Artifacts of Authenticity deals with the issues of reclaiming identity and space by documenting the waste of the dominant affluent culture. Through a series of photographs, Assu has explored the conventions of anthropological spaces as the perceived voice of authenticity for indigenous artifacts.
Photographing discarded cedar objects in-situ, Artifacts of Authenticity challenges the three eyes of “authority” placed upon Aboriginal arts and culture: The anthropology institution, the commercial art gallery and the stereotypical tourist trap. Through these images, Assu utilizes the camera as a conceptual record of “authority” to capture the cedar objects in circumstances staged solely for the camera.
The series is an inversion of authoritative voice of the anthropologists; the gallerist; the curators; the historians and the purveyors of the stereotype for the tourist. It calls into question the meaning of authenticity of what or who is considered Aboriginal.