Running 2from Home

Keely
Keely Dakin
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Jason Baerg, an artist who draws paints and uses new media opened the Pitos Waskochepayis (Alternate Electricity) festival at the Mann Art Gallery with an artist talk about his work on Thursday night.

Jason Baerg, an artist in drawing, painting and new media opened the Pitos Waskochepayis (Alternate Electricity) festival at the Mann Art Gallery with a talk about his work on Thursday night. The festival was a collaboration of artists interpreting and celebrating the theme of two spirited and queer culture, especially in relation to indigenous people. The Indigenous People Artist Collective (IPAC) presented Pitos Waskochepayis. Baerg, originally from Prince Albert, now lives in Toronto and travels internationally as an artist. He returned home to begin touring with his newest installation, called Running 2from Home, which pulls largely from the tension generated by people’s affection for and fear of their roots, their home

The festival was a collaboration of artists interpreting and celebrating the theme of two spirited and queer culture, especially in relation to indigenous people. The Indigenous People Artist Collective (IPAC) presented Pitos Waskochepayis.

Baerg is a full-time artist travelling about eight months a year. He has done a number of residencies and shows around the world: Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada.

While Baerg is gay and an artist who presented his work during the festival, he says that his work is focused on broader, universal human themes or experiences.

“I am an artist first,” Baerg says. “I never wanna be pigeonholed as a black or as a lesbian artist.”

Running 2from Home is the title of his gallery show and is actually a combination of two separate bodies of work: Relations and Nomadic Bounce.

“It’s inspired by journey and our relationships,” Baerg says.

Relations is a series of 13 circular pieces that are inspired by the earth, sun and humanity and their relation to one another. It is also symbolic as the year is 2012, which according to some is the end of the world.

“Many indigenous communities, including the Aztecs and the Mayans, used the 13 moon calendar to create their calculations to chart, for example, the Mayan or the Aztec, 25,000 years.”

Nomadic Bounce is an abstract recreation of Baerg’s own home, from the West End to the East.

“I grew up here,” Baerg says.

“The Nomadic Bounce series is dealing with that tension between running to and from people and place.”

It’s that notion of running to and from everything we love and hate. Jason Baerg

”When you think about relationships, there’s always a tension,” he says.

“What is it that brings us or returns us back to a person whom we love and care about, even after conflict. I feel the same way about place. People have very specific sentiment that is attached to environment.”

“People feel attached to cities, or a lake or a river or their homeland, whatever that means. So it’s that notion of running to and from everything we love and hate.”

“Why am I an artist today? I think, like growing up on the West End on a gravel road two blocks away from the Pen (penitentiary), you know, really did inform my experiences. And television really opened me up to a world beyond.”

“You’re sitting on 14th Street, you’re 11 years old and all of a sudden you’re watching arts and entertainment and you’re being introduced to what’s happening in Tokyo, or what’s happening in Paris, or what’s happening in New York City, What’s happening in L.A. What’s happening in Toronto.”

Running 2from Home begins in Prince Albert and will travel across the country to Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Sarnia, Winnipeg and more.

Pitos Waskochepayis continued with a performance by artist Adrian Stimson and an hour-long collection of video works which addressed the realties of being queer and Aboriginal.

 

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  • Keely J. Dakin
    October 01, 2012 - 13:05

    Response Jason Baerg from writer, Keely Dakin Readers, normally I would have this communication in a private sphere, however as it was made public here I feel I must respond and identify my intention with the article. Jason Baerg, I am very sorry you feel I improperly represented you and your work. However, the article that features you on Friday Sept. 28, is set within the context of the Pitos Waskochpayis festival, which was specifically honouring two-spirited and queer culture. While your show may have only been at that event coincidentally, you were featured within the festival's brochure as an artist participating in the event, hence as an artist celebrating two-spirited and queer culture. The article was intended to feature not only your work, but the event itself. As for references to your personal orientation, you specifically said you did not want to be defined by it, and I used precisely that quote. I make reference to that aspect of your identity exactly once, with the prefix "while,". It would be disingenuous to ignore that part of your identity when the event caters to it. The great majority of the article is focused on you explaining what your work means, in your own words, completely separate from your orientation. Again, I am sorry you feel i put too much emphasis on that part of you, however I felt it had to be included to do justice to not only you but to the greater festival. As for the Mayan and Aztec calendars charting years, you are completely correct. I miss-typed, adding an extra 0. That is absolutely my fault and I am sorry for the oversight.

  • Jason Baerg
    September 30, 2012 - 01:30

    Dear Keely Dakin and all readers: Thank you for the article. I did not however ever mention that I was gay and my orientation has nothing to do with my practice. I thought this was quite clear in our conversation. It is really sad that after dedicating over 20 years of extremely hard work and much sacrifice you would focus on this for the cover of your newspaper and my homecoming. I grew up in the West Flat and the story really should have reflected the intentions of the show and how Prince Albert informed this international project. I was not brought here by the Two Story Cafe, yet I support fellow artists and was happy their program occurred after my opening at the Mann. CORRECTION I told journalist, Keely Dakin, the Mayan and Aztec calendars chart 25,000 not 250, 000 years ... I thank Prince Albert, The Mann Art Gallery, Culture Days Canada and all of the funders and participants. It was great to come home to present in the place where I spent my developmental years. It was also great to offer painting workshops that focused on what the world or their futures could look like in 2020 and beyond to 130 youth in Prince Albert. All my best, Jason Baerg