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New Acquisition

16 February 2022

Do’-gah

I do know but I refuse to tell you, just for today.

Do’-gah

I need to remind you, that you can’t know everything.

Do’-gah

I don’t know, and because you asked me and expect a detailed answer, I feel shame and anger at once for the irony  of the colonial systemic deficits and for your extractive expectation of presumed knowledge.

Do’-gah

I don’t know, and I refuse to find out for you.

Do’-gah

I’ve heard you, and will think about it.  Time and reflection for considered response of what I shall tell you on my own time and to ensure cultural safety.

Do’-gah

I do know and I need to tell you the protocols of our relations moving forward.

Do’-gah

I don’t know – my language.

Do’-gah

 

Do’-gah – I don’t know [shrugging shoulders], a recent acquisition, is “a performative gestural mnemonic work whose source comes from my grade school Mohawk lessons and experiential perceptions within my community,” says Greg Staats. “The viewer is requested to perform all 60 phrases with and without the gestured shrugging. Carrying many levels of meaning, the work speaks to a systemic forgetting, lateral violence and trauma.”

This generative and generous quality of Staats’s work urges the viewer to reflect on their own positionality, context and desire to access knowledge. The work first exhibited at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery in 2020 as part of Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts, a group exhibition curated by Candice Hopkins and Dylan Robinson that debuted at Agnes in 2019.

Greg Staats (Skarù:reˀ/ Kanien’kehá:ka, Hodinöhsö:ni’), Do’-Gah – I Don’t Know [Shrugging Shoulders], 2020, archival canvas matte print, oil, earth and indian tobacco ash. Purchase, Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund, 2021

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