fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill
La Biennale di Venezia

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Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill

1979, Canada


  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

Métis artist and writer Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill’s work challenges the notion of the city as a “settled” place while laying bare the material history of colonisation. Hill collects detritus like beer can tabs, dollar store lockets, and dandelions, incorporating these found objects into sculptures and works on paper that, since 2018, she has called Spells – drawings coated in tobacco-infused crisco. This practice both foregrounds the magic and power of discarded objects and throws into question the illegality of trespassing and the resale of goods. Many of Hill’s sculptures are made by stuffing pantyhose with ground tobacco. Before colonisation, tobacco was one of the most widely exchanged materials in the Americas; in Indigenous communities, it is still shared today as part of a complex reciprocal economy. Sculptures like Counterblaste (2021) thus serve as symbols for colonial governments’ imposition of capitalism onto Indigenous peoples, as well as a reminder of Indigenous cultures’ endurance in the present. The proportions of Disintegration and Dispersal (both 2019), both flags sewn from dried tobacco leaves, are based on the US dollar bill; they might call to mind the “tobacco notes” that were among the first forms of paper currency in British North American colonies. Hill’s evocative remixing of materials critiques settler colonialism while honoring expansive economic models that find power in reciprocity.

Ian Wallace

Central Pavilion
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