KC Adams is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Winnipeg whose work can be seen in Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years now on at Plug In ICA. Her focus is the investigation of the relationship between nature (the living) and technology (progress). She has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions including Steeling the Gaze: Portraits by Aboriginal Artists at the National Gallery of Canada, PHOTOQUAI: Biennale des images du monde in Paris, France and Hide: Skin as a Material and Metaphor at the National Museum of the American Indian. She has participated in residencies at the Banff Centre, the Confederation Art Centre in Charlottetown and the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. She is currently completing an international residency at the Parramatta Artists Studios in Parramatta, Australia, where she is launching a solo exhibition called Legacy.
1. Alarming Crisis
I recently came across a report on the current affairs of the Indigenous people of the world made by the UN in January 2010. “Worldwide, over 50 per cent of indigenous adults over age 35 have type-2 diabetes, and these numbers are predicted to rise.” This does not include people who are pre-diabetic. Speaking from someone who has family members who suffer from this condition, I find this appalling and heartbreaking. The emotional and physical implications can take their toll on a family, let alone a community. In Canada, there are northern communities where diabetes is rampant, but who face the reality that junk food is less expensive and easier to access than fresh food. We need to lobby to our government officials to address this issue, not because it affects health care costs, but because it is the humane thing to do.
I started to become obsessed with the idea of legacy - specifically cultural knowledge to pass on to my son - after I watched some YouTube videos of Canadian anthropologist Wade Davis. In his lecture at the TED2008 conference he states, “Our industrial society is scarcely three hundred years old. That shallow history shouldn’t suggest to anyone that we have all of the answers for all of the questions that will confront us in the ensuing millennia.” He argues that it is the legacy of humanity’s brilliance, the wisdom from cultures around the world, that will guide us through our uncertain future. There is a thread that divides knowledge from wisdom, and the time to cherish the wisdom that comes from our elders and the thread they hold is now.
3. Cultural Warriors
Three years ago, I was in Australia and saw the exhibition Cultural Warriors for the Australian Indigenous Art Triennial curated by Brenda L. Croft. Artists such as Julie Dowling, Elaine Russell, Destiny Deacon, Daniel Mellor, and Christian Thompson blew me away. Now on my second trip, I received a special issue of Artlink: Contemporary Art of Australia and the Asia-Pacific called Blak on Blak. I love the new works by Dianne Jones, Richard Bell, Vernon Ah Kee, and Fio
4. Mothers United
Being away from my family and friends, I have developed a guilty online pleasure that I cater to everyday. I have been reading and giving child-rearing advice on a parenting site that allows me to see how my parenting style stacks up against others. This in turn assuages my ego with sorority-like affirmation.
Happiness for me is throwing on my blades with my husband and taking to the streets with our son in his pram. Our destination is usually the local park in Parramatta; it has a smooth path that covers flatland and hills alike. Sometimes we continue on to the outdoor pool for a swim or we stop at the children’s playground and feed bread to the birds. The joy I feel is in the details: the exertion and exhilaration going up and down the hills, getting smiles from strangers (we are quite the sight), hearing the cicadas in the trees, seeing cockatoos flying overhead. Bliss.
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