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New Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibit fuses indigenous, skateboarding culture

There's more in common between indigenous and board culture than you might think.

Jaime Isaac, a curator of contemporary and indigenous art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, started skateboarding as a child and said it helped provide her with a sense of belonging

David Lipnowski / For Metro

Jaime Isaac, a curator of contemporary and indigenous art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, started skateboarding as a child and said it helped provide her with a sense of belonging

Art, board culture and indigenous ways of being are all explored in the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s (WAG) newest exhibition, Boarder X, which opens this weekend.

The multidisciplinary exhibit includes carving, weaving, painting, video, performance and photography by indigenous people from across Canada, explained Jaime Isaac, the WAG’s curator of contemporary and indigenous art.

A half-pipe was also constructed on the first floor of the gallery, where there will be a free skateboarding demonstration when the show opens Friday evening.

“Surfing originated from pre-contact Polynesian indigenous cultures in Hawaii. Then skateboarding followed surfing and snowboarding followed skateboarding. And so, I think it’s roots are in indigenous ways of being,” said Isaac.

Some of the art was completed before the show, such as a painting by Roger Crait, while others like Mark Igloliorte’s skateboard video, were finished specifically for this Boarder X.

Isaac said she rejects the idea that art and sport belong to separate realms of life.

“There’s a lot of intersectionality when people are working both with their arts practices but also other parts of their life that really influence the way that they approach their arts practice or how they approach parts of their lives,” Isaac said.

Within the exhibition, Isaac said she can see how the art and board cultures influence one another.

Isaac started skateboarding as a child and said it helped provide her with a sense of belonging.

“We think about issues of the environment or how we relate to our culture. It’s really important and significant to think about ways that we thrive. I think this is a really good example for indigenous youth,” Isaac said.

Boarder X opens alongside the National Gallery of Canada’s Vernon Ah Kee: cantchant, an exhibit that connects surfboards and video to Australian Aboriginal territory.

The exhibitions officially open on Saturday and run until April 23.

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