Exhibition Review by Sarah Paradis

Authored by: Sarah Paradis on July 16, 2010

We Are Sorry is a site-specific installation made by the Canadian artist Cathy Busby that is on view until August 22, 2010 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. This exhibition is composed of two banners that were made upon the request of Justice Murray Sinclair to be shown during the National Truth and Reconciliation event, which took place in Winnipeg between June 16th and 18th at the Forks.

Working within a large exhibition space gave Busby the opportunity to customize her art to cater to the dimensions of the walls in Eckhardt Hall. Once the dimensions were measured she then chose to commission the workers at a local banner manufacturing company on Notre Dame Ave to physically and mechanically create her work.

These gigantic 48 lb banners immediately juxtapose the abstract patterning of the Tyndall stone, bringing attention to the simplicity of their pink-tinted fabrics. The subtle coloration of these fabricated images derive from the pixilated areas of skin pigment in the appropriated photographs of Stephen Harper and Kevin Rudd which were taken from video footage of their public apology speeches. By incorporating these pigments into the banners, Busby creates an essence of individualism pertaining to two separate nations sharing one vision of healing through the act of apologizing.

By appropriating political subject matter to synthesize with textile material, Cathy Busby’s We Are Sorry images begin speaking a 21st century language, which makes reference to the movement away from traditional art and towards that of digital, conceptual, and multi media art. These banners symbolically acknowledge the past and confront the future within their visually gigantic lettering, thus dwarfing the viewers and taking an authoritarian stance in the name of justice for all.




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