Brian Jungen

Born in Fort St. John, BC, 1970.
Lives and works in Vancouver

I see certain materials over and over and over again in my family and on my reserve, like car bodies, car parts, animal parts, freezers. There’s a language in those materials that I think a lot of people – especially in rural Canada – would, could understand. I like that. Initially, I was just using the car parts and trying to make drums with them. And that evolved into these mid-century modernist forms. Then the freezers worked so well as pedestals. I think there’s a nice kind of play with that. It’s funny – I hope it’s funny. You don’t see that they’re freezers at first and that’s what I wanted: people to see the thing that’s on top of it and then realize that the pedestal is actually a freezer that is a part of the artwork.

The Star/Pointro sculptures are figurative pieces. They’re like animal figures but they’re also these strange portraits of people from my family. They have a very strong reference to people in my family because these are the people that taught me how to hunt and do traditional things. I got these hides from these specific people so I have this knowledge of where these things came from and who made them.

Star/Pointro 2011
rawhide and painted steel on a freezer
276 × 156.2 × 77 cm
Purchased 2011
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Photo © NGC

Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012 exhibition catalogue
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa