Edgar Heap of Birds
This thematic chapter explores several bodies of Heap of Birds’s text-based artworks, including gallery installations, temporary public art, drawings, and prints. These diverse artworks are described in terms of the artist’s critique of the uses of language as a weapon and tool of assimilation by settler colonial regimes, as well as Heap of Birds’s appropriation of language as a weapon and tool of resistance, resonating with Jacques Rancière’s formulation of the politics of representation. The artist’s text-based works are described in terms of their relation to conceptual art of the 1960s and a linguistic turn in critical theory generally. Heap of Birds’s work is compared to that of postconceptual artists and activists, including the collective Gran Fury. Heap of Birds’s gallery-based works and public installations are described as giving voice to suppressed countermemories of conquest and colonization, and a critical contemporary indigenous perspective, exploring both personal and political themes.