selected works
              Laying Flowers
              French Exit
              Freezer Burn
              Leads Back
              Pack of Dogs
              March 2020
              Article 10
              Terms & Conditions


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“Through painting, beadwork, and a sense of candidly absurdist humour, Rain Cabana-Boucher presents $185. By examining ideas of currency, trade, and end-stage capitalist art production from an Indigenous worldview, Cabana-Boucher offers alternative histories and criticism on the construction of Canadian nationalist ideals. Questioning who is represented on our currency and why those effigies are celebrated nationally, the works examine the “Frontier’’ series produced by the Bank of Canada. Cabana-Boucher’s paintings present an antithetical perspective on colonial hegemonies by questioning their relevance to Indigenous histories and peoples.

Different beadwork techniques have been added to the painted canvases, firmly acknowledging beadwork as a valued and integral form of currency. Beads are precious items that have long been utilized as demonstrations of wealth in Indigenous communities. Cabana-Boucher employs appliqué, fringe, and loom-made beadwork on her pieces, to not only add to the aesthetic value, but to signal the canvas as a tradable commodity. Each form of beadwork requires a different set of technical skill, and the considerable and deliberate time spent on each piece correlates time to currency under capitalism.

Indigenous artists are challenged to maintain their traditional practices while existing and being forced to participate in the capitalist market. The commodification of culture is a way that many Indigenous artists have adapted to the demands of capitalism, in order to support family, community, and oneself. Late-stage capitalism demands deliverables under tight deadlines and quick turnarounds, resulting in lost time for the creation process. $185 questions how value is prescribed, by whom, and what can be considered currency under capitalism.

Text by Mel Granley

On view at Wil Aballe Art Projects, June 6-July 6th 2024. 

Documentation image credit Michael Love

2024. RIBELLYOON, Counterfeit Sovereign, Aan layr larivyayr, Indigiqueer ‘$$$’, Can you lend me a buck?