Thanks to Tee S. Hawkins and Kenya Gales over at Queer 2 the T, PR Radio’s top-ranking show, for a great interview about The Skin I’m In. Tee’s great questions led to an in-depth conversation about body, identity, spirituality, and intergenerational perspectives in the digital-age LGBTQ community. We also talk in depth about the amazing work of featured artists and collaborators Rande Cook and Zulu, and I share new information about my next film project Zen & the Art of Dying and its queer central character, the pioneering Zenith Virago.
Thunderbird and orca totem by Rande Cook, image courtesy of the Museum Volkenkunde Leiden, the Netherlands
Rande Cook returned to the Netherlands to attend the official unveiling and exhibition opening of “The Story of the Totem Pole” an interactive exhibition at the Museum Volkenkunde Leiden. The central element of the exhibition, which exhibits first nations traditions of the American Pacific Northwest and Canada, is the massive 8-meter thunderbird and orca totem pole designed by Cook and completed by him, along with a core team of fellow Kwakwaka’wakw carvers and painters. This is the first and only totem pole in the Netherlands. The opening was commemorated by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet and included opportunities to share traditional costumes and dances with attendees. See more photographs of the events and exhibition here.
First Nations artist Rande Cook, here at his studio on Bridge Street in Victoria, was selected from an open call to artists from bands across the Pacific Northwest to participate in an exhibition in the Netherlands. Photograph by: Lyle Stafford, timescolonist.com
Kwakwaka’wakw history – from the mass loss of art during the potlatch ban in the 1880s through persistent poverty on reserves – is all connected in his art. But at the same time, Cook is conscientious of defining his own voice and moving across traditional boundaries that have separated First Nations art from others.
“I push myself, not only to create my own distinctive style, but to continue to tell stories – stories of today,” he said. “I want to connect with the rest of the world.
Rande Cook is at it again, this time collaborating with artist Peter Lewis to create the coolest “drinking fountain” I’ve ever seen.
The original was commissioned for Duncan, BC’s centennial. Rande’s sculpture will be cast in fiberglass by artist Richard Gibson to produce the finished piece. In all, 25 clones will be cast and “sold at $45,000 to global collectors, institutions and cities saluting the City of Totems” with funds going back into the Duncan treasury.
Artist Rande Cook has another show opening next week on Vancouver Island. A joint show with artist Sonny Assu “Ebb and Flow” will run June 1- Sept. 1 at the Nanaimo Art Gallery, which is located on the VIU Campus.
Rande will give an artist’s talk at 4:30 PM on June 1.
Nanaimo Art Gallery: 330 – 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9R 5S5