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University of Victoria’s Indigenous art practices impact chair hopes to be catalyst for change

Carey Newman (Hayalthkin’geme) to impact a new generation of art students at UVic
As impact chair for Indigenous art practices at UVic, Carey Newman is jointly appointed to teach in the departments of visual arts, and art history and visual studies. (University of Victoria/Photo Services)

Indigenous artist and master carver, Carey Newman (Hayalthkin’geme), was recently appointed inaugural impact chair in Indigenous art practices with the faculty of fine arts at the University of Victoria.

He was also appointed to UVic’s department of visual arts and the department of art history and visual studies, where he will teach graduate and undergraduate students, all while continuing his own research.

Newman sees the impact chair position as being “not just about the process and practices of Indigenous art-making, but as an opportunity to discover what is possible when the distinctions between disciplines are removed and the processes of creative production and intellectual exchange are transformed … ,” he said in a release.

That transformation comes not only by changing who participates, he said, but also from the questions posed, the approach to finding solutions and the metrics use to evaluate success.

Newman is the third of four inaugural UVic impact chairs appointed to five-year research positions funded by the university’s strategic framework initiative.

Through his art, he strives to bring light to social and environmental injustice by addressing how colonialism and capitalism impact modern society, a release said.

Newman said his artwork is inspired by a spectrum of historical and contemporary social issues.

“In my own creative practice, I build upon the work of those who came before me, making artwork that looks at how the colonial foundations of Canada have created the social, ecological, racial and economic injustices we face today,” he said.

“I believe that by understanding this history and recognizing how it is perpetuated today – and maybe embracing some Indigenous ways of being – we can dismantle what makes it systemic, and eventually live up to the altruistic self-image that has long been embedded in Canada’s national identity.”

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