Can There Be Catharsis for Colonizers?

Brandon Cotter,
Vancouver, BC

Size

89" x 3" x 41"

Medium

Hand-Bleached Candian Red Ensign (1920c.), Handmade Gold Beaver Finial, Flag pole and bracket.

I hand-bleached this Canadian flag in a metal bucket for over an hour in my kitchen. As I churned the slowly fading symbol of colonialism through the murky broth, I thought about my country and my ancestors. How does a person reconcile with their damning ancestral history? Will I find catharsis in this manual labour I am doing? Do I deserve relief? Can there be catharsis for colonizers? When the process was finally over and I had stripped as much colour from the flag as I could, I wrung it out over my bathtub and hung it to dry.

Can There Be Catharsis for Colonizers?

Brandon Cotter,
Vancouver, BC

About the artist
About the artist

Brandon Cotter
Vancouver, BC

M. Brandon Cotter (b. 1988, Vancouver, B.C.) is a Canadian interdisciplinary visual artist living and working in Vancouver, BC, on the un-ceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Brandon makes work from his perspective as an able-bodied white male settler. One of the primary focuses of Brandon's artistic practice is responding to societal problems stemming from the colonization of Canada, from his perspective as a settler. Through his work and a critical engagement with Canada's past he hopes to re-chart white settler relationships towards indigenous and immigrant populations and open up new avenues for cultural understanding.

Follow on social