Sonny Assu

Sonny is represented by the Equinox Gallery in Vancouver BC, please see their site for images of some of his work.

Our Interview with Sonny about his work to be displayed at the Exhibition:

Q: Tell us about the work(s) you have on display.
A: I will be displaying The Breakfast Series. It is a work that I created in 2006 for my first solo exhibit in Vancouver. It appropriates the branding and identity of sugary breakfast cereals to comment on Aboriginal issues in Canada.

Q: How do you connect to copyright or the law?
A: Some of my work uses imagery and items from contemporary pop and consumer culture. How I connect to copyright or copyright law is being able to use images that are inspired by our consumer society. Breakfast cereal mascots, Coke, Starbucks and Apple.

Q: Has copyright ever affected your work, and if so, in what way?
A: I get asked a lot if I have ever been confronted by the companies that I am inspired by. The answer is no, I haven’t. But I assume, one day, that I will. The only real instance I have felt affected by copyright is because of the use of pop/consumer culture iconography. I was asked to display my art during the Olympics on the transit system. I was asked to show my breakfast series and Coke Salish piece on the skytrain. One of the cereal boxes was not approved for display, nor was Coke Salish, because one of the brands I was inspired by was a sponsor for the games, as was Coke. One of my other works, iHamatsa Rising, was also set to be displayed during the games on a bus shelter. It was denied, after being printed, on fears that the iconography of the iPod that I included in that work, would be seen as advertising. And advertising, other than approved olympic sponsors, was not allowed in the downtown core during the games.

From Sonny’s website:

A multi-disciplinary artist, Assu merges Aboriginal iconography with the aesthetics of popular culture to challenge the social and historical values placed upon both. An exploration of his mixed ancestry, his work appropriates or transforms items of consumer and popular culture to trace the lineage of his own personal life. Interested in ideas around Aboriginal issues, branding and new technologies, he works across many boundaries and disciplines and in doing so, reveals a ravishing oeuvre that speaks to many.


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