Rebecca Belmore has created some of Canada’s most haunting artworks on the subject of colonial violence and its living legacy. This publication documents a powerful two-channel video installation that unfolds on parallel walls, with two hand-held cameras following the struggles of a man and woman being chased through a snowy forest. March 5, 1819 features the frantic final moments before Demasduit, a young Beothuk woman (later renamed Mary March) is captured by colonists at Red Indian Lake in Newfoundland. Her husband Nonosabasut dies trying to save her. Belmore’s re-enactment of this historical moment in contemporary dress places the viewer into the middle of the event-as both witness and perpetrator—effectively bringing the historical struggle of Indigenous peoples in Canada viscerally into the present.
Co-published by Carleton University Art Gallery, The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, McMaster Museum of Art, 2018