Exhibition Walkthrough and Conversation
with Edgar Heap of Birds and Jaro Varga
Friday, November 13, 2015
5 to 7pm
On November 13, 2015, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation hosted a walkthrough of our new exhibition When Artists Speak Truth... followed by an informal conversation with artists Edgar Heap of Birds, who joins us from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Jaro Varga from Prague, Czech Republic and curator Sara Reisman. Both artists are concerned with under-recognized and contested cultural histories - Varga explores the traces of commemoration of excluded communities in Europe while Heap of Birds gives a poetic voice to Native American experience.
Edgar Heap of Birds' Nuance of Sky/Words Are Open (2012), from his ongoing mono-print series Dead Indian Stories, recounts Native American community narratives across the United States. His text-based public art project Native Hosts has been deployed since the 1980s to question the ongoing occupation of Native American land throughout United States history. His more recent series Dead Indian Stories synthesizes politics and poetry into a six-word poetic structure resulting in prints comprised of phrases like:
FIRST LIGHT IN THIS IS BEING DEEDS NOT DEMANDS SPIRIT OUT SPHERE TRIBE ON BACK CARRY WITH PRIDE
Jaro Varga's site-specific installation Library is a continuous project first realized in 2008. In this participatory work, gallery visitors are encouraged to write book titles directly onto the wall of a room-sized print depicting stacks of a library. Questioning the relevance of physical books and their eventual obsolescence, Library offers the community engaged with the exhibition a chance to define the books entered into this conceptual library, giving visibility to historically neglected literary contributions. Varga's project builds awareness of the collective input needed to demonstrate a representative institutional knowledge, creating a cognitive map of the exhibition's visitors.