Caroline Monnet: The Black Case

Still from: Caroline Monnet, The Black Case, 2014. Video, black/white, sound, 13:00 mins. Cree with english subtitles.

Caroline Monnet: The Black Case

July 26 – August 12, 2022
DARC Project Space

This exhibition is presented as part of Tending Land, a program marking the 40th anniversary of the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC), and bringing together several artists from around the world whose works relate to narratives about the ways in which land may be perceived, connected with, and cared for. The program honors the fact that questions concerning land and sovereignty are of particular significance in Canada, where traditional territories have been expropriated by the settler-colonial state, and historic treaties around Indigenous Peoples’ land rights were often reneged upon. The exhibition also draws links to the centrality of land in the struggles of many communities around the world, especially the global majority who have experienced colonialism in various guises and who continue to endure its troubling aftermath today.

The Black Case tells the story of a young girl and her infant cousin who endure a harrowing experience while quarantined in the infirmary of a residential school for Indigenous children. In this fictionalized depiction, based on real events, Caroline Monnet and co-director Daniel Watchorn raise questions about the ideological claims, as well as the policies and systems devised by settler-colonialism to assert its control over land—by attempting, through forced assimilation, to erase the traditions and social ties that bound Indigenous communities together. Evoking the familiar horror and film noir genres, the work mixes a nightmarish reality with reveries to portray how this dark, and conventionally repressed, chapter of Canadian history was normalized. The work likewise presents well-rounded characters to hint at what it might take for regular people to commit atrocities, while giving a glimpse of the terrors experienced by innocent children. Made several years ago, the work resonates even more deeply today, given the recent attention given to the mass graves of hundreds of Indigenous children who perished at the hands of these institutions.

Tending Land is curated by Amin Alsaden.

Caroline Monnet is a multidisciplinary artist from the Outaouais region, Quebec. Her work has been presented around the world and is present in numerous collections, including those of the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art and the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. Past major exhibitions include the Whitney Biennale, the Toronto Biennale, the Shirn Kunsthalle and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. One of the 25 winners of the Sobey Art Awards 2020 and the winner of the Pierre-Ayot Prize 2020, Caroline Monnet is a major figure in contemporary Quebec and Canadian art. In her practice, the artist revisits the patterns and canons of the history and history of art to demonstrate a keen interest in communicating complex ideas around Indigenous identity and bicultural living through the examination of cultural histories. Her work grapples with colonialism’s impact, updating outdated systems with Indigenous methodologies.

Caroline Monnet (photo by Sebastien Aubin)

Caroline Monnet: Artist Talk
August 12, 2022, 4:00 – 5:00 PM EDT
Arts Court | 2 Daly Ave | Courtroom Studio

Please join exhibiting artist Caroline Monnet for an artist talk around the work presented at DARC, and her practice more broadly.

For more information, visit our website. Please note: registration for this event is not required, but seating is limited. Attendants must wear a mask and show proof of vaccination.

About DARC:
Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC), formerly SAW Video, is a not-for-profit, artist-run media art centre that supports artists through programming, education, and access to equipment and mentorship. Our mission is to foster the development of a diverse community of media artists, actively promoting equity regardless of race, age, class, gender, sexual orientation, language, or ability. Our core principles are independence of expression, affordable access to all, and paying artists fair compensation for their work. Initially founded in 1981 as a project of the Sussex Annex Works (S.A.W.), SAW Video and SAW Gallery later moved to Arts Court and formed the multidisciplinary centre Galerie-SAW-Video. In 2001, SAW Video became independent from SAW Gallery, forming SAW Video Association. In 2020, the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) became the organization’s new identity, expanding our digital presence online and asserting our role as a point of support for artists.

Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC)
67 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B9

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DARC Project Space is fully accessible. More information on DARC’s access, here.