Surprisingly few people know that Norval is also a two spirited artist. Leanne Martin and Morgan Wood curated some of his explicit works in Exposed, along with some of my stuff and lots of other people. It was an interesting step to take, because our community was finally trying to talk about the fact that we had sex. And that was something that was hard for us to talk about because of what happened in the residential schools. I mean, so awkward, really, and understandably so. And I dunno, I talk about sex all the time because I’m hoping that eventually people won’t feel embarrassed by their sex lives. Because originally Aboriginal people were totally pansexual. And that’s something that was supressed during colonization. Did I spell supress right? Fuck it, whatev man. But I’ve noticed that people are so embarrassed by their sex lives that sometimes they self destruct on that front, and have terrible unsafe sex! And HIV is on the rise in our communities, so we HAVE to start talking about sex. And not being aggressive with each other, but just talking about the fact that it’s not a bad thing, it’s just abuse that is bad. I dunno, it’s hard for people to draw those distinctions. It was hard for me, I mean, if something bad happens often you just carry it around in your body until you can figure out how to let it go. And if you go stone, you don’t ever let it go!!! No, but there is a thing about touch, and that is hard for survivors of serious shit. Even when I was working through the hospital, I did not want my mom to come anywhere near me. I was all on guard.
My mom gave me a print of Norval’s for my apartment. It was “Bear as Keeper.” I could only find a titchy jpg of it though.