Rewilding – You want to return to …

Photo: of an art installation called Rewilding – You want to return to the land but does the land want you?
Oakridge – 41st

Rewilding – You want to return to the land but does the land wan…

By Whess Harman

The text in this work is presented with the intention of at first not appearing to be readable to emphasize the difficulty of translating between cultural identities. At first glance the work might appear as an Indigenous design or as graffiti, or like it hasn’t been written in English. In making the work stubborn and difficult to grapple with, it is my hope that I’ve been able to prompt questions: why is this so difficult, where is my place in viewing this, should I laugh once I’ve deciphered the text?

Vancouver is a city that prides itself in being “close to nature.” We are of course close to it: built on top of it, encased in the shores and with a good sightline to the mountain peaks. But this is not the nature that is implicated in the phrase “close to nature.” What this short text work looks at is the assumption that the places we are in are places that want us; and “place” not exclusively where the Nations and their ancestors have lived for time immemorial, but considering the land itself as holding its own spirit and will for or against those who occupy its borders.

Artist Bio

Whess Harman is a trans, Indigiqueer artist and poet from the Carrier Wit’at Nation, and an uninvited guest on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. They are profoundly grateful for the way this land has held and shaped them and their relationships with others in this last decade, and seek in their practice to conduct themselves accordingly in respect to these territories.