Canfor Gallery – October 18, 2019 to January 5, 2020
David Campion & Sandra Shields
Produced and circulated by the reach gallery museum, Abbotsford : curated by Laura Schneider
Grand Theft Terra Firma tackles settler responsibility head-on. David Campion and Sandra Shields disrupt the celebratory mythology of nation building by re-framing the settlement of Canada as a complex heist masterminded by criminals in London and played out on the ground by a gang of greedy thieves. Combining photography and installation, and developed in collaboration with many partners from the Stó:lo community, Grand Theft blends popular culture with original source material to consider Canada’s colonial history within the particularities of local experiences in S’ólh Téméxw, now more commonly known as BC’s Fraser Valley.
The project employs an “unsettling” strategy to explore Canada’s difficult past and our inheritance of its injustices. Blending fictional characters with elements drawn from historical record, the artists create a space where audiences are asked to consider their own relationship to destructive colonial practices. The exhibition supports discussion around emergent notions of personal awareness and responsibility in the process of decolonization, underscoring the possibility for art to participate in the critical discourse on social reconciliation in divided societies.
Featured artwork: David Campion & Sandra Shield. Survey Party, 2016. Inkjet print on vinyl.