“These sounds were the sounds of 2020: tv shows that helped me get through the days, collaborators’ music, friends’ music, and finally my favourite klezmer song (performed by my aunt) to honour my grandfather who passed at the end of 2020.”Suzanne Kite
You can see Kite’s work at Remai Modern as part of the exhibition An apology, a pill, a ritual, a resistance until August 22, 2021.
These works are part of the artist’s ongoing performance and sculpture series that considers protocols for mourning the death of human and non-human beings. Cakes imprinted with an image of the deceased are commonly shared at funeral wakes in Lakota and other Turtle Island communities. Lakota ceremonies for death purify the soul of the departed and help to heal relatives and community members.
The images on these cakes reference the environmental and human impacts of uranium mining. Operated by a Crown Corporation of the Canadian government from 1953 to 1982, the Beaverlodge uranium mine’s activities resulted in the contamination of a number of watersheds in the Uranium City area of northern Saskatchewan. Radionuclides such as uranium, radium, lead and polonium accumulate in lichens eaten by caribou. As these elements move up the food chain, radioactivity concentrates, threatening the food security and health of those who rely upon the caribou for sustenance.
The presence of uranium mining has been ubiquitous throughout Indigenous territories such as the Dene and Inuit in Canada as well as the Diné (Navajo) and Lakota in the United States, among many others. In mourning the impacts of this industry, Kite also draws attention to the continued resistance against it as path to healing in itself.
Kite aka Suzanne Kite is an Oglála Lakȟóta performance artist, visual artist and composer raised in Southern California.