Sonny Assu. Coke Salish, 2006. Duratrans and Light box 24” x 35”
Sonny Assu (b. 1975, in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Sonny Assu (Liǥwildaʼx̱w of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations) was raised in North Delta, BC, over 250 km away from his home ancestral home on Vancouver Island. Having been raised as your everyday average suburbanite, it wasn’t until he was eight years old that he discovered his Liǥwildax̱w/Kwakwaka’wakw heritage. Later in life, this discovery would be the conceptual focal point that helped launch his unique art practice.
Assu’s artistic practice is diverse: spanning painting, sculpture, photography, digital art and printmaking. Sonny negotiates Western and Kwakwaka’wakw principles of art making as a means of exploring his family history and the experiences of being an Indigenous person in the colonial state of Canada.
The impetus behind my work is to bring to light the dark, hidden history of Canada’s actions/inactions against the Indigenous people. I often infuse my work with wry humour in an attempt to foster a dialogue; to speak to the realities of being an Indigenous person in the colonial state of Canada.
Within this, my work deals with the loss of language, loss of cultural resources and the effects of colonization upon the Indigenous people of North America.