Jeff Thomas’s work Drive-by will be held at University of Toronto and Don’t Mess with the Pediment will be shown at the Stephen Bulger Gallery. Thomas is well known for his studies of “indianness,” in which he investigates the legacy of the kneeling brave figure featured in the original crest of the Bank of Montreal and Canadian historical monuments, as well as the currency of cigar store “indians,” plastic toy warriors and souvenir shop figurines. The exhibition Don’t Mess with the Pediment recontextualizes historical imagery for a contemporary audience and subverts entrenched stereotypes of First Nations People.
Drive-by is an installation of new and recent works that experiments with tricks of scale and illusions of time, causing history to collapse into the present. In this new work Thomas frames an Aboriginal perspective within the rearview mirror and uses the car to circumscribe questions of place, time, history and identity. What he photographs out of the car window is a drive-by shooting. This scenario echoes back the violence that pervaded the history of colonial settlement, but Thomas’ images are all about recovery.
The Toronto Transit Commission’s Wellesley subway station will be the site of a public installation of Thomas’ photographs from May 5 to June 2 during the CONTACT Festival. “