Becka Viau is a cis-female, queer identified, white settler, Canadian Artist from the unceded territory of the Mi’kMaq, Epekwitk’, known as 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 has completed multiple artist residencies and retreats. She has worked as a curator, educator and founder/director of arts organizations and festivals. Much of her artistic practice 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, land and spaces. I only engage with materials later in the process after a period of research. 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 Epekwitk’ (Prince Edward Island,) I had immediate access to the complexity of the nature-socio-cultural intersection as it operates in utilitarian practices such as agriculture, cultivation/gardens, the troubled history of land ownership/use/profit, and the changes in the landscape these systems create and evolve. At the same time, I was almost
Culture, in this context, was based on a pluralistic and intergenerational notion of community, as well as “working the land.” 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. I am dedicated to reaching as broad or as 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.