The purple square represents the relative size of the portrait to a 2 metre x 2 metre maximum size allowed.
Home: Vancouver, British Columbia
Title: The Painter
Media: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 60 x 45 cm
What relationship do Indigenous people have to the eternal? At some point, it was predicted that Indigenous people would disappear and live on only in anthropological representations – ones that quantified and measured us and left us forever in a state of romanticization. Indigenous complexity was often erased in these portrayals. Temporally we are expected to represent a time that precedes us. Through this oil-painted self-portrait, I ask what potential lives in the spaces left unpainted. The oscillation between presence and absence leaves us unsure of whether the figure is appearing or vanishing. Instead of Indigeneity being a defined answer, I propose it as an unanswered question. What possibility lives in the undefined?
Lauren Crazybull is a Niitsítapi (Member of Kainai First Nation), Dené artist currently living in Vancouver, BC. In her work, Lauren considers Indigenous presence and multiplicity through paintings, often portraiture, creating worlds where honest portrayals trespass onto romantic representations of Indigeneity. Working primarily in portraiture, a long-standing genre that is often embedded with an imbalance of power between the artist/viewer and sitter, Crazybull seeks to examine the relationship between herself as an artist and the individuals she paints. Through this ongoing work, Lauren uses her practice as a way to assert her humanity, and advocate, in diverse and subtle ways, for the innate intellectual, spiritual, creative and political fortitude of Indigenous peoples.