About
The Story of Apanatschi and Her Redheaded Wrestler
The same kind of stereotypes exist in video games as they do in TV and film. In the case of fighting games like Street Fighter and Tekken, the characters’ fighting styles are generally determined by their race. This re-visioning of the 1992 arcade game Virtual Fighter 5 follows the howling loin-cloth-clad, red-haired Indian wrestler, Wolf Hatfield. Bear Witness allows the gamer to play stylist, allowing wardrobe changes including a big headdress and aviator shades. Bear Witness noted that, “Wolf started looking a lot like my father did in an old photo.” This work borrows its title from the keen observation of a seven year old friend who asked Bear Witness: “Is he Nish? No, he has red hair. He must be Mohawk.”
Artist/Director: 
Ehren “Bear Witness” Thomas

Bio: 
Ehren “Bear Witness” Thomas is an Ottawa-based media artist who has been producing short experimental videos for over nine years. Bear explores stereotypical representations of Aboriginal people in North American media and popular culture, re-editing these images to create new narratives representing his experiences as an urban Aboriginal artist. In 2008, his video BrokeDickDog was included in the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography exhibition Steeling the Gaze: Portraits of Aboriginal Artists, hosted by the National Gallery of Canada. Bear’s video The Story of Apanatschi and her Redheaded Wrestler was selected for the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival, as part of the Culture Shock program. During his residency at Parramatta Artists Studios he had a solo exhibition as part of the 2010 Sydney Festival, titled The Only Good NDN. Bear was awarded the Aboriginal International Residency Exchange in Australia by the Canada Council for the Arts. Bear also exhibited two videos as part of Drive By: A Road Trip with Jeff Thomas at the University of Toronto Art Centre. In 2010, Thomas collaborated with the NFB on a video project to remix films from the NFB archive. Bear also produces live audio-visual performances and co-founded A Tribe Called Red, a native DJ collective who produce music internationally known as Pow Wow-step. The group have been featured on the MTV Iggy website, and host a monthly event called Electric Pow Wow.
City, Province: 
Ottawa, ON
Original Media: 
Video
Year Produced: 
2008
Genre: 
Experimental

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