Sharlene Bamboat: The Queen’s Punishment

FAG Satellite @ Access Gallery

The Queen’s Punishment /Sharlene Bamboat / October 11-13

Performance Schedule: October 11, 8:30 PM / October 12, 8:30 PM / October 13, 9:30 PM

The sentence: 249 feet of copper wire; 154 pennies; 60 acts of retribution

A 3 part performance installation by Sharlene Bamboat.

On March 29, 2012 it was announced that Canada would stop producing the 1¢ coin, commonly known as the penny. A symbol of sovereignty and colonial rule, the penny’s place in Canadian national currency ensured the circulation of the Queen’s profile in Canada’s public sphere since her coronation in 1952. The year 2012 also marked another historic event: the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. What better way to mark the waning of a colonial symbol than the simultaneous pomp and pageantry of a $7.5 million celebration for the Queen in Canada?

As the symbols of nationalism begin to disappear from the public realm, what remains of those figures of colonial history in our present? What legacies do histories of colonialism leave as traces on the geographic and social landscape of contemporary nationalism?

In this first segment of a triptych on the penny and its chemical composition, Bamboat uses performance to chart the history of the Canadian penny through the legacy of British imperialism. Following her own lineage through colonialism, Bamboat considers how the establishment of British rule in Canada (1763) connects with the introduction of the 1¢ coin and handing over of India to the British crown nearly a century later (1858). With the rise and fall of the British Empire, Bamboat traces the residues of those archaic forms of governance – those colonial nationalisms that persist in our present. Matching the punishment to the crime, Bamboat sentences the Queen to a laborious task of accounting for the penny’s history in colonial rule.

To commemorate the punishment, the artist will be issuing limited edition commemorative postcards with 154 absolved pennies.

– Natalie Kouri-Towe

The Queen’s Punishment is the final installation in a series by emerging Feminist artists in conjunction with the FAG Satellite @ Access.

Sharlene Bamboat is a Toronto-based mixed media artist, working predominantly in film, video and performance. Her work calls into question narratives of diaspora, migration and nation building. Through a re-examination of history, Bamboat elicits tongue-in-cheek performances to question our contemporary moment marked by colonialism and neoliberalism.

Bamboat regularly works in collaboration with artists and academics. In 2011, she co-created Border Sounds with media artist Alexis Mitchell. A site specific sound and performance installation, Border Sounds challenged the nature of territorial and national borders culminating in a silent disco in an underground parking garage in Toronto. Bamboat’s 2012 installation, Throwback, a collaboration with the Feminist Art Gallery (FAG) and Montreal-based video and performance artist Ali El-Darsa, was a performative response to queer archiving, and the absence of migrant bodies/stories/histories within queer North American art production. Upcoming shows include a commission for 8Fest, Toronto and a performance for Hemispheric Institute Encuentro, Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Bamboat’s work has been exhibited across Canada, Europe, South Asia and the United Kingdom. She is on the programming committee of the Pleasure Dome Film & Video Collective, and works as the programmer for SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre).

Thank youAliya Pabani, Alexis Mitchell, Ambereen Siddiqui, Ali El Darsa, Allyson Mitchell, Chelsey Lichtawoman, Chase Joynt, Deirdre Logue, Natalie Kouri-Towe, Francisco-Fernando Granados, Queen Elizabeth II & Shaun Dacey

Access Gallery gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, City of Vancouver, our members and volunteers. Access is a member of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres.