Life on the 18th Hole (1991) [Framed]

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Edition of 75



According to David Neel, Life on the 18th Hole was created to serve as a historical marker for an important event in Canadian history. This event, which came to be known as the Oka Crisis, shed light on many issues that had previously been swept under the rug. During the Oka Crisis, Life on the 18th Hole was commissioned by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, who used the image as a poster to raise funds and spread awareness. Several copies of the poster were given to the Mohawk, and the press eventually caught wind of it as well. As a result, images of this serigraph were reproduced countless times throughout this period, making it one of David Neel’s most famous works.

In the summer of 1990, the small town of Oka drew both national and international attention during a tense 78-day stand-off between Mohawk Warriors, the Sûreté du Québec, and the Canadian military. The conflict arose due to the expansion of the near-by golf course, the plan for which had been approved by Oka’s mayor. This expansion was to occur on a stretch of disputed land, which encompassed a portion of the Mohawk’s ancestral territory and contained a traditional burial ground.

For decades prior to the stand-off at Oka, First Nations communities across Canada had been growing increasingly frustrated with the provincial and federal governments’ failure to recognize and honour Indigenous land rights. This failure was one of the many reasons for the brewing tensions between Indigenous Canadians and Canada’s governmental bodies. Thus, in many ways, the Oka Crisis was years in the making, and marks the moment when these long-standing tensions finally reached their boiling point.

Although land disputes are still a common occurrence in Canada, the Oka Crisis had important, lasting effects throughout the country. It played a crucial role in raising Canadian’s awareness of Indigenous issues, and led to the establishment of the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) in 1991. Since then, the RCAP has helped facilitate dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties, which has resulted in various agreements that previously wouldn’t have been possible. Additionally, the conflict inspired many First Nations movements in the years that followed, including the Idle No More protests in 2012 and the continuing demands for a federal inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Lastly, the Oka Crisis sparked a greater understanding and appreciation by the federal and provincial governments regarding the need to consult First Nations communities when potential development projects impact their traditional territory.

Life on the 18th Hole combines photographic and hand-rendered elements, with The Globe and Mail’s image of a Mohawk Warrior taking centre stage. The end result of this process is an impressive, hand-pulled silkscreen print that is loaded with symbolism.

The Mohawk warrior symbolizes an individual pushed to his limit and having the will to stand his ground. The ‘10 little policemen,’ is turning around the nursery rhyme ‘1 little, 2 little, three little Indians,’ allowing the viewer to see the ethnocentric roots of this children’s nursery rhyme. The Circle is the circle of life, the arrows the four directions, four being the number of balance and completeness. The red dots represent the blood of man, one for each race; the red, the yellow, the black, and the white man. Jointly these remind us of the common bond of all men. The barriers between men and between races are erected, not inherent. Clearly it is up to individuals, not governments, to dismantle these barricades and work together to the benefit of all.” ~David Neel

34 x 28.25 x 1.5"

$2,500.00 CAD

Only 1 available

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