Curating the Self: Cathy Busby
Power in the Darkness

February 22, 2016

Or Gallery is pleased to present a talk by artist Cathy Busby, the second installment in our Curating the Self lecture series.


Busby will revisit the period when she first began exploring the politics of pain and its relief, and then consider how this theme has informed her more recent works. This early period of inquiry led to projects including her Self-Help Book Library (1994), the exhibition Where Does It Hurt? (1996) and culminated in a book she co-edited with Bill Burns and Kim Sawchuk entitled When Pain Strikes (University of Minnesota Press, 1998).


Early in the new millennium I began tracking public apologies in the news made by CEOs, sports stars and politicians. This became source material for a series of prints, installations and bookworks entitled Sorry. During this time the momentous, long-awaited apologies by federal governments were made to Aboriginal people for residential schools in Canada and the ‘Stolen Generations’ in Australia (2008). I felt their commemoration was important, especially in light of the assertion by Justice Murray Sinclair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that “We’re all in this together.” I made several iterations of We Are Sorry, temporary public monuments in Canada and Australia, as well as installations and bookworks (2008-16).


Still expanding ideas about pain relief, I undertook the project Steve’s Vinyl which led me to think about belongings, mourning, community and personal history. For many years I had kept the nearly 200 record albums my late brother Steve left me when he died of AIDS-related illness. I neither played nor looked at them. It gradually occurred to me to create an installation and performance giveaway event. A book documenting this event followed (Steve’s Vinyl, Emily Carr University Press + Visual AIDS New York, 2013).


In anticipation of this lecture, Or Gallery will host a reading group focused on two chapters from When Pain Strikes. The reading group will take place at the Or on Wednesday February 17 at 7PM. Space is limited so please RSVP.


Curating the Self is a lecture series that explores the construction of identity in relation to the discipline of curating as well as the many forms of cultural assemblage that have lately begun to appropriate and adapt curatorial strategies for their own purposes.


Thanks to TRB for the title and the Chronicle Herald, Halifax.

Participant Bios

Cathy Busby is a Canadian artist based in Vancouver. She has a PhD in Communication (Concordia University, 1999) and was a Fulbright Scholar at New York University (1995-96). She has an MA in Media Studies (Concordia University, 1992) and a BFA (1984) from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She has been exhibiting her work internationally over the past 20 years.