Corey Bulpitt (Haida)
Spray paint on canvas
67 x 117″ (170.18 x 297.18 cm)
Inspired by expressions of Haida and hip hop culture, Corey’s use of graffiti references the freedom of the urban medium through its distinct combination with Northwest Coast formline.
Corey writes about the piece: “My whole graffiti career started tagging with my friends and I wanted to pay tribute to that beginning, so I had the canvas tagged up with some friends. We were working on the canvas in my yard when my gardener was working. He asked what it was and when I said it was my art piece, he replied with vigor “This. This is not art!” He was rather adamant about it. In an alley off Hastings me and two others put the art lettering over the tags in white. This is speaking about the white institutionalized gallery walls in stark comparison to the completely covered walls we paint in the streets.”
Corey was part of the 2012 touring exhibition, Beat Nation: Art, Hip-Hop and Aboriginal Culture, initiated by the Vancouver Art Gallery. In 2014, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) hosted the show, succinctly noting that: “Since the early 1990s, hip hop has been a driving force of activism for urban Aboriginal youth in communities across the continent. The roots of the music have been influential across disciplines and have been transformed to create dynamic forums for storytelling and indigenous languages, as well as new modes of political expression. In the visual arts, artists remix, mash up and weave together the old with the new, the rural with the urban, traditional and contemporary as a means to rediscover and reinterpret Aboriginal culture within the shifting terrain of the mainstream.”