Rebecca Belmore

Rebecca Belmore is probably one of the bravest and most important Canadian artists of my time. Her performances are raw, emotional, authentic and extremely powerful. I can not imagine what it might be like to be present at one of her performances, to feel her energy and have her words and gestures penetrate my skin and heart. She is inspiring to me in  many ways most importantly I strive to make my work as gutteral as possible and by that I mean I want it to hit you in the gut. Maybe not right away but I want you to feel like you care carrying something away with you in your gut, you might not be able to articulate what you feel but the point is you will feel it. Rebecca Belmore's work will punch you in the gut and have you doubled over with emotion. Her work speaks a clear truth stripped bare and in watching a performance I can imagine how one might suddenly feel extremely vulnerable. Named, a performance piece where Belmore screamed out the names of the women who went missing from downtown Vancouver, many of whom were later discovered victims of Robert Pickton.

Recently, this Canadian artist has been fighting for her right to own her own work. She tried leaving her gallery who's owner then turned around and is now suing her for nearly $1,000,000:

WORTH (– Statement of Defence), which features the sign, “I AM WORTH MORE THAN ONE MILLION DOLLARS TO MY PEOPLE,” speaks directly to the value of artists and art production in the 21st Century. The sign also references the amount of ‘damages’ being claimed by Pari Nadimi, an amount the dealer claims she has ‘invested’ in Belmore’s career. Nadimi’s allegations are unproven.

The legal battle began over 4 years ago, when Belmore, after deciding to leave the Pari Nadimi Gallery, requested the return of her artworks, related documentation and the payment (and an accounting) for artwork sold by the dealer. These basic, legal rights are still being violated. Belmore recognizes the importance of the case for herself and others: “If Pari Nadimi is successful in this claim against me, it would mean no artist would ever be free to choose to leave. Artists would be slaves to their galleries. This is a horrible precedent.”
Litigation is expensive. Belmore needs to raise funds to travel to Toronto and to continue to defend herself in this action. While claiming to be impecunious and unable to pay, Nadimi has hired a top Bay Street law firm, Heenan Blaikie. Ironically, the firm’s founder, Roy Heenan, has been a consistent supporter of Canadian art.

WORTH (– Statement of Defence), is therefore an appeal to the public to defend and support “the Artist” and the rights of artists to decide how and where their work is presented. Organizations such as CARFAC <> and others do valuable work to create conditions to ensure rights are protected and respected. However, they lack the mandate and resources to support individual artists in these cases.

I personally have never trusted commercial galleries and this is just one more reason to add to my list. I believe that artists are the lowest paid and greatest undervalued teachers in our society. Musicians get paid every time their dsong is played on the radio and every time someone purchases a single song. Why is it visual artists aren't paid every time someone enters a gallery and looks at their painting or sculpture?

If you are interested in helping this Canadian icon fight the legal battle for her right to own her own work visit:
The disputed art piece: Ayum-ee-aawach Oomama-mowan: Speaking to Their Mother,

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