Past is Prologue: 20 years of COSMOSQUAW

Nov 10, 2018



Grand Luxe Hall, Western Front


6:00 p.m.


A screening and discussion with Sḵwx̱wú7mesh storyteller Salia Joseph and Cree-Métis poet Samantha Nock about Lori Blondeau’s performance COSMOSQUAW (1998), which took place at Western Front in 1998 as part of the Re-Inventing the Diva Festival. Through parody and cultural celebration, the work offers a critical exploration of Indigenous women’s relationship to western beauty standards. Documentation of the performance was digitized as part of Acts of Transfer, a project that transferred over fifty tapes by female-identified artists from the Western Front archive into digital format. 

During their talk, Joseph and Nock honoured, contextualized, and expanded on the themes of COSMOSQUAW to reflect on what has changed and what has stayed the same twenty years after the work’s inception. Following a screening of COSMOSQUAW, Nock read two poems: “pâhpowin” and “Vicks,” which was written in response to Blondeau’s work. 

Presented as part of Past is Prologue, a series that invited artists, writers, curators, and critics to produce a new work using the Western Front archive as a critical point of departure; and as part of Recollective: Vancouver Independent Archives Week, a joint initiative of 221A, Artspeak, grunt gallery, Rungh Magazine, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, VIVO Media Arts Centre, and Western Front, with support from the Canada Council for the Arts. 

Video documentation of this talk is available upon request.

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Western Front is a non-profit
artist-run centre in Vancouver.

We acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as traditional owners of the land upon which Western Front stands.