Regarded as a “vanguard” for his piece in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s 2009 exhibition How Soon Is Now?, Sonny Assu pushes the boundaries of contemporary art by challenging the perception of Indigenous art. An interdisciplinary artist, he merges Indigenous Northwest Coast iconography with the aesthetics of popular culture to challenge the social and historical values placed upon both. In exploring his mixed ancestry, he appropriates items of consumer culture to trace the lineage of his personal life. His work is currently on display in Throw Down at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and in Beat Nation at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Assu was also long-listed for the 2012 Sobey Art Award today.
Music plays a big part in my practice. Mostly the act of listening, but I've been known to belt out a tune or two in the studio. Heck, I’ve even been known to sing along to the guitar solos! Which are WAY more fun, by the way. Anyone can sing along to words, but can you keep up with a slide guitar? Neither can I. I just wanted to know if you could. That makes you a bad ass and I want to be your friend.
2. Political rants and challenging the notion of a Canadian Utopia
I have a strong political voice and I exercise that voice on various social platforms in hopes of inspiring social change in the hearts of Canadians. We believe we live in a social utopia, devoid of the ills that plague other Western/modern/colonized societies. This is far from the truth. I want Canadians to, frankly, step up and voice their concerns more than every four years if need be. If they do at all! Apathy allowed our current government to set in motion the undoing of all the things we hold close to our hearts as our national identity. Apathy and a bunch of robots making phone calls.
3. Indigenous issues and rights
I'm very passionate about Indigenous issues and rights in Canada. Addressing the ramifications of the colonization of North America is a key element behind my work. It also goes hand in hand with the aforementioned "challenging the notion of a Canadian Utopia".
Being from Vancouver, the abundance of fresh quality sushi was something to be found relatively easily. Now living in Montreal, my love for raw fish has been replaced by gravy-soaked cheese curds atop fries with a side of heart attack.
5. A tiny human
I recently married my muse. She's one of the most beautiful people on the planet and we're set to embark on our greatest collaboration. Soon we'll be responsible for a tiny human. Whoa.
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