Bob Boyer: His Life's Work
SCANA: SCANA and Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Canada
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[View of prairie landscape, caption “SCANA was formally incorporated in January 1985”, followed by close-up of flowing river]
Narrator: Aboriginal artists from across Canada came together and formed the Society of Canadian Artists of Native Ancestry or SCANA. Bob played a leadership role and his work was invaluable for the recognition and maturing of Indian fine art.
Lee-Ann Martin: When Gerald McMaster and I were co - curating Indigena in 1992. Bob and Alfred Youngman were co- chairs of SCANA which is the Society of Canadian Artists of Native Ancestry and Gerald and I approached SCANA to, as...on behalf of the contemporary native arts community to support this exhibition which was looking at the 500 years. It was indigenous perspectives on the 500 hundred years since Columbus sailed the ocean blue so to speak….So it was scheduled for 1992, and Bob and Alfred, but Bob especially I remember really supporting this project…supporting the fact that there was two indigenous curators at a national museum who were organizing this exhibition. It hadn’t been done at that national level before by two native curators.
[Interview footage with Alfred Young Man, Department Head,
Indian Fine Arts, First Nations University of Canada]
Alfred Young Man: Through the institution of SCANA we were always arguing for inclusion of Indian fine art at the gallery, at the level of a national gallery in Ottawa. Which they never would do right down to this day. They will not accept the idea of a native art history. They will collect artwork done by an artist who happens to be a native person. But they will not accept that native person’s right to their own history and that person’s right to be called a First Nations artist - Indian, Cree, Blackfeet whatever …so in that sense he’s left us a legacy that has to be fulfilled yet. We need to finally get that notion of Indian art history accepted by the National Gallery of Canada.
[Interview with Viviane Gray, Manager, Indian and Inuit Art Centre, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Viviane Gray: By the time I meet him he had already traveled to Mongolia. He had a world view that far surpassed mine. But he was the kind of person that never put you down because he knew more than you, I found that very Indian, very native. I found that, that quality really helped him as a leader with other artists, they felt comfortable with him. He might have been the one, that was the person that had the most reason when you came upon a difficult situation, but he never made you feel like he was above you, even though he was the one that solved the problem. He had this way that I’d only seen in very - in the elders in, the elders of my community. It was like an elder at heart and I appreciated that. So in that way those qualities that he had that he brought with him in his work and as an artist really helped out…and during the time that I saw him take on the leadership role with this organization called SCANA it thrived.
[Interview footage of Lee-Ann Martin, Curator, Contemporary Canadian Aboriginal Art, Canadian Museum of Civilization, former Head Curator, MacKenzie Art Gallery]
Lee-Ann Martin: He frequently invited me to come out to Regina to speak to some of his students about being a curator. You know, he understood…Bob as we’ve met, was nothing if not practical, Bob really did provide access to people and possibilities for his students. SCANA was an organization of native artists from across the country that wanted to fight for inclusion in art galleries. Cause I say way back when in the late 80’s and early 90’s it was still a huge uphill battle. It’s gotten much better, still a long way to go, but Bob really was at the forefront of banging down those doors. I shared that with him that was my firm belief as a curator… you know get contemporary Aboriginal art in through those - into those glass towers.
Size: 15.8 MB
Credits: Video produced by Blue Hill Productions