A Selective History
- PUBLISHED: April 2018
- SUBJECT LISTING: Art History / Native American and Indigenous Art, Native American and Indigenous Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 192 Pages, 8.5 x 10 in, 120 color illus.
- ISBN: 9780295742113
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Through large-scale installation, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and painting, Sonny Assu merges the aesthetics of Indigenous iconography with a pop-art sensibility. This stunning retrospective spans over a decade of Assu’s career, highlighting more than 120 full-color works, including several never-before-exhibited pieces.
Through analytical essays and personal narratives, Candice Hopkins, Marianne Nicolson, Richard Van Camp, and Ellyn Walker provide brilliant commentary on Assu’s practice, its meaning in the context of contemporary art, and its wider significance in the struggle for Indigenous cultural and political autonomy. Exploring themes of Indigenous rights, consumerism, branding, humor, and the ways in which history informs contemporary ideas and identities, Sonny Assu: A Selective History is the first major full-scale book to pay tribute to this important, prolific, and vibrant figure in the contemporary art world.
Authors & Contributors
Sonny Assu was raised in North Delta, BC, over 150 miles away from his ancestral home on Vancouver Island. At the age of eight, he discovered his Kwakwaka’wakw heritage, which would later become the conceptual focal point of his contemporary art practice. Assu graduated from Emily Carr University in 2002 and was the recipient of their distinguished alumni award in 2006. His work can be found in the National Gallery of Canada, Seattle Art Museum, Vancouver Art Gallery, Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Burke Museum at the University of Washington, and various other public and private collections across Canada, the United States, and the UK. In 2016, Assu and his family moved "home" to unceded Ligwilda'xw territory (Campbell River, BC).
“The visually driven book highlights the artist’s work, with accompanying essays by contemporaries and Assu himself. Assu’s art leaps from medium to medium and includes graphic art, carvings, prints, photography and combinations of each..”- Carl Segerstrom, High Country News
As the first full-scale book about Assu’s career, Sonny Assu: A Selective History engages its readers with critical essays by important scholars in the field of Indigenous contemporary art and theory...recommended for the general public because it gives good insight into Sonny Assu’s career, and the 150 full-color reproductions will engage any reader interested in art, technology, and Indigenous politics in Canada.- NAIS Journal
Sonny Assu’s eclectic blending of formline aesthetic and popular culture is amplified by a medley of contributors’ voices telling stories, revealing history, and setting the stage for Assu’s critiques of past and current colonial atrocities. Essays provide key insights into current modes of resilience and resistance by Assu and his generation of Indigenous artists. Assu’s clever artist statements, through humor and biting commentary, reveal obsessions with popular culture, ignorance of stinging histories, and demand that we question personal responsibility.- Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse, curator of Northwest Native Art, Burke Museum
Framed by contributions from some of our brightest indigenous intellectuals Sonny Assus’ canvas is more than an examination of how Indigenous Peoples respond to the Canadian experience. His witty and gentle hand offers Canada a mirror to consider its own scarred identity.- Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, mny.ca