Through museum interventions, large-scale installations, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and painting, Sonny Assu merges the aesthetics of Indigenous iconography with a pop art sensibility in an effort to address contemporary, political, and ideological issues. His work often focuses on Indigenous issues and rights, consumerism, branding, new technologies, and the ways in which the past has come to inform contemporary ideas and identities. Assu infuses his work with wry humour to open dialogue toward the use of consumerism, branding, and technology as totemic representation. Within this, his work deals with the loss of language, loss of cultural resources, and the effects of colonization upon the Indigenous people of North America.
Assu’s work has been accepted into the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Seattle Art Museum; Vancouver Art Gallery; Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver; Burke Museum at the University of Washington, Seattle; Hydro-Québec, Montreal; Loto-Québec, Montreal; and in various other public and private collections across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Assu, Ligwilda’xw (We Wai Kai) of the Kwakwaka’wakw nations, graduated from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver (2002), and received a distinguished alumni award in 2006. He also received the BC Creative Achievement Award in First Nations Art in 2011 and was long-listed for the Sobey Art Award in 2012, 2013, and 2015. Assu is an MFA candidate at Concordia University, Montreal, and he currently works and lives in South Surrey.