"As a Metis artist much of my recent work has involved the (sometimes) dark satire of the concept of wilderness and the erasure of the Indigenous presence from the landscape."
My work attempts to challenge these representations while exploring a more complex understanding of Indigenous relationships to the land - relationships that do not fall within existing dichotomies such as "wilderness" and "civilization."
I call my sculptures "taxidermy hybrids”, because their basic shapes are derived from taxidermy forms that I first manipulate in a variety of ways and then cast. Taxidermy forms have a unique character because they provide basic animal forms, but lack surface details that would be provided by animal pelts, such as fur-texture, ears, and so forth. As such, their simultaneous familiarity to and difference from the animals they represent give them an uncanny effect. This effect, combined with my own sculptural interventions create sculptures that shift between representation, abstraction and the hybrid blending of animal forms as a means of exploring issues of transformation and the vulnerability of humans, other creatures and the natural environment.
My work begins intuitively, often developing out of previous projects or my engagement with objects I find or otherwise encounter in the studio or out in the world. From there I work with the associations derived from these sources, often combining things in unexpected ways until they begin to generate meaning and aesthetic impact that seems worthy of being defined as a finished work of art.
David Hannan is a Metis artist from Ottawa/Mettawa living in Toronto.