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Conquest, Consequences, Restoration: The Art of Rebecca Belmore


Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12035

Conquest, Consequences, Restoration: The Art of Rebecca Belmore

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Title: Conquest, Consequences, Restoration: The Art of Rebecca Belmore
Author: DeBlassie, Kathleen
Advisor(s): Szabo, Joyce
Committee Member(s): Barnet-Sanchez, Holly
Singer, Beverly
Tsiongas, Mary
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of Art and Art History
Subject: Rebecca Belmore
LC Subject(s): Belmore, Rebecca--Criticism and interpretation
Indians of North America--Canada--Arts
Performance art
Photography, Artistic
Video art
Installations, Art
Degree Level: Masters
Abstract: Rebecca Belmore (Ojibwa/Anishinabe, b. 1960 in Upsala, Ontario), embraces three themes in her oeuvre: conquest, consequences and restoration.Through the mediums of performance art, installation, video and photography, Belmore confronts Indigenous issues regarding land theft, identity, gender, racism, stereotypes,memory, contested histories, and the recovery and reclamation of a decolonized self. All of these themes are sub-categories that fall under the larger theme of the consequences of conquest. The most significant component of Belmore’s work, however, is restoration, which embraces themes of healing, self-determination and sovereignty. Traditional art-historical methodologies can and have been used to analyze Indigenous art. This thesis proposes that Indigenous art is best examined through Native performance traditions as suggested by Courtney Elkin Mohler’s theatre praxis. Mohler argues that the goal of Indigenous performance art can be achieved through (1) exposing popularly accepted racial and ethnic stereotypes as identity constructions; (2) rewriting history in a manner that repositions historically marginalized and objectified cultures as active subjects; (3)utilizing residual creative energies that transcend the normative methods for “art making,” thereby exposing an alternative indigenous worldview; and (4) destabilizing historical “facts” that constitute an essence of “timelessness” and edifice of authority for neocolonial and imperialist practices. These four components are an integral part of Belmore’s work. Because Belmore utilizes her own body as the primary medium, she becomes at once the text, the victim, the victor, and catapults the performance into the arena of restoration.
Graduation Date: December 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12035

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