Civil rights inform Logan Center exhibit

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL
Assistant to the Editor

Canadian artists Duane Linklater and Brian Jungen, whose Logan Center exhibit “Modest Livelihood” addresses civil rights issues behind a wave of recent protests in Canada, will speak in the tower’s Performance Penthouse, 915 E. 60th St., next Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m.

Logan Center visual arts program curator Monika Szewczyk curated the exhibit, which has been on display since December. It shares its title with the duo’s 2012 silent documentary depicting the two hunting a moose in rural British Columbia with Jungen’s uncle. The 50 minute film, concluding with the skinning of a steaming moose carcass under the cold Canadian air, plays continuously in a dark theater next to a room where footage captured during the making of the movie is projected in a loop.

According to Szewczyk, the show’s title refers to the Canadian political term “moderate livelihood,” which references the legal rights of first nations people – the Canadian term for Native Americans – to make use of their land. The term rose to prominence following a 1999 Canadian Supreme Court ruling declaring that the Mi’kmaq people of Nova Scotia fishing lobsters out of season in their waters were entitled to earn a “moderate livelihood,” but not seek the “accumulation of wealth.”

First nations land use is still governed by a set of 11 “treaties,” struck between the Canadian government and various tribes from 1871 to 1921. In an e-mail to the Herald, Linklater said that both he and Jungen “felt very strongly about the current relevancy of our Treaties.”

Linklater said that “our ancestors ensured that our right to hunt and to subsist was protected. To continue this – we had to go and do it.”

“Just as the Treaty itself is a document both oral and written, we now have produced a visual document.”

The exhibit, Linklater said, is especially relevant in light of recent political developments in Canada, including the “Idle No More” protests – a nationwide movement that has spawned response to Bill C-45, proposed federal legislation opening vast swaths of the country to potential development which some say would compromise the current treaties.

He said his work shares “many of the same concerns of the people in its regards for the continued protection of our Treaty rights.”
“Modest Livelihood” will run through Feb. 3. For more information on the exhibit or the upcoming talk, call the Logan Center at 773-702-2787, send an e-mail to arts@uchicago.edu or visit arts.uchicago.edu.