First American Art Magazine No. 21, Winter 2018/19 - Page 71

QUINN SMALLBOY What do you struggle with in your artistic practice? What is the most difficult aspect of art making for you? At the moment, it is exploring new ideas and spaces—with regular work hours and commitments, my responsibilities and time to work out new ideas don’t seem to come full circle. My sketchbook of ideas is just waiting in the wind. Adding to this, I am always on the lookout for interior spaces in galleries, museums, or beyond for larger string installations. My goal here is: what can I do in this space and how much larger can I go? What influences you these days? One thing I always look at is architec- ture, even down to the simplest things like handrails. Handrails? That’s really cool consid- ering that your installation work is large scale as it is, and you’re looking to go much larger. Sometimes the littlest things inspire me, from a makeshift rope buried to a rope suspension bridge. Even tall, oddly shaped buildings and architecture provide me with a map of sorts—I find myself visualizing what the building would look like if it was made only with a wire frame. I’m interested in the controlled lines that shaped the building and think about what those wires would look like if they were made of string. Finally, can you talk about your inclusion in the Living Water Project exhibition at the Art Gallery of Windsor? To be part of this exhibition is a great honor. The artists in the exhibition are well established. For the exhibition I chose to include a new work called Wave (2018). Wave is a large string installation that addresses the many water issues that Indigenous cultures are faced with, especially those First Nations located in the Northern communities of Ontario. My community of Moose Factory is surrounded by water and it is the passageway to and from the connection to land. Over the years, the waters have been a source connecting people to their hunting grounds and trap lines. Some years the water can be controversial since what has plagued many of these Northern communities is a boiled-water advisory. 2 This is unsettling when the waterway is the most important part of the community and it is unsafe to consume. QUINNSMALLBOY.COM 2. CTV Staff, “First Nations face dozens of boil water advisories on World Water Day,” CTV News, accessed October 12, 2018, web. The federal government of Canada has pledged to end all boiled-water advisories by March 2021. As of March 22, 2018, the Assembly of First Nations reported that there were 81 long-term drinking water advisories impacting 50 Indigenous communities in Canada. WINTER 2018/19 | 69