What is “Canadian” art? And how visible is IBPoc representation in the context of “Canadian” art?
These are questions that have been brought up regularly in our team meetings at Partial, but regrettably, it wasn’t until the devastating revelations of the victims of the residential schools in Kamloops that we took a hard look at how to turn simple words into action. As a platform that aims to elevate Canadian artists and change the traditionally-held view of what Canadian art is, it cannot be ignored that the voice of Indigenous artists is integral to this quilt and one that requires a greater presence on Partial. We also understand that this is a relationship that is based on trust, and one that requires work, commitment, and wisdom from those from the Indigenous community.
Our team is comprised of immigrants to this country, in recent generations or generations long past. Our co-founders are both alumni of Ryerson University, the namesake of the architect of the residential school system. Partial was established and nurtured on the traditional territory of the Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Métis, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. We are settlers. A land acknowledgment on a webpage is just a small first step.
As we continue to learn and aim to create a safe space for Indigenous artists on our art platform, effective immediately, Partial will be redirecting its 2021 charitable contributions to a cause that is committed to the preservation and celebration of Indigenous culture, rights, and reconciliation in Canada (we already have an organization in mind that is doing admirable work in this space, but additional recommendations are welcomed. You may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Additionally, all accepted self-Identifying Indigenous artists will be exempt from Artist Membership fees indefinitely. This is just a small act of reconciliation, and we all have more work to do in acknowledging Canada’s historical and ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples and their culture. If we are to celebrate Canadian art, we must collectively work harder to amplify Indigenous artists and voices in the digital landscape.
Tammy Yiu Coyne
31 May 2021
To read the Truth and Reconciliation Reports (2015), please visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website. If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:
Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419