“The Gods of Canada” first appeared in 2005 at the invitation of Power Plant curator Wayne Baerwaldt, in a pageant at the Harbourfront Centre, on Lake Ontario, Canada Day Weekend. An ongoing project, the Gods of Canada are My Barbarian’s alter egos, formed to celebrate, and playfully critique, the liberal social policies of Canada’s model democracy, riffing on Alpha Flight, a 1980s Marvel comic about super-powered Canadian bureaucrats. Canada is considered a non-nationalistic nation; we subverted that in our red-and-white maple leaf ensembles, created in collaboration with Lara Schnitger. We performed a powerboat sail-by, banners flying in honor of gay marriage, universal health care, and liberal narcotics policy. We marched the boardwalk and performed a concert at the gallery, asking the crowd to wave their health care cards, and singing in French. In 2007, the Gods of Canada returned for the Montréal Biennale, enacting a rift in the team as the Quebecois hero/villain (played by me) attempted to secede not only from the Nation State, but from the entire planet. In collaboration with Participant Inc., the Gods of Canada intervened in the 2008 LA Art Fair, with a song-and-dance version of the Canadian Supreme Court ruling to accept dance as evidence in land-disputes with First Nations people. When called upon, the Gods of Canada will defend ambivalence toward nationality, democracy, and the colors of the True North. - Alex Segade

My Barbarian 2018

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