Bridges: Tarah Hogue casts ripples through galleries and communities

Article content continued

“Museums reflect the complexity of the culture and the society that produces them. The cultural sector is at a critical juncture right now, not only because of the pandemic … but also because institutions are being called to account for the sort of colonial and European foundations of these places,” she says.

“At least through my own practice, I’m really invested in having people rethink what they know about Indigenous art, to open that up, and to do so in collaboration, in dialogue with the huge community of makers and artists and thinkers that are here.”

Crucially, Hogue positions her curatorial work both inside of the gallery and extending outside of it, Willard said.

“The extension beyond the gallery walls really speaks to that — I don’t want to just call it bridging — rippling of her curatorial work,” Willard said.

After all, a person’s time in a gallery space comes with them after they’ve left, Hogue says — a result of what she calls “the encounter” between the viewer and the objects on display.

“That moment of encounter holds a lot of possibilities. When you are curating an exhibition, or an event, a performance, you can never control what the audience takes away from it,” Hogue said.

“But bringing together artworks or an experience is an invitation for engagement, and consideration of what is possible in this moment of encounter.”

After the first assemblage activation came to an end, the air of the VAG’s third floor seemed charged as attendees took in the possibilities of what the space could be.

Knowing her mother, and so many others, would be in the gallery in the coming weeks, Hogue was happy to hear from people at the opening that it was indeed changed.

“(They said) the space felt more welcoming, and alive in different ways than the museum normally does,” Hogue recalls. “To me, to hear that feedback was important. It confirmed that these spaces, which are difficult for some people to be in, can shift and can be shifted.”

[email protected]