Rethinking Anthem

October - 26 - 2010 - Tuesday

In the video Rethinking Anthem (2008), artist Nadia Myre extracts and calls attention to
the key phrase “home and native land” from Canada’s national anthem, while analyzing
the notion of “home” as a constructed space that is reliant upon, yet separated from
land. The iconic lyrics do not recognize Indigenous birthright to the land, but instead
support and justify Eurocentric occupation, one that has endeavoured to remove
Indigenous spirit from the land as well as history, Myre inserts and establishes a Native
presence in the anthem by hand-stencilling the text “Native Land” in bold black letters
onto white paper, while simultaneously erasing the word “Home” from public view.
Defacing the text with her hands almost as a means of excavation, Myre compels the
viewer to face the physical reality of the nations-state’s role in pilfering Native land.
Rethinking Anthem is a reflection of the spaces we occupy in the city and country, north
and south. Myre’s work aims to decolonize the rational behind the official national
version of “home and native land” while exposing forgotten histories. At the same time, it
metaphorically reveals traditional territories, land claims, and forms of displacement as
part of the living collective memory that should exist in the national conscience.

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