Shedding light on the dark, hidden history that Canada continues to harbour towards its Indigenous people is a main driving force behind my work. I often use humour as a way to ease the viewer in or out of the conversations I create, and the use of autobiographical components is my way of placing a human face on the contemporary and historical realities of being an Indigenous person in Canada. Within this, I deal with the loss of language, loss of cultural resources, and the effects of colonization upon the Indigenous people of North America.
I use painting, sculpture, large scale installations, print, and photography as a way to challenge our Western civilization’s consumption culture through introspection of our consumer driven monolithic ways.
By melding Kwakwa_ka_’wakwak art, cultural and societal structures with various Western art movements, I am challenging and persisting that consumerism, branding, and technology are new modes of totemic representation.
Sonny Assu isa We Wai Kai visual artist working in Campbell River, B.C.