Visual Culture and the Politics of Reconciliation

May 23, 2009

bent_boxOne of the issues I’ve been exploring in my recent research involves the ways in which cultural memory is represented through visual culture. How is history communicated through art, architecture, museums and/or memorials to future generations?  In the case of traumatic memory, what are the particular challenges involved in this communication? And how can artistic representation also incorporate issues of survival and resilience as well?

In the case of the IRS TRC in Canada, Coast Salish artist Luke Marsten created the “TRC Bentwood Box,” a box made from a continuous piece of red cedar bark. Marsten’s work incorporates both personal and collective narratives. The artwork carved into the wood pays respect to Marsten’s grandmother’s experiences as a student of the IRS and also represents different aspects from First Nations, Inuit and Métis students who survived of fell victim to the schools.

Once the Commission is re-established and begins to fulfill its mandate, the box will travel with the IRS TRC across the nation.

Image from the TRC website.

2 Responses to “Visual Culture and the Politics of Reconciliation”

  1. John Says:

    Great post! Thank you for sharing!

  2. n.a. Says:

    I’m glad you liked it. And thanks for commenting!


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