Receiving an award at a young age from a local sect of Optimists International, prompted Terry-Dayne Beasley’s interest in the administration of awards on the basis of one’s personality. Beasley considers how identity relates to the history of symbolic reward systems, as well as the positive affect that occurs when the inadvertent display of nuanced character traits are awarded.
Proud to Honour initiates a service wherein participants can bestow awards of recognition upon others. Prior to and for the instalment of the exhibition, Beasley relied on public involvement to facilitate the granting process via the completion of a questionnaire-style nomination form. Beasley asked of participants to designate an individual of choice and complete a series of questions, therefrom a certificate would be generated highlighting undervalued traits meriting recognition.
Approaching the project through an institutional framework, Beasley draws on the models of conceptual enterprise like those employed by Vancouver collective NE Thing Co., to found The Department of Optimism. In partnership with Number 3 Gallery, The Department of Optimism functions as the governing body through which awards are bestowed and mediates granting powers between the public and the institution. Through collaboration with the public, power shifts away from and resigns the notion of an individual granting officer, making democratic the act of awarding - a process of which Bealsey is critical of for its exclusivity.
In situ at the Ministry of Casual Living, Number 3 Gallery itself becomes a site for production and exchange, rather than display. Viewers in the gallery are again asked to complete the survey, whereby awards will continue to be generated and presented to unknowing recipients.
Adjacent to the display of certificates is a large scale photographic work composed of an image of a young Beasley receiving the award- the impetus for the project- alongside an image of a replica of the original certificate, the seal of validation. Recreated from memory, due to Beasley’s inability to locate the original, brings into question systems of value. The replica becomes a redactive form of the original, where the blurred information, denotes the valuelessness of the physical object. In Proud to Honour, however, the award certificate becomes an artwork, where the quasi-valueless document operates within a new system of values, asking how is importance is determined and how is it enacted?
Terry-Dayne Beasley is a Vancouver based artist working primarily in image making and performative sculpture with a strong interest in collaboration as a means of resolving conceptual inquiry. Beasley utilises sculpture to illustrate how humans adapt to their surroundings and one another. In 2017, Beasley completed his BFA at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.