aabaakwad (it clears after a storm)

Thursday September 13 - Saturday September 15, 2018
Baillie Court, Art Gallery of Ontario

aabaakwad (it clears after a storm) is a two-and-a-half-day event focused on shifting the current global interest in Indigenous arts to be one that is Indigenous-led. Featured keynotes are Rebecca Belmore, Wanda Nanibush, Jolene Rickard and Alanis Obomsawin. This event is centered on informal, in-depth conversations between Indigenous artists, curators and scholars from Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada. Guests include: Robert Houle, Adrian Stimson, Lori Blondeau, Nadia Myre, Kent Monkman, Shelley Niro, Megan Tamati-Quennell, Brett Graham, Richard Bell, Greg Staats and more to be announced. Conversations are moderated by media personalities such as Duncan McCue, Candy Palmater and Jesse Wente. Experience dynamic dialogue examining themes, materials and experiences in contemporary Indigenous art practice globally.

This event has been organized in conjunction with the Gallery’s solo exhibition Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental (July 12th - October 21st, 2018).


Thursday September 13

4 - 6 pm

Tour: Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental

6 - 8 pm


  1. Jolene Rickard
  2. Rebecca Belmore
  3. Wanda Nanibush

Friday September 14

9:30 am


10 - 11 am

Welcoming Address: Elder Pauline Shirt
Opening Remarks: Stephan Jost, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario

11 am - 12 noon

Style + Stories: Megan Tamati-Quennell, Faye HeavyShield & Alan Michelson moderated by Wanda Nanibush

12 noon - 1 pm


1 - 2 pm

Matter + Memory: Robert Houle & Ursula Johnson moderated by Duncan McCue

2 - 3 pm

The Art of Being Her’d: Lori Blondeau & Bonnie Devine moderated by Jolene Rickard

3 - 3:30 pm


3:30 - 4:30 pm

Minimalism + Materials: Sonya Kelliher-Combs & Nadia Myre moderated by Duncan McCue

4:30 - 5:30 pm

The Future of Indigenous Filmmaking: Alanis Obomsawin, Darlene Naponse & Alethea Arnaquq-Baril moderated by Wanda Nanibush

7 pm

Music Event in Walker Court: Cris Derksen & Lacey Hill

Saturday September 15

11 - 12 noon

New Imaginaries: Archer Pechawis, Kent Monkman & Tanya Lukin Linklater moderated by Candy Palmater

12 noon - 1 pm

Curating with Community: Heather Igloliorte & Tania Willard moderated by Tanya Talaga

1 - 2 pm


2 - 3 pm

Dreams + Philosophy: Adrian Stimson & Brett Graham moderated by Greg Hill

3 - 4 pm

The Limits of Art: Richard Bell & Greg Staats moderated by Candy Palmater

4 - 5 pm

Image Warriors: Maree Clark & Shelley Niro moderated by Jesse Wente

5 - 5:30 pm

Closing Remarks
Wanda Nanibush, Curator, Indigenous Art


Alethea Arnaquq-Baril

Alethea is an Inuit filmmaker from the Canadian arctic where she runs Unikkaat Studios Inc. Alethea directed and produced award-winning Angry Inuk (Unikkaat/NFB co-production in association with EyeSteelFilm) a feature doc for broadcast on Superchannel and CBC about how Inuit are coming up with new and provocative ways to deal with international seal hunting controversies. Angry Inuk premiered at Hot Docs 2016, and was selected as one of the TIFF Canada’s Top Ten for 2016. Angry Inuk took home the Audience Choice Award at both of these festivals, and has continued to win many other prestigious international awards since. Most recently, Alethea and Stacey Aglok MacDonald produced Miranda de Pencier’s The Grizzlies which is set to premiere at TIFF 2018.

Alethea’s previous work includes her award-winning mid-length APTN documentary Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos, in which Alethea spoke with elders across Nunavut about Inuit tattoos and their near disappearance, before getting her own traditional face tattoos.

She also directed short films such as the well-traveled Inuit High Kick, the award-winning NFB animation “Lumaajuuq: The Blind Boy and the Loon”, and the short drama Aviliaq: Entwined, a lesbian love story set in the 1950’s (ImagineNATIVE 2014).


Richard Bell

Richard Bell (b. 1953) lives and works in Brisbane, Australia. He works across a variety of media including painting, installation, performance and video. One of Australia’s most significant artists, Bell’s work explores the complex artistic and political problems of Western, colonial and Indigenous art production. He grew out of a generation of Aboriginal activists and has remained committed to the politics of Aboriginal emancipation and self-determination. In 2003 he was the recipient of the Telstra National Aboriginal Art Award, establishing him as an important Australian artistic figure. Bell is represented in most major National and State collections, and has exhibited in a number of solo exhibitions at important institutions in Australia and America. In 2013 he was included in the National Gallery of Canada’s largest show of International Indigenous art, Sakàhan, and at the Fifth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. In 2014, Bell’s solo exhibition Embassy opened at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth. In 2015, Bell was a finalist in the Archibald Prize, presented a collaborative exhibition of new work with Emory Douglas at Milani Gallery, and exhibited his major work Embassy 2013-ongoing as part of Performa 15, New York City and the 16th Jakarta Biennale, curated by Charles Esche. Bell also premiered a body of new work as part of the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art’s 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane. In early 2016, BELL invites… an exhibition of Bell and work by friends and collaborators opened at the Stedelijk Museum SMBA, Amsterdam, and premiered a new sculptural commission as part of Sonsbeek 2016 at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, Netherlands. Bell presented his Embassy as part of the 20th Biennale of Sydney, curated by Stephanie Rosenthal, at Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, and most recently as part of the Jerusalem Show VIII. In 2017, Bell exhibited in The National: New Australian Art, a comprehensive survey of contemporary Australian art presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and Carriageworks, Sydney. In 2018 he had a solo exhibition at Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, and presented new work at Frontier Imaginaries: Trade Markings at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

Rebecca Belmore

A member of Lac Seul First Nation (Anishinaabe), Rebecca Belmore is an internationally recognized multidisciplinary artist currently residing in Toronto. Rooted in the political and social realities of Indigenous communities, Belmore’s works make evocative connections among bodies, land and language. Her exhibitions: include Biinjiya'iing Onji (From Inside), documenta 14 (2017); KWE: The Work of Rebecca Belmore, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (2011); Rebecca Belmore: Rising to the Occasion, Vancouver Art Gallery (2008); and Fountain, Venice Biennale (2005).

Performances include: Facing the Monumental (2012); Victorious (2011); X (2010); Vigil (2002); Wild (2001), and Creation or Death We Will Win (1991). Belmore’s sculptures and installations include Wave Sound, Parks Canada, 2017; Trace, Canadian Museum for Human Rights (2014), and Ayum-ee-aawach Oomama-mowan: Speaking to Their Mother, (performances 1991, 1992, 1996 and 2008). Belmore received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2013, the Hnatyshyn Visual Arts Award in 2009, the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation’s VIVA Award in 2004, and Honorary Doctorates from Emily Carr (2017) and OCADU (2005). Also in 2005, she was Canada’s official representative at the Venice Biennale. In 2016, Rebecca was awarded the prestigious Gershon Iskowitz Prize by the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Lori Blondeau

Lori Blondeau is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in performance/photography and is a Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba in the School of Art..  Blondeau holds an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan winning the Humanities & Fine Arts Thesis Award and she apprentice with James Luna from 1998-2001. In addition to her extensive exhibition history, Blondeau is co-founder of the Indigenous artist collective, TRIBE, and has sat on the Advisory Panel for Visual Arts for the Canada Council for the Arts. Blondeau has exhibited and performed nationally and internationally including the Banff Centre; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; Open Space, Victoria; FOFA, Montreal. In 2007, Blondeau was part of the Requickening project with artist Shelly Niro at the Venice Biennale and recently had a solo exhibition at Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery, Winnipeg and was part of the Scotia Bank Contact Festival in Toronto. Her art is held in both public gallery and private collections.

Maree Clarke

Maree Clarke lives and works in Melbourne and is connected to the traditional lands of the Mutti Mutti, Yorta Yorta, Boonwurrung and Trawlwoolway people from Tasmania.

She is a multidisciplinary artist and curator committed to the reclamation of Victorian Indigenous art and customary material culture.

She revives elements of Indigenous culture that have appeared lost over the period of invasion through her research and arts practice. Clarke produces multi-media installations of photography, Lenticular prints (3D photographs), photographic holograms, body adornment and sculpture and installations that explore the rituals and ceremonies of her ancestors. Her work is about regenerating cultural practices and making wider audiences aware of the strong Indigenous culture that has survived and is now strengthening in South-eastern Australia.

Most recently, Clarke has been developing a new collection of jewellery/body adornment based on traditional kangaroo tooth necklaces, but also using 3D technology to super size echidna quills, kangaroo teeth, crow feathers and 18k gold kangaroo teeth.

Bonnie Devine

Bonnie Devine is a sculptor, painter, video maker, curator, and writer. Formally educated in sculpture and installation art at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD U) and York University, Devine’s most enduring learning came from her grandparents, who were trappers on the Canadian Shield in northern Ontario.

A descendant of the Anishinaabek of Serpent River First Nation, Genaabaajing, on the north shore of Lake Huron, Devine’s work emerges from the storytelling and image-making traditions that are central to Anishinaabe culture. Her art explores issues of land, environment, treaty, history, and narrative.

Devine’s installation, video, and curatorial projects have been shown in solo and group exhibitions and film festivals across Canada and in the USA, South America, Russia, Europe, and China, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Berlin Film Festival, the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City, and Today Art Museum in Beijing China.

In addition to her art practice Devine is a tenured associate professor at OCAD University in Toronto and the Founding Chair of OCAD University’s Indigenous Visual Culture program.

Brett Graham

Brett Graham is a sculptor who creates large scale artworks and installations that explore indigenous histories, politics and philosophies. Graham works from Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa (Auckland, New Zealand), though has been a constant traveller through his career, undertaking residences through Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa (the Pacific), North America and Europe. He conceives his Māori whakapapa (ancestry) as a Pasifika/Moana identity and affiliated with a global network of indigenous and non-Western peoples. It is from this basis that Graham's work engages with histories of imperialism and global indigenous issues.

Graham was awarded his Doctorate in Fine Arts in 2005 from the University of Auckland and in the last decade has exhibited extensively, locally and internationally. His work has been included in major national and international exhibitions including the 52nd International Art Exhibition La Biennale Di Venezia, (a collaboration with Racheal Rakena) the Biennale of Sydney at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Asia Pacific Triennial, and the inaugural Honolulu Biennial.

He has work in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia; the National Gallery of Canada; the National Gallery of Victoria, The Art Gallery of South Australia, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand, and Te Papa Tongarewa.

Since 2011 and his inclusion in WInnepeg's 'Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years', Graham has shown regularly in Canada and participated in several residency programmes, retaining close links with indigenous artists. 

Faye HeavyShield

Faye HeavyShield, a member of the Kainai First Nation and fluent Blackfoot speaker, lives and works on the Blood Reserve in the southern Alberta foothills. Since the mid-1980s, her work has been exhibited throughout Canada and the USA and is held in public and private collections throughout North America, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Glenbow Museum (Calgary, AB), the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art (Phoenix, AZ) and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art (Indianapolis, IN). The artist acknowledges the many influences and blessings of language, land, and community.

Greg Hill

Greg Hill (Kanyen’kehaka/French) is the first Indigenous curator at the National Gallery of Canada. He is currently the Audain Senior Curator of Indigenous Art. In 2007, Hill became the inaugural Audain Curator of Indigenous Art and head of the Department of Indigenous Art. Beginning his career at the Gallery in 2000 as Curatorial Assistant for Canadian Art, then Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art in 2002, he has been dedicated to increasing both the collection and display of Indigenous art at the National Gallery of Canada ever since. There are now well over 2200 Indigenous works of art at the National Gallery. Greg has curated internationally touring retrospective exhibitions and written catalogues for some of Canada’s most acclaimed artists, including the first solo exhibition for a First Nations artist at the National Gallery, Norval Morrisseau (2006), Carl Beam (2010) and most recently, Alex Janvier (2016). He has curated numerous permanent collection exhibitions at the National Gallery and was also the National Gallery’s presenting curator for touring exhibitions of the work of Daphne Odjig (2009), Robert Davidson (2007) and Charles Edenshaw (2012). In 2013, Greg was co-curator for Sakahan: International Indigenous Art, the National Gallery’s largest ever exhibition and the only recurring global survey of contemporary Indigenous art in the world.

Robert Houle

Robert Houle is a Toronto artist and a member of Sandy Bay First Nation, Manitoba. He graduated from both the University of Manitoba (B.A.) and McGill University (B.Ed.) and studied painting and drawing at the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts in Salzburg, Austria.

Houle has been exhibiting internationally for over 40 years and taught at the Ontario College of Art and Design University for over 20 years. He has written several essays and monographs on contemporary First Nations and Native American artists. His work is in many institutions including the Art Gallery of Ontario, McMichael Canadian Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney Australia, National Gallery of Canada, National Museum of the American Indian, Royal Ontario Museum and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. He was recently commissioned by the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown to create a work for Canada 150.

He has received honourary doctorates from University of Ontario Institute of Technology (2016) and the University of Manitoba (2014), the 2015 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, the Canada Council Residency Program for the Visual Arts in Paris (2006), distinguished alumnus, University of Manitoba (2004), Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship (2003), Toronto Arts Award (2001), membership in the Royal Canadian Academy (2000), and the Janet Braide Memorial Award for Excellence in Canadian Art History (1993).

Heather Igloliorte

Dr. Heather Igloliorte is an Inuk from Nunatsiavut. She is an Associate Professor and Concordia University Research Chair in Indigenous Art History and Community Engagement, and an independent curator of Indigenous art. Heather has published extensively on Inuit and other Indigenous arts in academic journals such as PUBLIC, Art Link, TOPIA, Art Journal, and RACAR and in texts such as Negotiations in a Vacant Lot: Studying the Visual in Canada (ed. Lynda Jessup, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014), Manifestations: New Native Art Criticism (Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, 2011), and Curating Difficult Knowledge (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). She recently co-curated the world’s first circumpolar night festival, iNuit blanche (2016); curated the reinstallation of the per manent collection of Inuit art at the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Ilippunga (2016); and launched the nationally touring exhibition SakKijajuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut (2016–2019). Igloliorte was recently named guest curator for the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Centre, opening 2020. 

Ursula Johnson

Ursula Johnson is a performance and installation artist of Mi’kmaw First Nation ancestry. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally since graduating from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design with a BFA in Interdisciplinary studies in 2006. Her performances are often place-based and employ cooperative didactic intervention. Recent works include various mediums of sculpture that create consideration from her audience about aspects of intangible cultural heritage as it pertains to the consumption of traditional knowledge within the context of colonial institutions. Johnson has been shortlisted for the Salt Spring National Art Prize and the Nova Scotia Masterworks Award and she was the 2018 winner of the Sobey Art Award.

Sonya Kelliher-Combs

Growing up in Nome, Alaska, I spent summers at our camp where we worked, hunted and gathered food and supplies for the winter. It was there where I learned to listen; listened to learn from family, community members and nature. Through observation and the practice of time-honored traditions -- skin sewing, beading, and food preparation -- I realized my role as Woman, Daughter, Sister, Wife and Artist. The intimacy of traditional women's work has allowed me to examine the connections between Western and Indigenous cultures. I examine identity through my work. 

I'm inspired by the relationship of our ancestors to their environment -- how they used skin, fur and membrane in material culture. The subjects of my work are patterns of history, family, and culture. Through the use of synthetic, organic, traditional and modern materials and techniques I build upon the traditions of my people, the Inupiaq and Athabascan. Personal and cultural symbolism forms the imagery. Symbols speak to history, culture, family, and the life of our people; they also speak about abuse, marginalization and the struggles of indigenous people.

I live in a modern world but still depend on the cultural traditions and values of our people, respect of land, animals, sea and each other. I strive to create works that address these issues

Tanya Lukin Linklater

Tanya Lukin Linklater's performances in museums, videos and installations have been exhibited in Canada and abroad. Her work centres Indigenous knowledge production in and through orality, conversation and embodied practices, including dance. She considers That which sustains us a conceptual line within her work, alongside histories and structural violences that Indigenous peoples continue to respond to.

In 2017, as a member of Wood Land School, she participated in Kahatenhstánion tsi na’tetiatere ne Iotohrkó:wa tánon Iotohrha / Drawing Lines from January to December in Montréal. Wood Land School participated in Under the Mango Tree - Sites of Learning, a gathering for documenta14 in Athens and Kassel. In 2018 Tanya will present a commissioned performance for Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in relation to a sculptural work by Sonya Kelliher-Combs.

Tanya studied at University of Alberta (M.Ed.) and Stanford University (A.B. Honours). She is a doctoral student in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. In 2018 she was the inaugural recipient of the Wanda Koop Research Fund administered by Canadian Art. Tanya originates from the Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions in southwestern Alaska and is based in northern Ontario.

Duncan McCue

Award-winning journalist Duncan McCue is the host of CBC Radio One Cross Country Checkup. McCue was a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver for over 15 years. Now based in Toronto, his news and current affairs pieces continue to be featured on CBC's flagship news show, The National.

McCue's work has garnered several RTNDA and Jack Webster Awards. He was part of a CBC Aboriginal investigation into missing and murdered Indigenous women that won numerous honours including the Hillman Award for Investigative Journalism. In 2017, he was presented with an Indspire Award for Public Service.

McCue teaches journalism at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism and Ryerson University, and was recognized by the Canadian Ethnic Media Association with an Innovation Award for developing curriculum on Indigenous issues. He's also an author: his book The Shoe Boy: A Trapline Memoir recounts a season he spent in a hunting camp with a Cree family in northern Quebec as a teenager.

He was awarded a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 2011, where he created an online guide for journalists called Reporting in Indigenous Communities (riic.ca). Before becoming a journalist, McCue studied English at the University of King's College, then Law at UBC. He was called to the bar in British Columbia in 1998. McCue is Anishinaabe, a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in southern Ontario, and proud father of two children.

Alan Michelson

Alan Michelson is an internationally recognized New York-based artist, curator, writer, lecturer and member of Six Nations of the Grand River.

For over twenty-five years, he has been a leading practitioner of a socially engaged, critically aware, site-specific art grounded in local context and informed by the retrieval of repressed histories. Sourcing from both Indigenous and western culture, he works in a range of media and materials.

Michelson’s work has been widely exhibited and is currently featured in Alan Michelson: Historicity at Woodland Cultural Centre, Indicators: Artists on Climate Change at Storm King Art Center, and in the upcoming Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment at the Princeton University Art Museum.

He is the recipient of several awards, most recently the Macgeorge Fellowship, University of Melbourne, Australia, and past honors include an NEA Visual Artists Fellowship, Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Artist Fellowship and the GSA Design Award. His work is in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

His practice includes public art, and Mantle, his large-scale monument honoring Virginia’s Indian nations, was recently dedicated on Capitol Square in Richmond. Michelson is co-founder and co-curator of the Indigenous New York series.

Kent Monkman

Kent Monkman is well known for his provocative reinterpretations of romantic North American landscapes. Themes of colonization, sexuality, loss, and resilience - the complexities of historic and contemporary Indigenous experience - are explored in a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance, and installation.

His glamorous gender fluid alter-ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle appears in much of his work as a time travelling, shape shifting and supernatural being, who reverses the colonial gaze, upending received notions of history and Indigenous people.

His work has been exhibited internationally and is widely represented in the collections of major museums in Canada and the USA.

He is represented by Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain in Montreal and Toronto, Trepanier Baer in Calgary and Peters Projects in Santa Fe.

Nadia Myre

Nadia Myre is a Montreal-based interdisciplinary artist and curator of mixed Algonquin and French Canadian heritage. A member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg First Nation, her work explores the politics of belonging by positioning her practice within a framework of resistance and resilience. She is the recipient of numerous commissions and awards, notably: Tree of Shifting Forms (Canadian Embassy, Paris, 2018), Eel Spirit, Basket, and Fence, (City of Ottawa, 2018), Living with Contradiction (Banff Centre for the Arts, Walter Phillips Gallery Indigenous Commission Award, 2016), and the Sobey Art Award (2014). Recent solo exhibitions include Code Switching and Other Work (The Briggait, Glasgow International, 2018), Acts that Fade Away (Ryerson Image Centre, 2018), Tout ce qui reste/Scattered Remains (Montreal Museum of Fine Art, 2017), Decolonial Gestures or Doing it Wrong? Refaire le chemin (McCord Museum, 2016), Oraison/Orison (Oboro, 2014). Her work appears in publications such as ArtForum, Art Journal, ArtNews, Canadian Art, Esse, ETC, Le Monde, New York Times, Parachute, Spirale, and the Washington Post. Since 2013, Myre has been an active board member of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and is currently a professor at Concordia University where she holds a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Art Practice.

Wanda Nanibush

Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe curator, image and word warrior, and community organizer from Beausoleil First Nation, located in Southern Ontario. Nanibush has a Master’s degree in visual studies from the University of Toronto. Over the past two decades, Nanibush has served in a wide range of capacities from programmer and festival coordinator to Aboriginal arts officer and executive director. During that time, she worked with organizations such as ImagineNATIVE, LIFT, Optic Nerve Film Festival, Reframe Film Festival, the Ontario Arts Council, Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, and the Association for Native Development in the Performing & Visual Arts (ANDPVA). Her curatorial credits include the exhibitions Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989 and Rita Letendre: Fire & Light. Nanibush has published widely on the subject of Indigenous art as well as women’s issues, and is currently at work on her first book, titled Violence No More: The Rise of Indigenous Women. Most recently, Wanda curated Gershon Iskowitz Prize-winning artist Rebecca Belmore’s solo-exhibition titled, Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental, on view at the AGO until October 21, 2018.

Darlene Naponse

Darlene is an Anishinaabe Kwe from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek - Northern Ontario.  She was born and raised in her community and now works out of her studio located in Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.
She is a writer, film director, and video artist.  Her film work has been viewed internationally including the Sundance Film Festival in 2001/2002/2003. Her latest feature “Every Emotion Costs”, screened worldwide, winning various awards.  Her art based video work was installed in various galleries and programs nationally/internationally. She is currently working on a book of short stories.
She worked with community leaders and elders to write and ratify the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek Gchi-Naaknigewin (Constitution). She continues governance and First Nations land/human rights work in her community.
She owns Pine Needle Productions an award-winning boutique Film/Video/Audio Recording Production Studio, located in Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.
Darlene has built a wide range of work.  She is passionate and pure as an independent artist.  She remains creative control in all her films and continues to work with dedication to the protection of story, appropriation and respect to imagery, history, and tradition of First Nations people.
Her work is deeply connected to her community, First Nations realities of the 21st century and Mother Earth.  Darlene is honored to listen to stories of sadness, rejoice, hope, rejection, reflection, optimism and an understating of just who we are as Native people living on Mother Earth.

As a storyteller, Darlene is in search of imaginative images giving truth through word, film, art and song.

Shelley Niro

Shelley Niro was born in Niagara Falls, NY. Currently she lives in Brantford Ontario. Niro is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Bay of Quinte Mohawk, Turtle Clan. Shelley Niro is a multi-media artist. Her work involves photography, painting, beadwork and film.

Niro is conscious the impact post-colonial mediums have had on Indigenous people. Like many artists from different Native communities, she works relentlessly presenting people in realistic and explorative portrayals. Photo series such as MOHAWKS IN BEEHIVES, THIS LAND IS MIME LAND and M: STORIES OF WOMEN are a few of the genre of artwork. Films include: HONEY MOCCASIN, IT STARTS WITH A WHISPER, THE SHIRT, KISSED BY LIGHTNING and ROBERT’S PAINTINGS.

Shelley graduated from the Ontario College of Art, Honours and received her Master of Fine Art from the University of Western Ontario. Niro was the inaugural recipient of the Aboriginal Arts Award presented through the Ontario Arts Council in 2012.

In 2017 Niro received the Govenor General’s Award For The Arts from the Canada Council, The Scotiabank Photography Award and also received from the Hnatyshyn Foundation REVEAL Award. Niro also received the Arts and Culture Award from the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation. Niro continues to produce work reflecting herself and her community.

Alanis Obomsawin

Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki Nation, is one of Canada’s foremost documentary filmmakers. The many films that she has directed with the National Film Board of Canada explore the lives and concerns of Canada’s First Nations. Her 50th and most recent film, Our People Will Be Healed, reveals how a Cree community in Manitoba has been enriched by an adequately funded school that nurtures Indigenous culture.

Obomsawin originally launched her career in 1960 as a professional singer in New York City. In 1967, NFB producers Joe Koenig and Bob Verrall invited her to act as a consultant for a film on Indigenous people. Obomsawin quickly fell in love with the camera and never looked back.

As an activist filmmaker, Obomsawin has always been driven by a desire to give Canada’s first peoples a voice. This can be seen in all her films, from Christmas at Moose Factory (1971), which depicts life in a Cree village in James Bay through children’s drawings, to We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice (2016), which describes the legal battle that First Nations waged from 2007 to 2016 so that their children would receive the same care as other Canadian children. Throughout her career, Obomsawin has consistently focused her lens on the importance of roots and intergenerational bonds in preserving First Nations culture.

Obomsawin was inducted into the Playback Canadian Film & Television Hall of Fame in 2010 and honoured during the inaugural Birks Diamond Tribute to the Year’s Women in Film at TIFF in 2013. In 2014, Obomsawin also received the Humanitarian Award for Exceptional Contributions to Community and Public Service from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

Candy Palmater

Candy Palmater is a gay Mi’kmaw actor, writer, comic and activist. She graduated as valedictorian of her class at Dalhousie Law School and went on to practice labour law. She is the star of her own national TV show called The Candy Show on APTN and has acted in many other series including The Trailer Park Boys on Netflix. Candy has also had her own national radio show and can be heard often on CBC Radio One. Most recently, Candy has signed a book deal. Harper Collins with be releasing her first book, a memoir, in the spring of 2019. Candy is currently taping Season One of her Podcast, Sweet Talk with Candy Palmater, that will be available on iTunes and on TheCandyShow.com website by end of spring 2018. Be sure to subscribe to the website to not miss out on the first episode.

Archer Pechawis

Performance, theatre and new media artist, filmmaker, writer, curator and educator Archer Pechawis was born in Alert Bay, BC He has been a practicing artist since 1984 with particular interest in the intersection of Plains Cree culture and digital technology, merging "traditional" objects such as hand drums with digital video and audio sampling. His work has been exhibited across Canada, internationally in Paris France and Moscow Russia, and featured in publications such as Fuse Magazine and Canadian Theatre Review. Archer has been the recipient of many Canada Council, British Columbia and Ontario Arts Council awards, and won the Best New Media Award at the 2007 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and Best Experimental Short at imagineNATIVE in 2009.

Archer has worked extensively with Native youth since the start of his art practice, originally teaching juggling and theatre, and now digital media and performance. He is currently a member of the Indigenous Routes collective, teaching video game development to Native girls: www.indigenousroutes.ca

Of Cree and European ancestry, he is a member of Mistawasis First Nation, Saskatchewan.

Jolene Rickard

Jolene Rickard, Ph.D. is a visual historian, artist and curator interested in the issues of Indigeneity within a global context. Highlighted projects include: The Creative Time Summit: The Curriculum, 8/2015 in conjunction with the 56th International la Biennale di Venezia; essay, “Arts of Dispossession,” in From Tierra del Fuego to the Artic: Landscape Painting in the Americas, Art Gallery of Ontario and Yale University Press, 2015; advisor to Sakahàn: 1st International Quinquennial of New Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Canada, 2013; Ford Foundation Research Grant, 2008-11; Te Tihi Scholar/Artist Gathering in New Zealand, 2010 and co-curator for the inaugural exhibition, Our Lives and Our Peoples for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C., 2004. She is from the Tuscarora Nation (Haudenosaunee), director of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program and Associate Professor in the History of Art and Art Departments at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y..

Greg Staats

Greg Staats (Kanien'kehá:ka [Mohawk]) was born in 1963 in Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Ontario, and has lived and worked in Toronto since 1986, pursuing lens-based photography, video installation/performance, and sculpture. He received a degree in Applied Photography from Sheridan College, Toronto in 1983.

Staats’ lens based work combines language, mnemonics, and the natural world as an ongoing process of visualizing a Hodinohso:ni: restorative aesthetic that defines relational multiplicities with condolence and renewal. Motivation of his work comes from an existential displacement from the Kanien'kehá:ka language and subsequent relational worldview, while reflecting his on reserve lived experience. Staats’ installations combine performative burdens of condolence, renewal, and his continuously re-imagined role as observer and participant, in an effort to elevate the mind and countervail complex trauma. His practice situates itself in a continuum of remembering, self-reflection, orality and embodied re/visualized mnemonics.

Solo exhibitions include: NIIPA, articule, McMaster Museum of Art, Walter Philips Gallery, Mercer Union, Gallery TPW, Trinity Square Video/Images Festival. Group exhibitions include: AGYU, the National Gallery of Canada, CMCP, MOCNA, Sante Fe. In 1999 he was the recipient of the Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography and most recently was a finalist for the Scotiabank Photography Award.

Adrian Stimson

Adrian Stimson is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation. He has a BFA with distinction from the Alberta College of Art and Design and an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. He considers himself an interdisciplinary artist, exhibiting nationally and internationally.

His paintings are described as melancholic, memorializing, and sometimes whimsical, they evoke ideas cultural fragility, resilience and nostalgia. He recently had two works acquired by The British Museum for their North American Indigenous collection. His performance art looks at identity construction, specifically the hybridization of the Indian, the cowboy, the shaman and Two Spirit being. His installation work primarily examines the residential school experience, having attended three residential schools in his life. The works speak to genocide, loss and resilience. His sculptural pieces are often collaborative, he’s worked with relatives of Murdered and Missing Women to create Bison Sentinels and with the Whitecap Dakota Nation in creating Spirit of Alliance, a monument to the War of 1812.

His awards include the: 2009 Blackfoot Visual Arts Award, 2003 Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, a 2005 Alberta Centennial Medal, the REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award –Hnatyshyn Foundation and most recently a 2018 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts.

Tanya Talaga

TANYA TALAGA is the acclaimed author of Seven Fallen Feathers, which was the winner of the RBC Taylor Prize, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the First Nation Communities Read, a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and the BC National Award for Nonfiction, CBC’s Nonfiction Book of the Year, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, and a national bestseller. Talaga has been a journalist at the Toronto Star for twenty years, covering everything from general city news to education, national healthcare, foreign news, and Indigenous affairs. She has been nominated five times for the Michener Award in public service journalism. Talaga is the 2017–2018 Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy and the 2018 CBC Massey Lecturer. Talaga is of Polish and Indigenous descent. Her great-grandmother, Liz Gauthier, was a residential school survivor. Her great-grandfather, Russell Bowen, was an Ojibwe trapper and labourer. Her grandmother is a member of Fort William First Nation. Her mother was raised in Raith and Graham, Ontario. Talaga lives in Toronto with her two teenage children.

Megan Tamati-Quennell

Megan Tamati-Quennell is the Curator of Modern & contemporary Māori and Indigenous art at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. She began her curatorial practice at the National Art Gallery in 1990 and is a leading specialist in the field of modern and contemporary Māori art with just under three decades of curatorial practice.

Her research interests include; Māori modernism and the work of the post war (1945) Māori artists, Mana Wāhine; Māori women artists of the 1970s and 1980s, ‘The Māori Internationals’ and International Indigenous art with particular focus on Indigenous art in Australia, Canada and the United States, that she has had some engagement with.

Megan’s current projects include developing a limited edition publication for Detour, a major commissioned project by Michael Parekowhai that she curated for the opening of the new Toi Art space of Te Papa March 2018 and that is on exhibition until 4 November 2018. Contributing chapters to two upcoming books, one focused on Curating in a Globalised World being published by The University of Melbourne in Australia and the other focused on Maori modernism for Modernising Primitivism, Indigenising Modernisms: Mediatiors and Artists in Twentieth-Century Global Art Worlds being published by Duke Press, Princeton University, USA.

Her upcoming exhibition projects include the development of survey exhibition of leading Maori modernist artist Paratene Matchitt, an exhibition of works from 1969 by Maori minimalist artist Matt Pine, that intersect with ideas of Maori architecutre, developing a project related to the women of Maori modernism and reimagining In Pursuit of Venus (infected), Lisa Reihana’s 2017 Venice Biennale exhibition for 2020.

Jesse Wente

Jesse Wente is an Ojibwe writer, broadcaster, producer and speaker. Born and raised in Toronto, his family hails from Chicago and the Serpent River First Nation. Jesse is best known for his 22 years as a columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, Jesse spent 11 years with the Toronto International Film Festival, the last seven as the Head of TIFF Cinematheque. Jesse is currently co-producing his first film, a screen adaptation of Thomas King’s best-selling book, The Inconvenient Indian. An outspoken advocate for Indigenous rights and First Nations, Metis and Inuit art, he has spoken at the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Canadian Arts Summit and numerous Universities and Colleges. Jesse currently serves on the board of directors for the Canada Council for the Arts and the Toronto Arts Council and was recently named the inaugural recipient of the Reelworld Film Festival’s Reel Activist Award. Jesse just started a new role as the first Director of the Indigenous Screen Office in Canada.

Tania Willard

Tania Willard, Secwépemc Nation, works within the shifting ideas around contemporary and traditional, often working with bodies of knowledge and skills that are conceptually linked to her interest in intersections between Aboriginal and other cultures. Working through both artistic and curatorial practice, Willard seeks to collapse boundaries between artistic and curatorial practice through community engaged strategies. Willard was Aboriginal Curator in Residence with Kamloops Art Gallery from 2013-2015 with exhibitions, unlimited edition and CUSTOM MADE/Tsitlem te stem te ckultens'kuc. Willard's curatorial work also includes the National touring exhibition, Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture, co-curated with Kathleen Ritter, Vancouver Art Gallery and national tour, featuring 27 contemporary Aboriginal artists. As well as, Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, co-curated with Karen Duffek at Museum of Anthropology, UBC (2016) . In 2016 Willard received the Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art from the Hanatyshyn Foundation as well as a City of Vancouver Book Award for the catalogue for the exhibition Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. Her MFA thesis work centred intuition in the archive and contextualized physical anthropological artifacts in the embrace of her homelands. Willard is an activator of BUSH Gallery, an outdoor collaborative Indigenous-led experimental gallery space.

IMAGE CREDIT (TOP OF PAGE): Rebecca Belmore. Biinjiya'iing Onji (From Inside) [detail], 2017. Hand-carved marble, 143 x 209 x 209 cm. National Gallery of Canada, purchased 2018. 48373. Photo by Scott Benesiinaabandan.

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