The Emancipate Project

The Emancipate Project

Emancipate (transitive verb): to free from restraint, control, or the power of another; especially: to free from bondage

“The body is a resonant chamber, a place for the articulation and amplification of many experiences,” these words written by Tahltan Nation artist Peter Morin, are applied to describe the ways in which Indigenous bodies are, in and of themselves, sites of resistance. They are bodies who’ve survived in spite of attempted and ongoing extermination and thus stand in opposition to the colonial project.

Emancipation (2018) in collaboration with Raven Davis

Film (3:45 min)

Building upon Anishinaabe artist Raven Davis’ previous performative interventions with monuments and site, this collaborative project takes place in Charlottesville, Virginia at the site of the City’s contentious Robert E. Lee monument. On August 12, 2017 Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, VA garnered media attention worldwide when an emboldened group of neo-Nazis and white supremacists organized a rally with the intention to “Unite The Right.” Claiming defense of “history” in response to the proposed removal of the park’s Robert E. Lee monument, the Unite The Right group were met with counter-protestors and members of an anti-fascist group known as “antifa.” Violent clashes broke out injuring several and resulting in the death of 32-year-old, Heather Heyer. Of this incident, President Donald Trump stated that there were “very fine people on both sides.” In response to the events of August 12 and all who’ve lost their lives in the process of achieving true emancipation, this collaborative work created at the site of the Unite The Right rally, pays honour to ancestors lost and those who continue to fight against white supremacy and colonial ways of being.

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