Underline's issue focuses on addressing the complex history of our country and Canada's Indigenous people.
Images of issue by Daniel Ehrenworth.
For the Canada 150 series of Wayward Arts Magazine, Flash Reproductions is working with Canadian design firms to highlight Canadian culture and history through design.
"Canada 150 is a complicated theme. On one side there are important ideas and achievements to celebrate. But what are these celebrations based on? And are these celebrations complicit in the cultural genocide of Canada’s Indigenous people? To us these were very important questions that we felt needed to be addressed in a tasteful but emotionally powerful way," says Fidel Pena RGD, Co-founder and Creative Director at Underline Studio.
"One of the most important issues surrounding Indigenous people and Canada are centred around land – to whom it belongs and what it means spiritually and economically for all of us here. The Canadian photographer Joanne Ratajczak has done a series of wonderful landscapes of Canada and we wanted to use these photos to illustrate the beauty of our country while commenting on the disregard of treaty rights with Indigenous people and the use of these natural resources for the creation of our wealth. By perforating these photos and asking the reader to rip these pages apart to access the content, we’re inviting people to examine the costs of this destruction and to face its real, hidden consequences."
While researching this project, the Underline team also came across the work of Indigenous writer and poet Leanne Betasamaske Simpson and her poem Jiibay or Aandizooke, which expands on the idea of land - whether it is a sacred place for us to venerate and care for, or a place of leisure, beauty and economic gain.
"We completed the project by including data on issues such as the use of starvation to clear the land, residential schools, poverty, drinking water, health, incarceration rate, female homicides, and suicide rates. We end the piece with a quote about kintohpatatin (roughly translated as justice) by Edmund Metatawabin."
To execute the concept, the pages were bound in a French fold with a perforation through the middle. "This was a challenge considering the type of binding the rest of the issues were being done with," explains Fidel. "We had a vintage book showing an example of how this might be done, which we shared with Flash and Anstey. This helped them find a solution with the right perforation to make the pages easy to rip without overpowering the images. We were very pleased with the end result."
The final product is a piece that highlights an essential conversation in a unique and visually dynamic package. "Ultimately we wanted this project to not feel like a design-driven one. We felt the piece needed be about these issues and to encourage us to think more seriously about them."
Click here to learn more about Wayward Arts 150.