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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
December 5, 2016
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Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Laurierís Cultural Studies program welcomes artist Sonny Assu March 12

Mar 8/13

Laurierís Cultural Studies program presents a public talk by interdisciplinary artist Sonny Assu, There is Hope, if we Rise, on March 12 at 5 p.m. in BA113 on Laurierís Waterloo campus.

Assu will explore the intersection of his practice and the politics of hope, building on his project, There is Hope, if We Rise. Inspired by Shepard Fairey's iconic "Hope" poster, this project builds on Assuís earlier work on propaganda use by the Canadian government and the ways in which such images generate stereotypes of Indigenous peoples. Situated in the discourse of the Idle No More movement, Assu builds on his conceptual and aesthetic practice and challenges us to rethink the image of Canada as a utopian, just, and tolerant place.

As an interdisciplinary artist, Assu pushes the boundaries of contemporary art by merging Indigenous iconography with the aesthetics of popular culture to challenge the social and historical values placed upon both. Interested in ideas around Indigenous issues and rights, branding and new technologies, he works across multiple disciplines, transforming consumer and popular culture to trace the lineage of his own life.

Assu's work has been featured in several solo and group exhibits over the past years, notably Don't Stop Me Now! and Comic Relief at the National Gallery of Canada, Beat Nation and How Soon is Now? at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Changing Hands: Art With Reservation Part 2 at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.

His work has been accepted into the National Gallery of Canada, the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Anthropology at UBC and other public and private collections across Canada and the United States. Sonny Assu is Liǥwildaʼxw of the We Wai Kai First Nation (Cape Mudge). He graduated from Emily Carr University in 2002, received the BC Creative Achievement Award in First Nations art in 2011, and was long-listed for the 10th annual Sobey Art Award in 2012. He currently lives and works in Montreal.

For more information contact Alexandra Boutros, Cultural Studies Program coordinator at or ext. 2917. For more info about Sonny Assu, visit


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