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Paul Zacharias: Study for the Canadian Museum of Human Wrongs

Fri. Jan. 10 08:00 PM - Fri. Jan. 10 10:00 PM
Location: Zsa Zsa West Gallery

Paul ZachariasMembers of the Cultural Studies Research Group visited Zsa Zsa West Gallery in Winnipeg for Paul Zacharias's showing of Study for the Canadian Museum of Human Wrongs.  In addition to painting, drawing, photography and installation, Zacharias works as an artist in film, theatre, ballet and opera. 

chainsaw detailStudy is a multi-media exhibit of still images, video projections and sculptural objects installed in the gallery space as if to stage a museum, or counter-museum. The work re-insinuates a sense of horror disappeared from certain conceptualizations of what is "appropriate" for display at a human rights museum.  

Paul Zacharias artwork

In his proposal for Study, Zacharias writes that all of the works in the exhibit are "alters to bad ideas...testaments to the seductive nature of violence and imperialism." In particular he draws on critiques of the resource extraction industries (logging, mining, oil) not only for the ways in which the national economy has come to depend upon their exploits, but for how these exploits have become deep-seated within the Canadian psyche.

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In effect the artist's "museum of human wrongs" brings necessary attention to the ongoing devastation wrought upon the land and its inhabitants in the name of progress, and in doing so refuses a national identity built upon a self-image of innocence -- an image that might allow, for instance, a Canadian museum for human rights to name genocides abroad but not upon its own shores. 

Angela Failler is Chancellor's Research Chair with the University of Winnipeg, and Lead Researcher for the Cultural Studies Research Group (CSRG)

Photos by author published with permission of the artist.