Arts

Keep Calm and Decolonize — visions of a decolonized Canada — premieres Monday

Five filmmakers explore what a decolonized Canada might look like in response to Buffy Sainte-Marie's call to "Keep Calm and Decolonize."

Five filmmakers respond to Buffy Sainte-Marie's call to "Keep Calm and Decolonize"

(Jaque Fragua)

As the country marks 150 years of Confederation, five of Canada's most distinguished filmmakers respond to Buffy Sainte-Marie's call to "Keep Calm and Decolonize" and offer an alternative vision. From shadow puppets to documentary, these stories explore what a "decolonized" Canada might look like, imagining a world no longer bound by the structures you know, where the circle of voices is larger.

It is possible to create new worlds together, free of barriers historic and current. Just Keep Calm and Decolonize.

Curated by Jesse Wente, Keep Calm and Decolonize premieres Monday here on CBC Arts with these five films:

"Flood" by Amanda Strong 

(Amanda Strong)

A young woman, guided by Spider Woman, must overcome colonial history and education to find herself. Michif director and animator Amanda Strong combines puppets and stop motion in this arrestingly beautiful short.

"Walking is Medicine" by Alanis Obomsawin​

(Alanis Obomsawin)

The Nishiyuu walkers made the trek from Whapmagoostui in Quebec to Ottawa, a 1,600-kilometre journey whose roots date back millennia. At the heart of legendary director Alanis Obomsawin's latest short documentary — her 51st film in 50 years of filmmaking — is the idea of walking as activism, as well as a symbol of decolonization and an embrace of the traditional.

"Marco's Oriental Noodles" by Howie Shia

(Howie Shia)

​A futuristic noodle shop in small-town Saskatchewan has become the world's first purveyor of the latest in culinary fashion: psychedelic polydimensional comfort food. In this lovingly bizarre short, director and animator Howie Shia examines the small, largely unnoticeable ways in which colonization seeps into our lives — and asks, "What is the responsibility of those who dine at a colonial supper table?" Dig in.

"Pink:Diss" by John Greyson

(John Greyson)

​The colour pink has been ascribed many meanings, from a reflection of the feminine to a symbol of reclaimed humanity by LGBTQ2S communities. In his latest work, avant-garde filmmaker John Greyson explores the colonial implications of the colour pink, from its association with activist movements to its colouring of the water in Grassy Narrows due to mercury poisoning. Pink this.

"Brave Overseas" by Yung Chang

(Yung Chang)

What's in a name? Filmmaker Yung Chang explores the meaning and origins of both of his names: the one given to him in Oshawa when he was born and the Chinese name that drew him back to his homeland. Using home movies, Chang has crafted a personal and poignant portrait of colonial influence on identity.

Five filmmakers respond to Buffy Sainte-Marie's call to "Keep Calm and Decolonize." From shadow puppets to documentary, these stories explore what a "decolonized" Canada might look like. Watch Keep Calm and Decolonize Monday November 27 here at CBC Arts.


A note about the Keep Calm and Decolonize artwork

The distinctive red-and-white "Keep Calm and Decolonize" word mark was created by Jaque Fragua, a celebrated artist from Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico, whose work features visions drawn from traditional Native American ceramics, blankets, tattoo designs and more. Fragua repurposes his culture's iconography in an effort to subvert what he refers to as the "overconsumption of misappropriated Native American design and identity."

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