________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 20 . . . . June 9, 2000

cover Yuxweluptun: Man of Masks.

Dana Claxton (Director). Selwyn Jacob (Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1998.
21 min., 35 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9198 101.

Subject Headings:
Canada. Indian Act, in art.
Indian artists-British Columbia-Biography.
Salish Indians-Biography.
Art, Canadian-20th century.

Grade 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Joanne Peters.

**1/2 /4

It is common to hear people speak of "Aboriginal Art" as if it were a "style" or "school" of painting, similar in technique, theme, or composition, much as the works of the Group of Seven or the French Impressionists reflect a collective sensibility. Contemporary Aboriginal artists are as diverse in their technical training, their thematic interests, and their politics as are any group of painters. Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun is a modernist who skillfully depicts modern issues - depletion of the ozone layer, clear-cut logging, racism - using traditional symbols and myths drawn from his Salish heritage. An urban Indian living in Vancouver, Yuxweluptun is a highly political artist: the video opens at a rifle range in Britain, where Yuxweluptun shoots pages of "The Indian Act," first passed by the Canadian government in 1868. Framed copies of the bullet-riddled paper are later displayed in Vancouver at the Grunt Gallery's exhibit of "An Indian shooting The Indian Act." Performance art, computer-generated "virtual reality", and paint on canvas - Yuxweluptun employs a variety of techniques, and the video does a good job of depicting the range of his work.

Although Yuxweluptun: Man of Masks is highly effective in presenting the artist's work, I felt that it was less successful in revealing the man behind the masks. I didn't get a strong sense of Yuxweluptun as a person, although he is obviously a man of strong convictions and passionate belief. Perhaps twenty-one minutes is too short a time to provide much depth. However, as a Canadian resource for senior high school art students, Yuxweluptun: Man of Masks serves a useful, if limited, purpose.

Recommended with Reservations.

Joanne Peters is the teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364