Upside Down Flagpole speaks to the relationship of national symbols and colonization
The Polygon Gallery is pleased to announce the commission of a major new artwork from artist Brian Jungen, produced with the support of Della and Stuart McLaughlin.
Upside Down Flagpole (2020) was inspired by a defunct, unused flagpole on the property of the artist, then living in the North Okanagan. As the pole was being removed from the earth, its base—a large pail filled with concrete—came up with it. This new sculpture recreates the flagpole, inverted, with the flag buried underground and its concrete anchor above.
“Jungen asks how we might consider the violent histories that have provided for ownership of the land that we live and work on today. These are central and pivotal themes in much of the artist’s work, and they are centrally embedded in Upside Down Flagpole,” says Reid Shier, Director of The Polygon Gallery.
Upside Down Flagpole was originally conceived as part of The Polygon Gallery’s inaugural exhibition in 2017. For this new commission, Jungen has elaborated and built on the original work, in realization of his initial artistic vision.
“We are honoured to assist with this important project. Brian’s gifted work provides us an opportunity to contemplate our past and future duty to advance our own reconciliation efforts with courage and determination,” add Della and Stuart McLaughlin.
The first of three editions of the sculpture is installed at a private residence in West Vancouver. Viewing details can be requested through the Gallery. News of the second and third editions of Upside Down Flagpole are forthcoming.
Along with support for the commission, the McLaughlin’s have also contributed an additional donation to The Polygon Gallery, in support of the capital campaign to build the Gallery’s new facility, which was opened in 2017. Stuart McLaughlin was Chair of the capital campaign from 2014- 2017, and this donation adds to the McLaughlin’s original investment in the Gallery. To recognize their generosity, The Polygon’s atrium gallery space has been named in their honour.
Banner image: Brian Jungen, Upside Down Flagpole (2020). Photo by Rachel Topham Photography.
About Brian Jungen
Brian Jungen (b. 1970, Fort St. John, BC) lives and works in Northern BC. A member of the Doig River band of the Dane-zaa First Nation, Jungen’s work references his own mixed European-Dane- zaa ancestry, while also critiquing labour practices, the relationships between humans and nature, and the effects of global capitalism on First Nations communities and culture.
About The Polygon Gallery
The Polygon is one of Canada’s most acclaimed photography and media art galleries. The Gallery moved into its Governor General’s Medal winning building in 2017 after operating as Presentation House Gallery for 40 years. The organization has presented more than 300 exhibitions, and earned a reputation as one of Canada’s most adventurous public art institutions.