(Note: this video contains moments of silence)
As a performance artist, I’m moved to make decolonial gestures as a way to open up space for Indigenous bodies/knowledge(s) to be seen. I carried the deer hide to that British Museum. I was thinking I was carrying the land back to them. I decided to use the hide to clean the glass. I was thinking I could smear the smell of the land onto the glass. I was thinking I could change their view(s) by moving the hide across the surface (if only for a moment). I was thinking this would help them to not feel so lonely. I was thinking about how dirty the glass was. I was thinking about #LANDBACK, and trying to understand its complications and its truths. I was thinking about bringing Tahltan Artist history into conversation with the Ancestor Artists, and Ancestor Artworks present in that space because they would remember. This deer hide was tanned by Kaska/Tahltan Elder Artist Penny Louie. This smoked tanned hide was made on our Tahltan territory. Penny Louie has been instrumental in the revival of this artform in our community. She wrote a book about it called – My Story of Making Hides (2009). It is also important to acknowledge this deer walked, lived, and ate, our territory for its entire lifetime. The deer is an archive of land knowledge. This short video is an echo of these land back gestures. I’ve organized the video to prioritize space for the Ancestor Artists/Artwork to speak back to us. There needs to be space for their voices, for their gestures back to us. In those moments, they are speaking back to you.
By Peter Morin, July 18, 2021