OVOIDISMPhotos: Blaine Campbell
LAWRENCE PAUL YUXWELUPTUN
September 22, 2016 to September 25, 2017
688 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and produced by Other Sights
Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun is a renowned Vancouver-based artist of Cowichan (Hul’q’umi’num Coast Salish) and Okanagan (Syilx) heritage. For the Larwill Park site, he has conceived a group of sculptures that mark the site with brilliantly coloured ovoid forms.
The ovoid is a rounded oval-rectangular shape that is a key design element unique to Northwest Coast art. This shape is an essential building block from which movements flow or design patterns emanate to form a figure. In traditional Northwest Coast design, ovoids often represent joints (shoulder, hip, wing, pectoral fin), as well as eye sockets and teeth. Traditionally, the ovoid is never depicted as an entity unto itself, but rather an element of a larger design or figure.
Yuxweluptun’s use of the ovoid, rather than following traditional iconography, extricates the form in order to speak to land claims, the history of colonization, Aboriginal rights and self-government, environmentalism and Native philosophy.
In this context Yuxweluptun’s ovoids speak to the past and the present uses of the Larwill Park site, marking that place with a watchful eye, and reminding us as we pass by and through the site that we live, work and interact on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people.