Dana Claxton is a critically acclaimed artist who works in film, video, photography, single and multi-channel video installation and performance art. Born in 1959 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, of Hunkpapa Lakota heritage, she grew up in Moose Jaw. Her practice investigates beauty, the body, the socio-political and the spiritual, combining her multi-layered world view with Indigenous issues both past and present.
Her work has been shown internationally at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York City) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney, Australia) and is held in public, private and corporate collections across Canada, including the Vancouver Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada. She has received numerous awards, including Best Experimental Film at the imagineNATIVE Film Festival and the Hnatyshyn Award for outstanding achievement. Dana is head and associate professor in the Department of Visual Art, Art History and Theory at the University of British Columbia, where she teaches theory about love, performance art and studio practice. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, on unceded Salish Territory.
“Having started her creative journey as a poet, Claxton’s visual arts practice is equal parts minimalist and lyrical. Yet her video work and performances are also always adept at confronting the commercialized commodity culture of entertainment as connected to the stereotyping and marginalization of Indigenous voices and bodies.
Claxton’s move from film and video to performance, photo, printed matter and relational practices are characteristic of the growth, risk-taking and experimentation that mark her prolific career.
Across her multifaceted practice, Claxton generously supports and encourages her creative peers and community members, while advancing an interdisciplinary visual arts practice that challenges all Canadians to reckon with the ongoing legacies of colonialism. She is a restless artist who continues to expand the representational and relational possibilities of each medium and format that she takes up, as she works to redress, provoke and expand the visual arts landscape of this country—and beyond.”
Nominator: Or Gallery, Denise Ryner, Director/Curator
“She is a restless artist who continues to expand the representational and relational possibilities of each medium and format that she takes up, as she works to redress, provoke and expand the visual arts landscape of this country—and beyond.”