Present Presence

Photo: of an art installation called Present Presence
Marine Drive

Present Presence

By Lauren Crazybull

Image features “Present Presence” by Lauren Crazybull.

Lauren Crazybull writes about her work: “What relationship do Indigenous people have to the eternal? At some point, it was predicted that Indigenous people were disappearing and would live on only in anthropological representations—ones that quantified and measured us and left us forever in a state of romanticization. Indigenous complexity was often erased in these portrayals. Temporally we are expected to represent a time that precedes us. My painted portraits have been a way to establish Indigenous presence in a way that places us firmly in the present, to look forward to our futures. The people embodied within this artwork are Indigenous, belonging to these lands and spanning across to my home, the prairies. Thank you Elijah, Taryn, Xwalacktun, Mom, and Jordan for being a part of this work.”

Lauren Crazybull is a Niitsítapi (Member of Kainai First Nation), Dené artist currently living in Vancouver, BC. In her work, Lauren considers Indigenous presence and multiplicity through paintings, creating worlds where honest portrayals trespass onto romantic representations of Indigeneity. Working primarily in portraiture, a long-standing genre that is often embedded with an imbalance of power between the artist/viewer and sitter, Crazybull seeks to examine the relationship between herself as an artist and the individuals she paints. Through this ongoing work, she uses her practice as a way to assert her own humanity, and advocate, in diverse and subtle ways, for the innate intellectual, spiritual, creative and political fortitude of Indigenous peoples.

This artwork was commissioned by the City of Vancouver Public Art Program for Platforms: Nine Places for Seeing.