an investigative photo documentary

Exclusive 22-page photo essay from our investigative journalist team in collaboration with award-winning photojournalist Rafal Gerszak. Location: Vancouver, Canada Copyright Wondereur 2020.

MEET with artist Judy Chartrand curated by top art collector Bob Rennie.

Cover chartrand
1
BEING BACK HERE, IT’S LIKE SEEING GHOSTS.
2
I lost a lot of friends. It became very stark and very sad.
3
We lived in a house on Alexander Street, which was more of an industrial area. It was just a place to live, to have a roof over our head. Facing us was a single-room occupancy residence - men would look out the window to watch us play and stuff.
4
EVERYONE WAS ON EQUAL GROUND. EVERYONE WAS POOR.
5
In a class of thirty students, there would be three or four that were non-Chinese - maybe one Native, one Japanese, and one or two white kids.
6
I remember asking my mom, 'Why did you raise us in the skids? Why did you pick that place to raise us in?'
7
SHE SAID, ‘BECAUSE IF WE HAD GONE ANYWHERE ELSE, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN RACISM.’
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9
WHEN I WAS NINE, I MADE A PACT WITH MYSELF.
10
I said to myself, ‘I’ll never let them make me feel ashamed of being Indian.’ And I never have, from that day on.
11
In the ‘70s, there were very few Natives living off the reserve, in the urban area. We were one of a few families to live in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.
12
I remember, one day, I was on the bus home from Stanley Park with my younger sisters. We had been playing on the beach, catching starfish, doing all sorts of things. I don’t think we looked shaggy or anything, but this one guy made a comment about how something stunk on the bus.
13
HE POINTED TO US AND SAID, ‘IT’S THOSE INDIANS.’
14
That was part of the whole urban Native experience.
15
YOU WERE LOOKED AT LIKE YOU WERE TRASH.
16
I probably internalized everything. I never spoke back.
17
When I went to art school, a teacher asked us to make a social-political statement. I actually had to pull her aside and ask what that meant. She explained it to me. Then, I had this dream, and boom, there was my project. This is how I started to talk about Indian residential schools, the whole ‘civilized versus savage’ kind of thing.
18
Later, I started to read American literature on racism - books like Black Like Me and Soul Sister, where black authors talked about how they were treated by whites. I could relate to that.
19
I STARTED TO COLLECT AND COMBINE ALL THESE IMAGES OF WHITES DRESSED AS INDIANS.
20
I’ve heard that some people are shocked by my work. That's the part I don’t get.
21
I’M JUST EXPRESSING MY REALITY.