Becka Viau is a Canadian Artist from Charlottetown Prince Edward Island. She received her BFA, 2008 and MFA, 2013 from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and has exhibited throughout the Maritimes and Europe. She was long listed for the Sobey Art Award in 2011 and 2014 and recently completed a three month creative/research artist residency in NFLD. She has worked as a curator, educator and coordinator of arts organizations and arts festivals. Much of her artistic activity engages with questions relating to the institutions, dissemination and social networks of power, art and culture.
Her art practice is grounded in the study of critical theory and research of historic and contemporary media techniques, theories of the everyday and social research methods. The histories of documentary, portraiture, cultural presentation and anthropological research influence her creative studio process through various explorations of people, place and identity.
My artistic method proceeds from investigations of people and places, and only engages with materials later in the process. For me, what is exciting and promising about the aesthetic realm is the way it provides opportunities to renegotiate definitions and boundaries, especially the boundaries that govern identity, politics, and the larger environment. Growing up in rural Prince Edward Island, I had immediate access to the complexity of the nature-culture binary as it operates in utilitarian practices such as agriculture, the troubled history of land ownership and use, and even social definitions. At the same time, I was almost completely isolated from discourses and practices of the so-called art world. Culture, in this context, was based on a pluralistic and intergenerational notion of community. As a result, although I operate within an art context, and take advantage of the ways art can be a means of opening up or renegotiating the often ignored or unnoticed spaces and divisions within everyday experience, I continue to work in a highly interdisciplinary way – mingling social science with artistic research, for example – and I always reach out to as broad or open a definition of audience as possible.
Through the use of various artistic mediums I focus my performance as a creator on mediating identities and constructing or re-membering the institutions of art, politics, power, gender, landscape and environmental psychology. For me art is the means of opening up the often ignored, unseen spaces found within the everyday experience.