Biinjiya’iing Onji (From Inside)

2017 / documenta 14, Filopappou Hill, Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany / Sculpture

Rebecca Belmore has made a monument to the transitory, out of local materials. A tent—increasingly a long-term home for refugees and migrants—has been hand carved in marble. It is a testament to what, for many, is a state of perpetual emergency, a makeshift retreat. The form has its root in other vernacular shelters as well. “The shape of the tent is, for me, reminiscent of the wigwam dwellings that are part of my history as an Indigenous person,” Belmore explains. Wigwams (wiigiwaam in Anishinaabemowin), traditionally constructed of bentwood of young trees and covered with birch bark, are a rather ingenious solution for building with the materials available at hand. They also enabled people who were in constant motion to make their home wherever necessary.

Candice Hopkins, Rebecca Belmore Showing at documenta 14 in Athens, 2017

Photo credit: Scott Benesiinaabandan