In its entirety, WE ARE SORRY was first exhibited as a public artwork in Melbourne, Australia (2009 – 2013). It was made up of artist Cathy Busby’s edited versions of the governments’ 2008 apologies to Indian Residential School Survivors in Canada and the Indigenous “Stolen Generations” in Australia, printed on vinyl and presented on the exterior of a power sub-station. The next year, by invitation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Busby presented an indoor version at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (2010). WE ARE SORRY commemorated these historic apologies. Following a series of violations to the apology by the Canadian government, Busby made BUDGET CUTS, a billboard at AKA Gallery and Paved Arts in Saskatoon (2012).
WE ARE SORRY 2013 as presented in Koerner Library is a further response to the erosion of the 2008 apologies, particularly the Canadian apology to Indian Residential School Survivors. For it, Busby cut a section from the vinyl of the Canadian apology of WE ARE SORRY in Melbourne. It is presented in the Koerner Library along with pieces of the remaining artwork for the taking by visitors.
The reader is encouraged to learn more about these apologies, opposition to the subsequent budget cuts and related infringements by searching the sampling of links in the accompanying pamphlet. Also in this pamphlet is a listing of resources concerning Indian Residential Schools and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission available through UBC Libraries.
For more information on Witnesses at the Belkin Art Gallery click here.
This exhibition is a collaboration between the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and the Walter C. Koerner Library at The University of British Columbia, and is made possible with the generous support of the Audain Foundation. Art in the Library offers new perspectives on contemporary art by presenting art that questions our current perceptions about the world around us.
Cathy Busby, WE ARE SORRY, 2013.