Craft in America

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Nicholas Galanin on "White Noise, American Prayer Rug"

Artist Nicholas Galanin on "White Noise, American Prayer Rug", one of two pieces by Galanin included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Bonus video from the STORYTELLERS episode.

AIRED: December 11, 2020 | 0:03:09
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TRANSCRIPT

White Noise American Prayer Rug is a conversation with media, with American culture,

and consumption of media. White noise, is a noise that's used to drone out other sounds or noises so

in that instance our communities and our voices are oftentimes drowned out.

American Prayer is a connection to our historical relationship to religion. The weaponization of

religion towards indigenous communities this was one of the works at the Whitney Biennial in 2019.

The Whitney obviously it's a powerful institution so to get an invite to the Biennial was obviously

an honor considering the lack of representation historically in those spaces from our communities,

um so it was a to me there's a a responsibility of sorts to be able to show up and have a voice

in a place like that where we genuinely don't have voices of representing our

perspectives knowingly though with the Whitney like many institutions um we have to hold those

places accountable for how they operate, how they're funded, where they- where that comes

from, what they represent, who's on the boards, who's on those committees, who's

in the those positions to um to successfully do what their role might be or their missions

might be which is often times to to represent a larger community. One of their board members has

Warren B. Kander's and Kander's heavily profited off of state sanctioned violence. Tear gas was

used heavily by law enforcement against our communities at standing rock, used against

women and children at the border, it was used in Ferguson, and then more recently a lot of the

anti-police brutality protests and black lives matter's movement. These products show up and

are utilized often against our communities you know it was in a position to actively protest

that by demanding removal of my work from the biennial alongside four other artists

and you know four others followed suit. Also, one artist rejected

the whole Biennial before it had opened. Kander resigned from his position and sold

that business which isn't a solution either necessarily because somebody's still operating

that and our police forces are still heavily funded in our country in a time where our

education system is highly defunded so those imbalances are really problematic I feel like.

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