On January 10th, 2016, I finally put together my first solo show, entitled “Linocuts, Love & Liberation” at Solstice Cafe on Lekwungen Territories, in “Victoria, BC”.
Quote by Anne Braden – In 2013, I participated in the Anne Braden program, a 4 month anti-racist training for white social justice activists, put on by the Catalyst Project, a political education collective based on Ohlone territories, in San Francisco, CA. The program is named for Anne Braden, a white woman in the south who fought fiercely for racial justice. http://www.collectiveliberation.org
Photo credit: Joelle
Dear friends Billy and Joelle helped me put up the show.
“Building Resistance” – this was the first print I made for Unist’ot’en Camp, used as a fundraiser and a t-shirt design. http://www.unistotencamp.com
“CCWP” – this print I made for California Coalition of Women Prisoners, a “grassroots social justice organization, with members inside and outside prison, that challenges the institutional violence imposed on women, transgender people, and communities of color by the prison industrial complex (PIC)”, when I worked with them as a volunteer in 2013. http://www.womenprisoners.org
“Colonization” – this print reflects my thinking about the history and present that is seeped right into the very land that I am standing on. As a settler, my being here implicates me in some very violent realities. For example, my family was privileged by a racist immigration system to come to so-called “Canada” due to being white and being from Northern Europe, where they were given stolen land that had been taken from Indigenous people by genocide and violent force. Land-theft is still going on all around, hence the many, many land-defense struggles that Indigenous people are having to maintain all over so-called “Canada”.
“Each of Us” – this print is a collaboration between my pen pal and I. Mutope and I have been pen pals for over a year and a half, after being connected through the Human Rights Pen Pal program, which connects people in solitary confinement with outside pen pals. From Mutope: “My values are rooted in the New Afrikan principles that teach me how to treat fellow human beings. My strength is rooted in being educated in truth; I study the world and people. I establish balance by mentally, physically, spiritually, & socially understanding that we have to nurture our being by exercising these four areas, in order to achieve growth in our lives. It is the strengthening of these four areas that will bring about political and ideological development. My interest is about using education i.e. truth in civilizing humanity & decolonizing those who have been compromised by the colonial powers and the system of colonialism.” http://humanrightspenpals.org/
“Each One Teach One” – I made this for the PLEJ for Liberation program, where I currently volunteer. “PLEJ (Power, Love, Education and Justice) for Liberation is an innovative project that brings together social justice educators in the community with imprisoned educators in California’s solitary confinement cells.” My pen pal who is incarcerated in California, often refers to his and our responsibility of “each one teach one”, or sharing what we have learned with each other. Interested in becoming a community educator and creating curriculum with an imprisoned educator? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Holy Trinity” – I did some research into birthing traditions of the Celts as part of trying to learn more about where my ancestors are from and learned that before the holy trinity referred to Christianity’s father, son and holy ghost, it referred to the sun, sea and the sky. This made me think of the changing worldview of my ancestors and the impacts that had on the world around them as well as people in other places when these Europeans starting going on colonizing missions all over the world.
Joelle helped lots.
“Kwetlal” – this print was made for the Community Tool Shed project, which is part of Lekwungen Food Systems. “The Lekwungen Food Systems (LFS) project aims to reinstate Indigenous food systems and food systems management in the Capital Region District of BC. The project creates awareness about the history and current practices surrounding Indigenous foods with the goal of increasing the number of people involved in removing invasive plants and reinstating indigenous food systems our already stressed, and heavily modified local ecosystems. Additionally the Lekwungen Food Systems project operates with a view towards food sovereignty in the region, ensuring that cultural roles and responsibilities are respected in regards to Indigenous food systems, while creating opportunities to celebrate food and remember the importance of these systems and the food stuffs they provide.” I have been deeply grateful to be involved with the Lekwungen Food Systems and the Community Tool Shed project over the last 6 years. http://lekwungenfoodsystems.org/
“Life Beyond Bars” – I made this piece thinking about prisons while working with young people at the Victoria Youth Custody Center as a volunteer. A young woman I worked with made me a beautiful painting and I wanted to make something for her. We both spent a lot of time talking about what her life would look like once she was not in prison, beyond the bars.
“Portrait of my mother” – this is a print that I made for my mother, Jennifer. She died in 2008 and was a beautiful soul and an artist.
“No Access Without Consent” – this print was made for and about Unist’ot’en Camp and I use it as a fundraising print to raise money for the camp, an Indigenous frontline camp of the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en who are re-occupying their traditional territory. http://www.facebook.com/unistoten
“Now is the time for True Courage” – this print is a quote by Bree Newsome, the courageous activist who scaled the flag pole at the South Carolina State House and took down the confederate flag, a symbol of hate and racism, in June 2015. This image is of the hands of marchers who walked across the Ravenel Bridge, thousands strong, in Charleston, South Carolina, to show support for the Mother Emanuel Church after a white supremacist gunman murdered 9 black congregants of the church in June 2015.
Prints on the wall at Solstice.
Prints on the other wall at Solstice. Inlcudes “Solitary is torture” – I made this during the massive hunger strikes in 2013 of over 30,000 in the California prison system, one of the most draconian in the world. “California holds 12,000 people in extreme isolation at a cost of over $60 million per year. The cells have no windows, and no access to fresh air or sunlight. The United Nations condemns the use of solitary confinement for more than 15 days as torture, yet many people in California state prisons have been encaged in solitary for 10 to 40 years!” https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/
and “Salmon Spill” – I made this after hearing of an oil spill into the waters belonging to the WSANEC people on so-called Vancouver Island. After being so blessed to have seen the salmon who come here to spawn and die, I was thinking about the impacts that oil would have on the fish and their fry as well as all the living beings that co-exist with and depend on the salmon.
“Stop the Destruction” – this print was made about the Healing Walk, which took place for 6 years annually. The Healing Walk, organized by members of the most-impacted Indigenous communities surrounding the “biggest energy project in the world” in order to raise awareness of the genocidal impacts of the tar sands. http://www.healingwalk.org
“Thank you” – this print was made in order to give thank you cards to organizers and community members, for their tireless work in pursuit of liberation and justice. I want to always remember to have deep gratitude and express it as often as I can!
“End White Supremacy” – I made this when George Zimmerman was not indicted for the murder of black teenager Trayvon Martin. I wanted to create something that called upon those of us who benefit from and maintain white supremacy to take action.
“We are Protectors” – this print was made for Ancestral Pride, a group committed to Indigenous Reoccupation of Ancestral Lands, based in Ahousaht territories. “Our aim is to ensure the continuity of the land, by educating ourselves, and others as much as we can about the need to connect with our home lands”. http://ancestralpride.ca
“Pain and art” – I made this piece about the connection for me between art and healing. To me, art plays an immense role in working for alternatives because it accesses a critical component of any movement – creativity. It inspires imaginative response to catastrophic realities and re-educates me every time that each of us holds immense power to imagine ourselves and the world differently. And collaborations multiply our power!
“Do Not Sit Idle” – this is a quote by Marilyn Buck, an activist and poet who spent much of her life in prison. To me, her words and actions always encourage me to keep working, keep moving, as even prison could not stop her. http://www.marilynbuck.com
“Red Umbrella Day” – this print was made for the annual Red Umbrella Day events which mark the December 17th International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. “The first International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was organized a decade ago by the Sex Workers Outreach Project in San Francisco to memorialize the people murdered by serial killer Gary Ridgway. Ridgway captured the attitude that cultivates violence towards sex workers: “I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.”” (From: http://redumbrellaproject.org/advocate/antiviolence/
) PEERS Victoria Resource Society, an “innovative, multi-service grassroots agency that was established by, with, and for sex workers in 1995” made t-shirts with this print in 2014. http://www.safersexwork.ca/
“Respect the people, respect the land” – made for land-defenders who were protesting the Northern Gateway proposed pipeline project specifically and more generally for all Indigenous land-defenders. http://pipeupagainstenbridge.ca/
“Poster from No One is Illegal’s “People’s History of Canada/Kanada Poster Project” – this poster is part of a larger poster project, which I was extremely privileged and grateful to be part of. “No One is Illegal-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories is a grassroots anti-colonial migrant justice group with leadership from members of migrant and/or racialized backgrounds.” http://www.nooneisillegal.org/
Original poster text: “War Measures Act: During World War Two, the 22,000 strong Japanese-Canadian community of the Pacific coast was forcibly relocated due to racist fear. Houses, businesses and fishing boats were seized by the government. Nearly 800 Japanese-Canadians were interned between 1939 and 1945. Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition grounds, where detainees were held in stalls intended for animals, was one of many detention sites. A full formal apology and compensation came half a century later, in 1988, due to sustained public pressure and organizing by the community and supporters. Immigration and Refugee Protection Action: Today, Muslims, Arabs and South Asians in Canada are the targets of racial profiling and racist immigration laws. As the borders of the nation-state become increasingly militarized, citizenship becomes a means of discrimination by the state. In addition to more than 200,000 people who live without status in Canada, and the approximately 10,000 people detained and deported every year by the Canadian state, five Muslim men continue to be detained indefinitely without charge or trial, held on Security Certificates. Four are currently under extreme house arrest and one remains in solitary confinement, despite a Supreme Court ruling that Security Certificates violate the Charter.”
“End Police Brutality” – this piece was created as part of a collaboration between myself, spoken word poet David James Hudson, and graphic designer Molly Jane. The names are all of people of color and Indigenous people murdered by police. This was made in 2013; it is obvious and horrific that so many more names could be added since then. David’s performance of his poem, “Another Unoriginal Poem About Police Brutality” can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_iMip5YoK0&feature=youtu.be
Original text from poster: “End Police Brutality. Write. Speak. Press record. Bear Witness. Look beyond individual incidents, officers and forces. Talk with your friends. Listen to your neighbours. Ask questions about prisons. Ask questions about profits. Ask about whiteness. Ask about what’s in the news and what’s not. Ask about history – about what’s happening now and what happened then. And do not be surprised if it happens again. But prepare to be outraged.”
“ask.listen.respect” – this print was commissioned by the Anti.Violence.Project, an University of Victoria-based organization “committed to addressing and ending gender-based violence on campus and beyond”. http://www.antiviolenceproject.org/
Here is the write up about the show:
These linocuts represent over 15 years of printmaking and this is the first time I have displayed my prints solo. I wanted to put this on in order to share my work in the community that I grew up in. This show takes place on the territories of the Lekwungen people, on whose homelands I have lived for most of my life.
Printmaking is one way that I have been able to take part in powerful movements for social justice and much of my work is inspired by the community members, communities, activists, organizers and organizations who have committed their lives to working for change, justice and liberation.
The reference to liberation in the title does not refer to my own notions of liberation but rather to the powerful imaginings of what a world free of violence, hate and fear means and is articulated by people leading the way, some of whom I have been so fortunate to meet, know and work with.
Thank you so much to solstice cafe for hosting the show, to the Vancouver Public Interest Research Group for the grant to print and frame my work, and to Kîwetinohk Kîsik for hosting me while I prepped for this show. Thank you most of all to the people and communities who so tirelessly fight for change everyday.
The show will be up from January 9 til at least January 31 at solstice cafe. I will be working on posting photos and write ups from the show on my website, https://anniembanks.wordpress.com/, and will post updates here when that is complete.
Artist’s Statement: Annie Banks
My name is Annie Banks and I am a white settler, activist and organizer, who grew up mainly on Lkwungen territories in so-called Victoria. I was born in “America”, on Shawnee territories, and moved with my family when I was 7. I’m deeply grateful to have grown up on these territories and within many beautiful communities of people here.
I started printmaking in high school and the prints you see here are a result of 15 years of printmaking. I learned from my grade 10 art teacher how to do a linocut and have been making prints ever since. I like lino-printmaking because it is fairly inexpensive, accessible and can be learned and shared quickly.
I wanted to put on a show of my work to share all that I have been so privileged to be part of, especially in terms of political work and movements. I have mainly used my prints as a means to raise funds , awareness and support for social justice work happening in many communities. I have included with each print a write-up and links to the political work that they are about.
While the prints have been made between 2000 and now, I cannot remember all the dates so I just put the re-print date (2016) on all of them. All of these prints are for sale and the proceeds of the prints that are about specific social justice movements will go to those groups and organizations that are referenced.
Please get in touch with me if you would like: email@example.com, https://anniembanks.wordpress.com/