Exhibitionists·Video

These aren't just skateboards — they're an artistic confrontation with colonialism

These skate decks by Michael Langan meet history head on with creative renderings of moments from our colonial past.

These skate decks meet history head on with creative renderings of our colonial past

These aren't just skateboards — they're an artistic confrontation with colonialism

Exhibitionists

4 years ago
3:07
These skate decks by Michael Langan meet history head-on with creative renderings of moments from our colonial past. 3:07

A few months ago, CBC Arts ran the story of a group of skateboarders using The Forks in Winnipeg as a place of empowerment. As it turns out, skateboarding forms a hub of sorts for the conversation around colonialism and Indigenous rights. Right now, the Winnipeg Art Gallery is hosting Boarder X, an exhibition highlighting elements of skateboarding and snowboarding that speak to politics, social concerns and even environmental issues.

It's fitting, then, that Colonialism Skateboards founder Michael Langan is using skate decks as a way to investigate his own family's past and the history of oppression of Indigenous peoples. The company uses paintings, old photographs and even text on decks to spark discussion about Indigenous issues.

Inside the Boarder X exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. (CBC Arts)

In this video by correspondent Hanwakan Blaikie Whitecloud and producer Gary Zubeck (featuring additional camera work by Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud and Graham Constant), Colonialism Skateboards and Michael Langan are in the spotlight as Langan stresses how important his decks are to both his sport and his identity.

Boarder X. To April 23, 2017 at Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg. boarderx.wag.ca

Hanwakan (which means 'Northern Lights' in Dakota) Blaikie Whitecloud is a Dakota from Sioux Valley in MB. He is the co-owner of Wakan Productions, bringing stories of urban Indigenous people to life through film. His spare time is spent on social justice projects with his wife Tessa. And he is an avid skateboarder.

Now living in Winnipeg, Gary Zubeck started his career in Toronto as a film editor, working mainly on sports documentaries which aired on CBC Sportsworld and CTV's Wide World of Sports. He later formed his own production company Rocky Point Productions Inc., producing documentaries for broadcast.

Watch Exhibitionists Sunday at 4:30pm (5pm NT) on CBC TV.

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