Critical Writing Index

In Pursuit of The Textbook Authentic: Erin Morton in Conversation with Terrance Houle

by Erin Morton

Fuse, Apr. 2008, v. 31, no. 2, pp. 26-34

Contemporary First Nations artist Terrance Houle speaks with Erin Morton about his practice and influence. Houle's work is constantly balanced between humour and tragedy, a place where he situates himself and his experiences as an Aboriginal and an army brat. Having the experience of both has allowed Houle to grow up witnessing others assumptions about his culture while being an active participant in it. This has formulated something of a confrontational, punk-rock aesthetic to his performative and installation based works, as demonstrated in Portage, where two Metis carry a canoe through downtown Vancouver dressed in moccasins and "traditional" Metis clothing. This blend of absurdity and tragedy culminates with an intention to "unlearn colonialist narratives by subverting them," a process which Houle negotiates by dismissing neither of the cultures in which he grew up in, choosing instead to question them both.

ITEM 2008.016 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

PortageTerrance Houle

The Urban Indian SeriesTerrance Houle

Paper Bag Indian PrincessTerrance Houle

Sick and TiredAdrian Stimson

Casting CallTerrance Houle

End Trail / Not End TrailTerrance Houle

End Trail / Not End TrailJarusha Brown

Landscape 1Terrance Houle