Re. Emily Carr’s Painting “Indian Church”

(Our intrepid author wandering the Emily Carr Gallery in Victoria)

It was presumptuous and egotistical for pc-ers to rename her painting. That is what the artist called it and it has bothered nobody, First Nations Peoples included, all these years until now. One can imagine how ecstatic and gloating the pc-ers are that they had some imagined righteous power and changed the title, ‘repairing’ a lot of imagined past damage. *What they did, in actuality was a significant appropriation of intellectual property.

Fact: In Carr’s time, First Nations Peoples were commonly called “Indians” and were referred to that way by government and themselves that way. Carr, incidentally, was very pro-native and some of her best friends (e.g., Sophie) were native. She had a great appreciation for their culture and humor, and was, by no means, a racist. The fact that she chose a native church, totem poles, etc. to paint often shows that she was interested in immortalizing their art and culture.

No, what instead should have happened or been done was to make a reasonable-sized sign for gallery-goers to read under the painting somewhere, indicating that “Indian” had passed out of favor. Officially and arbitrarily renaming the painting was a huge overstep and abuse of the privilege of being able to exhibit the painting.

One of poet John Updike’s most famous poems and quotes says “Context is All” and it sure is. Everything has a context and cannot possibly be understood or appreciated without that information. The work of Emily Carr has been abused and exploited unnecessarily by a political correctness she is too dead to protest against. Like a lot of Canadian political correctness alterations, this one is just plain stupid and blindly agenda-ed.

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