by Robin Mathews.
The Canary In The Coal Mine: Culture.
We often think of ‘Culture’ as out there. But it’s here. And it has to be here because it’s us.
Economics makes possible the culture we know and live and create… and is part of culture. And culture is, normally, the voice and character of the people (visibly expressed in the arts). As “speaking of what we are” culture is very important … and so (in a colony) it’s controlled in a hundred ways (we don’t see). “Speaking of what we are” can be dangerous. So, for instance, appointments to major cultural management positions show who is really in charge in a country.
In a colony culture is the voice of the foreign-owned and sold-out economy. The two link inextricably – culture and economy. In Canada formal “Culture” doesn’t explain, doesn’t resist the colonial condition. In Canada it sells out. Cultural organizations which – in a colony – should be leaders towards independence are, in Canada, guardians of on-going colonization.
By definition “voices” of and for the culture – freest to speak, existing to speak (we say), artists, arts organizations and all those others who speak to us (universities, presses, Media, magazines, etc. etc. “Culture”) in Canada deny their critical role; they urge colonial passivity. And they do so, often, by denying the colonial condition exists. Continue reading