Performance by Maria Hupfield and Charlene Vickers

Mar 16, 2017



Gallery, Western Front


7:00 p.m.


To accompany her exhibition John Hupfield’s Woodlands Indian Art + West Coast Indian Art Maria Hupfield collaborated with Charlene Vickers to create a new performance in the gallery.

Wearing matching t-shirts printed with the phrase “Cool Indians,” and fedoras tied with yellow sashes, Hupfield and Vickers began their thirty-minute performance by moving throughout the space while tapping wooden and brass spoons and cups on the floor and walls; a gesture that was repeated using seven ten-foot wooden poles to reach the gallery ceiling. Other props included a series of modular cardboard cones that the artists used as makeshift megaphones to vocalize through in various call and response chants. 

During the performance, Hupfield approached a large banner hanging on the gallery wall that displayed the exhibition title. Using a white paint marker, she wrote a series of words across the textile, including the names of local First Nations, while Vickers moved through the space with a handheld electronic device that emitted different frequencies.  

The work concluded around a piece of fabric folded on the floor where the artists placed beads, an original drawing, and three of their “Cool Indian” t-shirts, alongside a handmade sign that marked the price of the garments. Standing on either side of the objects, Vickers and Hupfield exchanged inside jokes and snippets of dialogue that reflected on the absurdities of display and the value ascribed to community belongings within institutional contexts.  

The performance was accompanied by a text by Lindsay Lachance titled What Am I Forgetting.

Video documentation of this event 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.