Through new abstract paintings and sculptures Victoria artist, Gabriela Hirt explores how unconscious memory is lodged in our bodies, and what it does to our relationships.
Drawing from personal inquiry, the artist unpacks her own biases and ignorance as a white settler living on Turtle Island. At a time when many are beginning to acknowledge how deeply we are steeped in the notion of white body supremacy, Gabriela is interested in the way trauma and collective guilt can keep us mired in constructed concepts of hierarchy, perpetuating colonial injustice.
As an immigrant who grew up in post-Holocaust Germany, Gabriela believes history carries in our bodies throughout generations and is enduring.
Her new paintings and sculptures are a continuation of the previous series, “The Indelible Mark”, where she reflected on her own troubling ancestry and its legacy of guilt. She asks herself — and the viewer: How do stereotypes rooted in the cultural programming we grow up with inform our ability to connect?
Storied Bodies draws on the work of American author Resmaa Menakem, who says about racism: “There is a way out of this mess, and it requires each of us to begin with our own body. Your body — all of our bodies — are where changing the status quo must begin.”