Poetry That Pulls at the Seams of Colonial Power and Memory

An excerpt from Perfidia, by Sky Hopinka (Wendy’s Subway and CCS Bard, 2020) (all images courtesy Wendy’s Subway)

In his writings, films, and photographs, Sky Hopinka wades through the recesses of memories. These might include his own recollections, the hazier perspectives of intimate collaborators and ancestors, or the pointed omissions of colonial actors. Each of these crucial, yet immaterial perspectives finds a register in his work, which foregrounds Indigenous languages, spiritual teachings, and notions of personhood amid a cultural landscape that has, for centuries, denigrated and denied their importance.

The cover of Perfidia (Wendy’s Subway and CCS Bard, 2020)

With Perfidia, a new book of the artist-filmmaker’s writings, edited by Julie Niemi and stunningly designed by Chris Lee, Hopinka delves further into the effects of the violent foundations of the US, and their impact on the everyday lives of Indigenous peoples. A first-person narrative (Hopinka is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians), the text takes the form of a lengthy poem, and unfolds via a series of lucid cantos. These poetic compositions are punctuated by the artist’s own photographs, which alternate between the serene and more foreboding visions. Essays by Niemi and Lauren Cornell ground the cantos in historical events and situate Perfidia as a snippet of a practice rooted in the slipperiness of documenting the immaterial.

Sky Hopinka, “Above a pinery in winter,” excerpted from Perfidia (Wendy’s Subway and CCS Bard, 2020)

Co-published by Wendy’s Subway and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard), Perfidia is a companion to Centers of Somewhere, Hopinka’s first solo museum exhibition, curated by Cornell at Bard’s Hessel Museum of Art.

Peruse below for a sneak peek of the limited-run book, out today (October 16) on Bookshop.

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An excerpt from Perfidia (Wendy’s Subway and CCS Bard, 2020)
Canto no. 1 from Perfidia (Wendy’s Subway and CCS Bard, 2020)
Sky Hopinka, “A Landing on the shore of Hylebos Creek,” excerpted from Perfidia (Wendy’s Subway and CCS Bard, 2020)
Canto no. 16 from Perfidia (Wendy’s Subway and CCS Bard, 2020)

Perfidia, by Sky Hopinka and edited by Julie Niemi, (Wendy’s Subway and CCS Bard, 2020) is now available on Bookshop.

Enjoy a sneak peek of Perfidia, a new book from Sky Hopinka, which examines collective memory and the everyday impacts of colonial violence upon Indigenous peoples.Read MoreBooks, CCS Bard, New York, Sky Hopinka, Wendy’s SubwayHyperallergicRead More

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