Canadian Art: Indigenous Art is So Camp

Featured image: Dayna Danger, The Outlander, 2011.

Camp, in brief, is all things ostentatious, exaggerated, affected and theatrical. And “Àbadakone” is camp. After passing by TWAC’s painting, I came into a second hall, where I found myself overwhelmed by the grandeur of AKA (2019), a 14-metre tall woven-rope installation by the Mata Aho Collective, which comprised four Māori women. The installation was huge, reaching up to the tall ceiling of the NGC. Sunlight illuminated the openings in the weaving, and I had to strain my neck to see to the top of the structure. Much like Jordan Bennett’s installation, doing so connected me with the open airiness of the space. As I exited the halls and moved into the main galleries, I was met with Rukai artist Eleng Luluan’s Between Dreams (2012), another statement of the Indigenous aesthetics of camp. Between Dreams is an installation made of white knitted material that reaches from floor to ceiling, its flourished tendrils spilled out from its bulbous base and into the gallery, as if it were a vine taking over concrete.

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