Duane Linklater is one of the participating artists in the first edition of //RESPONSIVE International Light Art Project Halifax. After winning the Sobey Art Award in 2013, one of the five parts of the work “Tautology” stayed in the collection of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and will be shown for the first time since then during //RESPONSIVE at the Anna Leonowens Gallery.
//Duane Linklater is concerned with qualities of representation, collective memory, and distribution of power. As an artist, curator and activist, he is committed to the interference of the political-cultural development of Canadian society and the attitude and engagement with First Nation’s people, their representation and participation in contemporary society.
Working in installation, film and other media as well as performative, Linklater reflects on the encoded mindsets in gestures, habits, and rules in the present culture and addresses ongoing issues of the indigenous cultures, the colonial heritage and the present frameworks of reflection and recognition. His collaborative projects bring critical awareness to the issues of author- and ownership, to strategies of documentation and systems of archiving.
In commenting on Linklater’s achievement, the Curatorial Panel of the Sobey Art Award 2013 said: “Linklater has the distinct ability to articulate new measurements for authorship and histories. His positive and generous approach to art-making creates space for collaboration and audience engagement. Linklater actively investigates the authority of language and pushes its boundaries. His practice simultaneously engages with wild, rural, urban, and digital realms, offering refreshing positions on contemporary life. This allows for new perspectives within Indigenous cultural production, yet it is Linklater’s broad relevance to contemporary national and international art that is of great value here.”
Frequently Duane Linklater seeks artistic co-operation to explore the dynamics of dialogue. Following the same idea, he scrutinizes the interplay of work and context. “This is the overarching character of his practice: with the works he wishes to generate conversations with viewers, other artists and curators, all with the goal of productive dialogue and value granted to different voices.” [Melissa Bennett, 2013]
Through numerous gallery exhibits, video and film screenings, magazine profiles, artist residencies, curatorial interventions and community engagements, Linklater has become a leading voice in Canada’s contemporary arts. His approach to art-making enables collaboration and facilitates audience engagement. In 2011, he initiated “Wood Land School”, a project that seeks to center Indigenous forms and ideas in the institutional spaces that it inhabits. In 2017 “Wood Land School” inhabits the SBC Gallery in Montreal and it has been part of the Documenta 14  in Athens [gr] and Kassel [de].
[Text: Bettina Pelz]