The Mar Poles of ćəsnaʔəm
By David Campion and Sandra Shields
The Mar Poles of ćəsnaʔəm plays on the name of Marpole, the Vancouver neighbourhood built on top of the ancient city of c̓әsnaʔәm. Instead of the house posts and carved figures of the Coast Salish longhouse, the work shows the pillars and poles of today, reconceptualizing what we see in the present as an entry point to the past. Marring the landscape, these pillars and poles are frequently marred themselves by graffiti. Several photographs in this artwork capture graffiti. In the physical installation at Marine Drive Station, the works have been pixelated to adhere to a policy prohibiting the display of works showing graffiti.
Sharing a distrust of dominant social mythologies, artists David Campion and Sandra Shields use their work to explore power and its repercussions. Shields comes to the subject of colonialism as the great-granddaughter of pioneers. Campion approaches from the vantage point of an immigrant from Britain whose youth was spent in apartheid South Africa.
This installation was originally shown in 2015 as part of ćәsnaʔәm, the city before the city, an exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver, developed in partnership with the Museum of Anthropology and the Musqueam Cultural Education Resource Centre. The exhibition opened in January 2015 and remains on display until January 2020.