Other works in “Showing Initiatives II” include “Skate Break” by Peatr Thomas, “Little Blue Bird” by Amber Twoyoungmem and Kez Lefthand, and “The Unbothered” by Shawn Cuthand. Thomas’ piece “Skate Break” follows a young man through the streets of Winnipeg as he visits various murals on his skateboard and eventually solves a riddle that will take him to the pow wow. The piece was completed during the Manito Ahbee 48 Hour Film Contest in 2019 and although not made through any initiative brought about by Video Pool, it is a video that has been supported by being in Video Pool’s distribution network. This fresh voice offers a new contribution to the media arts scene that is a most welcome addition.
“Little Blue Bird” by Twoyoungmen and Lefthand came out of an initiative through Calgary’s Nakoda AV Club in 2014. The song featured in the video is a Nakoda lullaby that was recorded and animated by Stoney youth. Working with the Stoney Education Language and Culture Team, this project aimed to use multimedia tools to assist teachers in bringing the Nakoda language into a classroom setting. The result is a short, sweet video with appeal to children and adults alike.
The final work included in “Showing Initiatives II” is “The Unbothered” by Shawn Cuthand of Saskatoon. This piece was created in 2019 as a Super 8 One Take short film, shot on one roll of super 8 film with no editing or splices. Cuthand is a comedian and the piece is imbued with a sense of humour as it tells the tale of two hikers who come across “The Unbothered”, a duo who offer to show the hikers how to live off the land in the Saskatchewan bush. There is an energetic immediacy and a sense of playfulness to the piece that speaks to the way in which it was made. Although these three video works were not created through assistance from Video Pool their inclusion in “Showing Initiatives II” is important as a signifier of ways in which Indigenous youth and emerging video artists are making their mark in media arts across the Canadian prairies.
It’s been seven years since Video Pool’s 30th Anniversary and the launch of “Showing Initiatives” yet much has changed in the landscape of media arts since that time. In the 2013 essay I wrote that “The possibilities for encouraging the ongoing creation of video work by Aboriginal artists are vast, and as Video Pool heads toward its thirty-first year, it is my hope that these initiatives mature and grow dynamically in the same way that this organization has done over the past three decades.” While there remains work to be done, particularly around the means of further supporting established and senior Indigenous video artists, Video Pool continues to refine the ways in which their initiatives serve to assist in the ongoing practices of young Indigenous video artists. “Showing Initiatives II” offers a small glimpse at how things are moving ahead and perhaps hinting at where things can go into the future. Whether it is the next seven years or the next thirty years, Indigenous video artists will continue to help shape the sphere of media arts with their voices and stories, and that is an initiative worth showing.
“Showing Initiatives II” offers a small glimpse at how things are moving ahead and perhaps hinting at where things can go into the future.