The Lonely Surfer Squaw (1997-)

Curious about performance art? Want to add performance to your art practice? Stop by the Old Fire Hall Sunday evening, Feb 12, 7pm, for a talk on performance art by Lori Blondeau.   Lori will give a talk on how she uses performance art in her practice and show images and video of her past work. 

Check out the Canadian Art  article:  Scandalous Personas, Difficult Knowledge, Restless Images - The work of Lori Blondeau  by Lynne Bell

Artist Statement  

The images of the Indian Princess and Squaw have had a significant impact on societies’ perception of Indian women and serve as inspirations for most of my work. Surprisingly, we still see popularized images of the Indian Princess being created by both native and non-native people. You can find these products being sold in Indian Museums and souvenir shops across North America. These are testament to the general public’s idealized perception of beautiful Native women as being exotic and hard to find – virtually non-existent. The other side of the Indian Princess is, of course, the squaw – another of societies’ iconic scapegoats meant to desensitize both the general public’s view of Indian women (their political, historical and social issues as well), and the self perception among Native women themselves.
My work explores the influence of popular media and culture (contemporary and historical) on Aboriginal self-identity, self-image, and self-definition. I am currently exploring the impact of colonization on traditional and contemporary roles and lifestyles of aboriginal women. I deconstruct the images of the Indian Princess and the Squaw and reconstruct an image of absurdity and insert these hybrids into the mainstream. The performance personas I have created refer to the damage of colonialism and to the ironic pleasures of displacement and resistance.

Biography

Born and raised in Saskatchewan where she is member of the George Gordon First Nation Lori Blondeau draws from her family history in the scripting and design of her campy, satirical, performance art productions. Blondeau’s stage persona ‘Belle Sauvage’ is loosely based on Indigenous women who performed in Wild West shows and Vaudeville acts in the early 20th century, and spoofing the 50’s film  Calamity Jane, in which Doris Day performed as a cross-dressing, gender-bending white cowgirl. Blondeau’s performance art remix of the
  Wild West presents a post-colonial reading of the narratives of Hollywood white pop culture. In her work she addresses the importance of maintaining one’s identity and beliefs as a First Nations person, and living and working in mainstream society. Blondeau confronts and co-opts conventional stereotypes in her pointed and disarmingly humorous take on contemporary art and society. In addition to her active exhibition career Lori Blondeau is the former director of Tribe, a First Nations arts organization in Saskatoon. Through this organization and related activities she is in close contact with the Indigenous art communities in Canada and the US. Most recently she has relocated to Pauma Valley, California.

Admission is by donation.

This presentation has been made possible thanks to the Yukon School of Visual Arts' Visiting Aboriginal Artists Program.  For more information about this program, please contact info @ yukonsova.ca