Copied from her family archive, Fern Helfand, professor of photography in FCCS, presented a life-sized photograph of a group of children at a costume party taken in 1961. In the picture a young Caucasian boy’s cheeks are streaked with war paint as he proudly dons a feathered Indigenous war bonnet. The little girl’s face is coloured black with chocolate Quik powder, and a black-skinned inflatable “Hug-a-Bug” doll dangles from her hand.

This image lies at the axis of the exhibition. Works by two other UBCO artists of mixed heritages Tannis Nielsen and Samuel Roy-Bois respond from their own perspectives.

Issues of cultural appropriation, stereotyping, racism and privilege aim to challenge the viewer and to prompt them to think about how they too might be implicated no matter how innocent their actions might be.

  • Fern Helfand: What does it mean to be the problem? January 8 - February 19, 2016

Interested in exhibiting in the Alternator’s Main Gallery? Check out the Submission Guidelines.