The Native American Pavilion is a product of the longhouse tradition, a living architecture that has been practiced for thousands of years on the Pacific coast of North America. The longhouse, a monumental wood structure built to house an entire community, is used on ceremonial occasions to welcome gatherings of other tribal nations, who often arrive by water. An ancient tradition of ceremonial architecture produced to host international events, the longhouse finds vivid echoes today in the Venice Biennale, an exhibition that inevitably reflects the construction of national identities.
Artist Nicholas Galanin envisioned the Native American Pavilion as a circle, a welcoming space in the great longhouse tradition. Working with Oscar Tuazon, who participated in the protest camp at Standing Rock, where indigenous architectures were used to bring global attention to the fight for clean water, the two artists have made a space for collective action.
The Pavillion, a circle of oak posts set in the ground, is an open space dedicated to the artistic movement that flourished around Standing Rock. Throughout the summer, Galanin and Tuazon have invited artists to Venice to contribute to the pavilion and continue the dialogue around clean water to a European context.
A large enclosed garden owned by the University of Venice, the Garden of Ca’ Bembo is occupied by a student group to preventing the sale of the park by the University. Currently used by the children of the local community and the student population of Venice, the garden is used for film screenings and public events during the summer.
The garden used to house the Incinerator of Venice during the 19th century, and its ground is heavily polluted with Carbon Monoxide. These Pylons are naturally eroded by the flow of water and changed and recovered.
The wood pylons in use, are recovered from the lagoon. They will be worked on by guests artist throughout the summer and enriched with performances and readings for the duration of a program we could define together and ask the help of the Students that occupy and run the space to carry out.
The Pavillion would help spread the message over time and redefine the place from contested grounds of illegal occupation to Culturally Fruitful and instilling a positive and educational dimension to it.
Water Protectors and Venetian Students share the same mission, preventing the invasion of public/private space for Commercial Purposes. Government indifference or even support/Condiment of these activities are an undeniable factor that contributes in both cases.
INDIAN WATER – The Native American Pavilion
Venue: Garden of Ca’ Bembo | Fondamenta Sangiantoffetti, 1075, 30123
Venice Opening: May 10, 2017 | from 12.00 PM to 12.00 AM
Hours: May 11 – November 26, 2017 | from 12.30 PM
About the artists:
Nicholas Galanin (b. 1979) Tlingit/Unangax̂ / Multi-Disciplinary Artist
Nicholas Galanin’s work offers perspective rooted in connection to land and an intentionally broad engagement with contemporary culture. For over a decade, Galanin has been embedding incisive observation into his work, investigating and expanding intersections of culture and concept in form, image and sound. Galanin’s works embody critical thought. They are vessels of knowledge, culture and technology – inherently political, generous, unflinching, and poetic.
Galanin’s concepts determine his materials and processes. His practice is expansive and includes numerous collaborations with visual and recording artists, including an ongoing collaboration with his brother and fellow artist Jerrod Galanin, under the moniker Leonard Getinthecar. He is a member of two artist collectives: Black Constellation and Winter Count.
The substance and execution of his work engages past, present and future. Through two- and three- dimensional works, and time-based media, Galanin encourages reflection on cultural amnesia that actively obscures collective memory and acquisition of knowledge. Galanin creates sounds moving in time and animals fixed in space. Splintering apart replica carvings, he destroys the outputs of commodified culture, rearranging the pieces to reflect its nefarious effects.
He creates petroglyphs in sidewalks and coastal rock, masks cut from books, ceramic arrows in flight, and repurposes handcuffs, which he engraves, formerly used to remove Indigenous children from their families, naming them children’s bracelets. Galanin has apprenticed with master carvers and jewelers. He earned his BFA at London Guildhall University in Jewelry Design, and his MFA in Indigenous Visual Arts at Massey University in New Zealand. Nicholas Galanin lives and works in Sitka, Alaska.
Oscar Tuazon (b. 1975)
A native of Seattle, Oscar Tuazon attended Deep Springs College, Cooper Union, and the Whitney Independent Study Program. In 2001 he served as a founding board member at the Center for Urban Pedagogy in New York with his former Deep Springs classmate Damon Rich.
Professionally, he began his career working in the Studio Acconci of architect/artist Vito Acconci. After moving to Paris in 2007, he began exhibiting widely in Europe. He has since then exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennial, and many group and solo shows throughout the world, and is in major art collections such as Saatchi’s.
About Zuecca Projects:
Zuecca Projects is a non-for-profit Cultural Organisation involved in the conception, creation and development of interdisciplinary projects in the realm of contemporary art, architecture and film. Its primary activity revolves around the different Venice Biennales, however international projects are developed regularly based on specific targeted partnerships.
Zuecca Projects was established in 2011 on the intuition of Alessandro Possati, its founder and director. Zuecca Projects manages two exhibition venues: Zuecca Project Space, on Giudecca Island, Venice; Spazio Ridotto, at Calle del Ridotto, San Marco, Venice.
Since 2011, the Organization Zuecca Projects has been promoting, through Spazio Ridotto and Zuecca Project Space, a long list of interdisciplinary projects, firmly linked to the most advanced and innovative contemporary contexts. International artists and architects such as Rirkrit Tiravanija (2012), Ai Weiwei (2013), Lola Schnabel (2013), Eisenman Architects (2014), John Giorno (2015), Atelier Van Lieshout (2016) and Slater B. Bradley (2016), were exhibited by the organization.