Special Events

aabaakwad 2021

Photography of artist Lori Blondeau as the Lonely Surfer Squaw, standing beside a river on snow-covered ground, wearing a buffalo skin bikini and boots, holding a large pale pink surf board.

Lori Blondeau. Lonely Surfer Squaw II, 1997. Duratrans transparency in lightbox, Overall: 104.8 x 80.2 x 17 cm. Purchase, with funds by exchange from a gift of Mrs. Jules Loeb, donated by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, 2020. © Lori Blondeau 2020/18

All events will be livestreamed at aabaakwad.com

Join us in person at the AGO on Friday and Saturday, please register below: 


Tickets are not currently available.

Special Events

aabaakwad 2021

Friday December 3 - Sunday December 5
Baillie Court, Art Gallery of Ontario


aabaakwad 2021 is the third international gathering of Indigenous artists, curators and thinkers.

aabaakwad (it clears after a storm) is an annual Indigenous-led conversation on Indigenous art by those who create, curate and write about it. A gathering that alternates annually between Toronto and international venues, showcasing dynamic dialogue examining themes, materials and experiences in Indigenous art practice globally. The only Indigenous-led arts gathering of its kind in the world, co-presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the Canada Council of the Arts, this year’s event welcomes more than 40 presenters from 24 First Nations and six countries, including Rebecca Belmore, Alan Michelson, Taqralik Partridge, Duke Redbird, Timimie Marak, Liisa-Ravna Finbog, internationally renowned writer Gerald Vizenor, and Sobey art award winner Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory for three days of free conversation and performance. We are Indigenous-led and artist-centred.

aabaakwad is also a living archive of Indigenous thought on art.

Visit aabaakwad.com for a detailed schedule of events and participant biographies. 

Friday December 3  (onsite and online)

7 pm | Robert Houle: Keynote
7:30 pm |  Red is Beautiful - The Conversation with Robert Houle, Faye Heavyshield and Barry Ace
9 pm | The Halluci Nation - live performance

Saturday December 4 (onsite and online)

11 am | Duke Redbird: Keynote

11:30 am | Between Performance and Museum Object:  Maria Hupfield in conversation with Tarah Hogue
12:30 pm | These rocks are breathing: John Sabourin, Bill Nasogaluak and Shuvinai Ashoona
1:30 pm | Lunch Break
2:30 pm | Nanabozhoo’s sisters: Lori Blondeau, Shelley Niro, Rebecca Belmore in conversation
3:30 pm | Those Who Stand in Front Take the Heat: Greg Hill, Kathleen Ash-Milby, Peter Jemison
4:30 pm | Theatre of the World: Alan Michelson in conversation with Wanda Nanibush
5:30 pm | In Constant Return: Greg Staats and Rick Hill in conversation
6:30 pm | Opening Celebration for Greg Staats, Alan Michelson and Shuvinai Ashoona

Sunday December 5 (online only)

10 am | Pasapkedjiniwong: THE RIVER THAT PASSES THROUGH THE ROCKS with John Hampton, Léuli Eshrāghi, Joi T Arcand,  Caroline Monnet

11 am | The Frisky Business of Creation: Taqralik Partridge, Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory, and Tarralik Duffy in conversation.
12 pm | Material Languages: Marianne Nicolson and Dempsey Bob
1 pm | Lunch Break
2 pm | Sovereign Words: Poetry Readings from Billy Ray-Belcourt, Timimie Märak, and Janet Rogers, followed by a conversation moderated by Liisa-Ravna Finbog
3 pm | Vexoa: Contemporary Indigenous Art from Brazil with Naine Terema (curator) and artists Kaya Agari, Olinda Muniz Tupinambá, Denilson Baniwa
4 pm | Karanga atu, new Maori art by two emerging Maori women artists with Megan Tamati-Quennell,  Ayesha Green and Ana Iti
5 pm | Gerald Vizenor: Keynote


International Curatorial Committee

Brook Andrew (Wiradjuri, Australia)
Heather Igloliorte (Inuk, Nunatsiavut, Canada)
Elias Yamani Ismail (Orang Asal, Malaysia)
Alan Michelson (Mohawk, USA)
Wanda Nanibush (Anishinaabe, Canada)
Jolene Rickard (Tuscarora, USA)
Megan Temati-Quenell (Maori, New Zealand/Aotearoa)

For requests for Verbal Description, American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and/or live captioning for online and onsite programming, please provide three weeks notice in advance of the event date. The AGO will make every effort to provide accommodation for requests made with less than three weeks notice. Please note that automated captioning is available for all online programs. For onsite visits, the AGO offers these supports for an accessible visit. Please contact us to make a request for these or other accessibility accommodations. Learn more about accessibility at the AGO.


Special Events
Wednesday, December 7 - Friday, December 9
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