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“That was just the way things were back then.”
“Well, I can’t argue with the dead.”
In this work, which juxtaposes the archival and the current, traditional language and contemporary jargon, and the “first person” perspective with the false omniscience of written history, Sxwchálten (Dustin Rivers) uses photography, writing and video to inscribe previously unheard voices on the historical record. Whether these are the voices of the dead or of the living is left to the observer to discover.
Sxwchálten (Dustin Rivers) is a Sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish) multi-disciplinary artist. Renewal of heritage and language are key aspects layered through his practice. Indigneous culture, tradition, and history intersect with indigenous political discourse to create messages and dialogue. It in these crossroads he combines his polemics, with artistic vision, and cultural knowledge to present ideas, concepts, and stories unique to his upbringing and identity. His previous work has been visual art, media art, story-telling, and activism within the indigenous communities. He is an accomplished artist and language revitalization activist.
Vancouver Can’t Argue With The Dead is part of the UNIT/PITT series Ill Repute, a Vancouver 125 project with additional support from The BC Arts Council. UNIT/PITT Projects gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Vancouver, the British Columbia Arts Council, the Canada Council, and the support of our donors, members, volunteers and of our community of artists and cultural workers.