Following his incredibly successful hit comic Wendy, Walter Scott has taken some of the themes and characters of the project into a variety of different media — material and sculpture, live performance, and other comics. Xinona is one such expansion of the project, a scrolling comic/animation hosted on the site of the National Film Board as a part of Canada 150.
Xinona is the alternate universe origin story for the character Winona, an Indigenous artist and Wendy’s friend and collaborator. Xinona, her outer space equivalent, is commissioned by Government AKA Weird Heads to create a piece representative of her experience as an artist Indigenous to Kombucha Planet to mark the anniversary of the confederation of her and other planets (Including Kale and Beer planets). Of course, they only want her to make something palatable to mainstream narratives of her culture. Sound familiar?
As she begins to create her piece and consider her dilemma — make insincere art for the colonial oppressor, or don’t, and stay broke? — she plunges deeper into theoretical and ethical quandaries. Eventually, she goes on something of a spiritual voyage through the sea of kombucha. There, she encounters otherworldly guidance, suggesting how she might remake myths of nationhood and cultural identity for herself.
Xinona is a brilliant, self-reflexive commentary on the art world and on the Canada 150 projects. Walter Scott’s trademark style bring humour, tenderness, politics and, in this case, science fiction together in such awesome ways. And the scrolling comic/animation format is like something I’ve never seen before!
Do yourself a favour and take 10 minutes to enjoy Xinona.
Jonathan Valelly is the Editor of Broken Pencil.