WIN­NIPEG ART GALLERY Opens Septem­ber 22

Canadian Art - - Preview -

In this in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary ex­hi­bi­tion, the co-cu­ra­tors con­nect 28 artists across gen­er­a­tions and ter­ri­to­ries to ex­plore the insurgence and the resur­gence of Indige­nous cul­ture, na­tion­hood, ac­tivism, sur­vival and sol­i­dar­ity.

JULIE NAGAM AND JAIMIE ISAAC: To only say “resur­gence” short­ens the time frame; “insurgence” says that Indige­nous peo­ples have al­ways been re­sist­ing, and that’s the strength of our in­ter­gen­er­a­tional cul­tural knowl­edge. Indige­nous peo­ples have been present for mil­len­nia, and we’ve al­ways been cul­tural pro­duc­ers in ways that have been shaped very dif­fer­ently from main­stream avant-garde art.

Our cu­ra­to­rial en­gage­ment takes a ge­o­graphic and na­tion-based ap­proach to fo­cus on the mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary prac­tices of emerg­ing to mid-ca­reer artists, with a few more es­tab­lished artists, to think about the com­pli­ca­tions and pol­i­tics within na­tion­hood, the com­pli­ca­tions of cul­tural sol­i­dar­ity and diver­sity and the com­pli­ca­tions of land pol­i­tics.

Co-cu­rat­ing in a large, main­stream gallery is a de­par­ture from tra­di­tional cu­ra­to­rial prac­tices, and when we say “co-cu­rat­ing,” we mean a full col­lab­o­ra­tion within the whole ge­neal­ogy of Indige­nous method­olo­gies that have been think­ing about re­sis­tance and sur­vivance for a long time. We’re build­ing on the legacy of col­lab­o­ra­tion in the Indige­nous cir­cle of cu­ra­tors in Canada and be­yond on ex­hi­bi­tions such as “Sakahàn: In­ter­na­tional Indige­nous Art” at the Na­tional Gallery of Canada in Ot­tawa; “Close En­coun­ters: The Next 500 Years” at Plug In ICA in Win­nipeg; and “Mov­ing For­ward Never For­get­ting”at the Macken­zie Art Gallery in Regina.

We’re both in­ter­ested in dras­ti­cally chang­ing the phys­i­cal scope of an ex­hi­bi­tion within the Wag—all 10,000 square feet and up to four gallery spa­ces—and out­side the build­ing. Some of the pieces will be larger ex­ter­nal in­ter­ven­tions, and oth­ers will in­volve tak­ing up as much space as pos­si­ble within the gallery. We’re work­ing with 28 artists—16 loans and 12 new com­mis­sions—a per­for­mance by Earth­line Tat­too Col­lec­tive, who will set up a tat­too shop, and an in­stal­la­tion by Tanya Lukin Lin­klater. We’re part­ner­ing with Wall to Wall, a mu­ral fes­ti­val; we’re host­ing a three-day sym­po­sium to dis­cuss Indige­nous fu­tures with Indige­nous Cana­dian, Amer­i­can and Ocea­nian schol­ars; and we’re host­ing a day of Indige­nous video games for a fam­i­ly­ori­ented gath­er­ing. We’re get­ting in­put from the larger com­mu­nity to try to broaden the scope of who comes into the WAG, and en­gage with dif­fer­ent groups of peo­ple who have never come into the gallery. That’s quite a rad­i­cal shift for clas­sic mu­seum prac­tices. When it comes to mak­ing space and as­sert­ing

pres­ence through coded lan­guage: weõre not spell­ing out what it is to be Indige­nous. Thereõs a re­fusal of sub­scribed or pre­scribed ideas of Indi­gene­ity. We con­front that, but weõre think­ing more about insurgence and resur­gence within peo­pleõs work, their pol­i­tics, their na­tion­hood, their cul­ture. In terms of set­tler en­gage­ment, we donõt think there has to be any­thing that spells out, Òthis is what this is; we are trans­lat­ing our Indi­gene­ity so you can un­der­stand .ó Win­nipeg has one of the fastest-grow­ing Indige­nous pop­u­la­tions in Canada. We have strength in that and we want to show­case it.

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