Episode 3: Fred Wah Interviews David Garneau at Wisdom Council

May 19, 2020

Episode 3: Fred Wah Interviews David Garneau at Wisdom Council

Show notes:

This interview of David Garneau by Fred Wah was recorded during a TIA House symposium called Wisdom Council in September 2019. Wisdom Council recognized the imperfect knowledge transmission methods of the colonial system, and particularly the ways it has tended to fragment non-Western knowledges and privilege the textual over the oral. Using a combination of traditional and contemporary practices, it brought together a small council of mostly BIPOC senior practitioners in the contemporary arts to sit in council over three days to discuss such topics as what our communities need now; memory and forgetting; care of elders in racialized communities; stories of the past, present and future; stories in cyclical time; community formations they’ve experienced; community formations they remember; how they understand the work that needs to be done; and practices and strategies that might be of use or interest in the present moment. This interview was recorded as part of the gathering’s work.

David Garneau (Métis) is a Visual Arts Professor at the University of Regina whose practice includes painting, curation, and critical writing. He recently co-curated, with Kathleen Ash Milby, Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound, National Museum of the American Indian, New York; Moving Forward, Never Forgetting, with Michelle LaVallee, an exhibition concerning the legacies of Indian Residential Schools, other forms of aggressive assimilation, and (re)conciliation, at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina; and With Secrecy and Despatch, with Tess Allas, an international exhibition about massacres of Indigenous people and memorialization for the Campbelltown Art Centre, Sydney, Australia. Garneau has recently given keynote talks in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and throughout Canada.

B.C. poet Fred Wah’s most recent project is a collaboration with Rita Wong about the Columbia River, beholden: a poem as long as the river. Scree: The Collected Earlier Poems, 1962-1991 was published in 2015. High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese, An Interactive Poem, is available online ( He lives in Vancouver and on Kootenay Lake.

10:20: David discusses his article “Beyond the Pale: Looking for E/Quality Outside the White Imaginary.” Parallelogram, vol. 20, no. 1, Toronto: Association of National Non-Profit Artists’ Centres, 1994.

14:15: For some of the work of Roy Kiyooka, see

22:45: Keith Bird’s MFA thesis exhibition was called Stories from the Spirit Tree, at the MacKenzie Art Gallery, October 12-20, 2013.

25:32: David refers to Fred Wah’s book Diamond Grill, NeWest Press, 1996.

26:20: Fred quotes here from David’s “Extra-Rational Aesthetic Action and Decolonization,” Fuse Magazine, vol. 36, no. 4, Fall 2013, pp. 14-21.

31:20: Fred quotes from another article of David’s: “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation: Art, Curation, and Healing,” Arts of Engagement: Taking Aesthetic Action in and Beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, edited by Dylan Robinson and Keavy Martin, Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2016, pp. 21-41.

40:28: Here is the Bear Claw Gallery’s website:

41:52: David refers to “The One-and-a-Half-Men: The Story of Jim Brady and Malcolm Norris”:

Here are a few of David Garneau’s paintings discussed in the interview:

“Apple Press.” Acrylic on masonite, 31 cm x 40.5 cm, 2019


“Indigenous Research Methodology (I).” Acrylic on masonite, 40 cm x 50 cm, 2019

“Indigenous. Academic. Solidarity.” Acrylic on canvas. 92 x 76.5 cm. 2019

TIA House recognizes the generous support of the Canada Research Chairs program and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We also appreciate the support of the Faculty of Arts and the Department of English at the University of Calgary, where our offices are housed, as well as the guidance of Marc Stoeckle at the Taylor Family Digital Library. TIA House is run by Larissa Lai, Trynne Delaney, Rebecca Geleyn, Isabelle Michalski, and Joshua Whitehead. 


Our Intro/Outro music is Monarch of the Streets by Loyalty Freak Music, accessed from the Free Music Archive.

The transcript for Episode 3 is available here: TIA House Talks Episode 3 Transcript

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