By Meghan Yuri Young
Video by Hyghly Alleyne and Eric Black
While the country currently commemorates National Indigenous History Month, multimedia artist Jay Soule’s Indigenous pop art shines light on Settler Canada’s atrocities — past and present — all year long.
A four-metre-high pile of painted bison skulls is not a common sight at Harbourfront Centre. But during last year’s Luminato Festival, it became one — with an important significance. Jay Soule’s powerful exhibit, Built on Genocide, drew attention to the mass killing of bison during the colonial railway expansion, as a way to dispossess Indigenous peoples. Creating under the name Chippewar — a mashup of his Chippewas of the Thames First Nation background and the word “warrior” — Jay uses graphic and visual arts to paint powerful messages about the reality of the colonization of Turtle Island.
Now You Know:
“I cried probably, like, five to 10 times [while recreating 1,300 bison skulls] … I imagined what my ancestors would have seen when they saw those massive piles of skulls that were 10 storeys tall.” — Jay Soule on his 2021 Luminato exhibit, Built on Genocide.
Jay Soule’s art is on sale now through his Instagram: @chippewar.