotypes, historical context, and Indigenous culture. The YK Festival is featuring her Video Tipi, a 30 ft. figure that will function as a festive gathering place for the day where all kinds of activities and workshops are scheduled. Storytelling, morning yoga, live performance, and a tea party are only a few. At night (from 9pm ’til midnight), she will be showing her much-anticipated video projections, which, according to herself, “considers Indigenous cosmologies and a connection to the sky, people and supernatural worlds both from an ancient place of knowing and being, as well from a contemporary place of techno dance music and Lakota Sioux healing songs.”
Dana Claxton urges her audience to experience through her pieces interconnectedness, spirituality, and a sense of enlightenment from the all-encompassing sky. In addition, on Saturday July 20th, she will be leading the construction of a large medicine wheel—a unique and special project—that everyone can take part.
Support Dana Claxton, the award winner of the prestigious VIVA award and the well-versed Canadian art teacher who is currently a facilitator at the UBC Department of Art History, Visual Art, & Theory, as she shouts out to the Coast Salish People and the people of Musquem while making socio-political statements!
To further look into her motivation and pieces, check out her personal site!