Museum association honours ‘inclusive’ WAG show


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An exhibition that brought a skateboarding halfpipe inside the Winnipeg Art Gallery has earned an outstanding achievement award from the Canadian Museums Association.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/05/2021 (629 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

An exhibition that brought a skateboarding halfpipe inside the Winnipeg Art Gallery has earned an outstanding achievement award from the Canadian Museums Association.

Boarder X, a 2016 WAG show that has since been on display as a travelling exhibition across Canada, bridges the present — the love of skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing among Indigenous youth — with the past, represented by paintings, carvings, textiles, photography, video and other artworks that focus on cultural, political and environmental issues.

Boarder X brings life to a museum by demonstrating and celebrating how art can be inclusive and transformative,” Benoit Legare, the chair of the CMA’s awards and membership committee, says in a video announcement released Monday. “The audience engages with dialogues surrounding relationship with the land and how boarding culture impacts serenity, the environment, politics and nationhood.”

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Artist Jordan Bennett, framed by Vernon Ah Kee’s surfboards, talks about Boarder X, which brings together Indigenous artists, the land and board sports.

Jaimie Isaac, the gallery’s curator of Indigenous and contemporary art, curated the exhibition; its next stop is the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, B.C., starting May 27.

“The Boarder X exhibition developed through my own appreciation. I grew up skateboarding and snowboarding and learning how to surf in my adult life,” Isaac says in the video. “The Boarder X is a celebration but it also uses these practices as vehicles to think about histories of erasure, land sovereignty and continues to challenge conformity and gender expectations and ways that public space is used and who it’s for.”

When Boarder X debuted at the WAG in November 2016, a skateboarding halfpipe was built as a display and a performance piece within Eckhardt Hall, the gallery’s large main-floor space. Indigenous youth gave the halfpipe a spin during the opening of the exhibition, which included works by Mi’kmaq artist Jordan Bennett, from Newfoundland and Labrador, Winnipeg painter Roger Crait and B.C. textile artist and snowboarder Meghann O’Brien.

Among the show’s inclusive components was a workshop where young skateboarders were taught how to build, shape and design their own skateboards.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS A mural of a snowbarding scene is part of the award-winning Boarder X exhibition.


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Alan Small

Alan Small

Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.

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