We would like to begin by acknowledging that we are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.
Over the summer of 2019, in celebration of the Centre for Art Tapes’ (CFAT) 40th Anniversary, five artists were invited to dig through the CFAT archives. Each visiting artist was assigned a decade: Life of a Craphead, an artist duo made up of Jon McCurley and Amy Lam, were given the 80s, Raven Davis the 90s, Divya Mehra the early 2000s and Veronica Simmonds the 2010s. Following this research each artist was commissioned to produce a work of art that responds and explores the archives from their assigned decade. "The More Things Change…" is the culmination of their research and artistic production.
To accompany this exhibition, CFAT commissioned four writers to reflect on archives in general. Each of the essays take a unique approach to the subject matter; who archives serve and fail; memory and nostalgia; CFAT’s archives; and the notion of looking forward while reconciling with the past. We are pleased to present the publication, titled On Archives, which includes the writing of Amanda Shore, francesca ekwuyasi, Kara Au and Kitt Peacock.
In francesca ekwuyasi’s essay, the author interviewed CFAT’s archivist, Creighton Barrett. When reflecting on this show, Barrett stated rather succinctly:
I think the CFAT 40th-anniversary show recognizes that CFAT’s history (and thus, it’s archive) is not representative or diverse. There are gaps in the historical record. Will these projects fix the problems? No. That takes ongoing effort, and the responsibility rests as much on CFAT as it does the Archives. But they will demonstrate self-awareness and desire for change, which I think is pretty important. They also show that we are trying to learn from what is *not* there.
The Centre for Art Tapes would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts, Arts Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Community, Culture and Heritage program. We would also like to thank the many past and present community members of CFAT’s last forty years. Here’s to another forty.