SAW SATELLITE, OTTAWA June 18 to July 30
Five Indigenous women staged performative works, then called on guests to respond. Curator Tarah Hogue reveals the stories behind these collaborative projects.
TARAH HOGUE: Christi Belcourt invited Isaac Murdoch to be her collaborator, and they frame the land as their respondent, to perform ceremony on the land to reconcile with it, and the practice of offering and reciprocity that was disrupted by colonialism. Maria Hupþeldõs Post Performance / Conversation Action is a performance/artist talk meant as an intergenerational solidarity-building exercise among Indigenous women. Her respondents, Esther Neff and IV Castellanos, developed a performative workshop on how to decolonize yourself. They ask whose responsibility it is to decolonize, and what role art plays in the process. Ursula Johnsonõs project, Ke’tapekiaq Ma’qimikew: The Land Sings, uses topographical maps to plot a line from the closest Indigenous settlement to the site of the performance space. Drawing from the practice of singing the land, the line that gets plotted will become a score from which her respondent, Cheryl Lõhirondelle, developed a collaborative song. The durational performance acknowledges the land and the role of Indigenous people as stewards. In Only Available Light, Tania Willard explores the ethnographic Þlms of anthropologist Harlan Smithñwhich were shown to grade-school students across the country when it was mandatory for Indigenous kids to attend residential schoolñto expose the contradictions of consuming Indigenous culture while attempting to assimilate it. Laakkuluk Williamson-bathory is a Greenlandic and Inuk artist from Iqaluit. She performs uaajeerneq, a Greenlandic mask dance that is clownish and frightening, meant to prepare people for the extremes of life for people in the North. Her respondent, Tanya Tagaq, whom she has collaborated with in the past, accompanied Williamson-bathoryõs project with her throat singing.
Laakkuluk Williamson-bathory Timiga nunalu, sikulu (My body, the land and the ice) (video still) 2016