Canadian Art Book

Florence Yee

2nd year, Painting and Drawing

A History of Art History Through Cultural Reproduction
15” x 22” charcoal and graphite on paper

As cultural reproductions of Canadian art, art history textbooks can shape our conception of the country, of marginalized groups and how they do or don’t belong in Canada. In the past, undergraduate history texts have relied heavily on colonial models of understanding—they often only represented Eurocentric ideals. The existence of Aboriginal peoples, women and visible minorities within the history of Canadian art was seldom recognized.

My ongoing series of charcoal and graphite drawings, developed in a residency at the Concordia University Fine Arts Reading Room, resemble photocopies of art history textbooks and catalogues. These fake photocopies, made in my own handwriting and using my imagined revision of earlier texts, aim to push back against historically inaccurate texts. The manual reproductions explore the ways in which we learn and internalize ideas about belonging in Canada. How can we disrupt racist and sexist narratives to promote more inclusive educational programs for all students?