What’s At Stake? Intertextual Indigenous Knowledges
Saturday, February 4, 2017
12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
World Art Centre, SFU, 149 West Hastings, Vancouver
What’s At Stake? Intertextual Indigenous Knowledges is an afternoon of talks, panels and a spoken word performance that examines knowledge, power, authority, and sovereignty in the construction of artistic practices.
Following on Intertextual: Art in Dialogue, a roving reading group that was held at participating galleries over the last year, this program is meant to function less like a syllabus and more like a web of ideas. Taking the critical historiography of Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A Changing History of Ideas (UBC Press, 2013) as a point of provocation, this event belongs to an intertextual discussion of artistic practice and the role of art institutions (from artist-run centres to public gallery models) in Vancouver.
Intertextual aims to examine/critique and create/support a community based in text, recognizing the process of selection and concomitant erasure that occurs in any process of representation.
Beginning with a welcome by Musqueam artist and knowledge keeper Debra Sparrow and concluding with a spoken word performance by Nuu-chah-nulth/Kwakwaka’wakw poet Valeen Jules, the afternoon features talks by notable cultural figures involved in Indigenous art: art historian Charlotte Townsend-Gault, Nuu-chah-nulth historian, poet and artist Ron Hamilton (Ḳi-ḳe-in), Kwakwaka’wakw artist, activist and scholar Marianne Nicolson, and Cree curator and scholar Richard Hill, Canada Research Chair at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. In addition, a lively discussion between Vancouver Indigenous scholars, curators and artists – Lindsay Lachance, Jordan Wilson, Jeneen Frei Njootli and Jennifer Kramer – promises to be a highlight.
This series has been produced with the participation of SFU Galleries, Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, Contemporary Art Gallery, grunt gallery, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Museum of Anthropology, Presentation House Gallery, UBC Press, Vancouver Art Gallery, and Western Front.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Vancouver, British Columbia – Visual Arts, Discussion, Behind-the-scenes
Join us for an informal discussion with grunt program director Glenn Alteen along with archivist Dan Pon and curator Vanessa Kwan. We’ll give you a brief tour of the current exhibition (Tomorrow, Tomorrow. by artist Mark Hall-Patch), talk a little about our archive, our curatorial process, and introduce some of the upcoming projects for the 2016/17 season.
Date: October 1, 2016
Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Location: grunt gallery, 350 East 2 Avenue, Vancouver BC
FREE EVENT. Open to the public.
Check out this event and more on the Culture Days website.
Art Talking Women is a series of intimate conversations with a variety of hosts where female-identified artists discuss their creative process as well as their relationship with community and technology. Art Talking Women celebrates and showcases practicing Canadian women artists to the world through evolving podcast technology, internet-based social networks, and digital distribution.
This project was initiated by Margaret Dragu, the winner of the 2012 Governor General’s Award, and developed into a three part collaboration between Cinevolution Media Arts Society, Dragu’s DWI (Dragu Worker International) Production and VIVO Media Arts Centre.
Leave Out Violence (LOVE BC) is an organization working with all youth, with a strong emphasis on supporting youth who experience multiple social and systemic barriers. LOVE brings together youth from different backgrounds and experiences and offers them creative tools to tell their stories, promote non-violence and practice healthy self-expression.
LOVE LINE showcases a collection of LOVE youth’s work and stories through photography, poetry, short films and mixed media. Through this work, LOVE youth are able to share their experiences with each other and form a strong, healthy peer community. The youth team named this exhibit LOVE LINES in recognition of the long-term connections that they built at LOVE.
Enjoy this slideshow of images from our painting party at the NEC mural during the Vancouver Mural Festival.
Painting of the mural is well underway!! Lead artists Corey Bulpitt, Sharifah Marsden, and Jerry Whitehead have been working long hours to prepare for the launch as part of the first ever Vancouver Mural Festival on Saturday, August 20. The mural is looking amazing already. Check out this beautiful timelapse video of some of the work that’s gone into it so far, as filmed by our volunteer, Rosalina Cerritos and featuring music by Russell Wallace.
Come help us paint at the official launch party on Saturday, August 20 between 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm. RSVP here!
Check out the finalized design for our Past and Presence mural project for the Tsimilano Building, the NEC’s administrative building located on East 5th Avenue! Our lead artists Corey Bulpitt, Sharifah Marsden and Jerry Whitehead recently held a series of workshops with the Urban Native Youth Association’s Young Bears Lodge and other community members to collaborate on this design. See pix from those workshops here.
It’s been slow going but we’re patiently waiting for our permit and planning a paint party BBQ in July – all are welcome to attend!
For updates and invitations to mural events, email email@example.com
The Native Education College (NEC) and grunt gallery are partnering with three Vancouver-based First Nations artists: Corey Bulpitt, Sharifah Marsden and Jerry Whitehead to create a large scale mural that celebrates the NEC’s 30th Anniversary at their location in Mount Pleasant.
We’d like to invite the public to participate! Especially youth, families, and anyone interested in learning about contemporary Indigenous art practices, Indigenous-led education, the history of Mount Pleasant, and working together to plan and paint a community mural.
The mural will be painted on the east wall of the Tsimilano Building, an administrative building located next door to the Longhouse on East 5th Avenue at Main Street, a busy urban area in East Vancouver.
Mural planning session #2
Saturday, January 23, 2016
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Native Education College Longhouse
285 East 5th Avenue
Light refreshments will be served. Attendance at meeting #1 is not a requirement. In fact, we hope new participants will come to each meeting.
This session will also include a tour of Coast Salish artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s art studio.
We will continue to meet on a monthly basis to plan the mural. Painting will take place in April 2016 followed by a big launch party!
Corey Bulpitt: aakeit Aaya or “Gifted Carver” Haida of the Naikun Raven clan was born in Prince Rupert BC in 1978. He is a great-great grandson of the famed Charles Edenshaw and Louis Collison. He is an avid painter, jeweler, wood and argillite carver who enjoys exploring different mediums such as spray paint, which he has used to create large-scale paintings involving urban youth in Vancouver. Through his study Corey creates functional pieces that can be used in the traditional context of song and dance.
Sharifah Marsden: Sharifah is an Anishnaabe artist from Mississauga’s of Scugog Island First Nation. Sharifah draws from her Anishnaabe roots and her knowledge of Woodlands art to create works that include everything from acrylic paintings, murals to beadwork and engraving. She graduated from the Native Education College, Northwest Coast Jeweller Arts program under established Haida/Kwakwaka’wakw artist, Dan Wallace. She has been focusing on her own career as an artist, creating jewellery and designing murals for a number of Vancouver’s non-profit organizations.
Jerry Whitehead: Jerry is of Cree heritage from the James Smith First Nation in Saskatchewan. Art has been his lifelong passion. Today Jerry resides in Vancouver and he continues to paint within his community and abroad. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree – Indian Art (S.I.F.C) from the University of Regina in 1983. He then went on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1987. You may view Jerry’s artistic projects at jerrywhitehead.com and see the various projects he has been involved with.
Session #1 – December 9, 2015
Approximately 15 people gathered to meet the artists, Corey, Sharifah, and Jerry. Russell Wallace from the NEC spoke, as did Tarah Hogue, Aboriginal Curatorial Resident from grunt gallery. Each of the artists gave a presentation which included photos and stories of past murals they’ve worked on. Then we all walked outside together to look at the blank wall we would soon be painting. It’s really large! At the end, everyone took a blank piece of paper and sketched out their ideas for the mural design.
New and returning participants convened to continue planning the NEC’s 30th anniversary mural. We started the session with a visit to Coast Salish artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s studio. Wow!!! Lawrence impressed upon us the importance of meaning and symbolism in artwork. It really made us think about what we wanted to say with our mural. Afterwards, we went back to the NEC where Corey Bulpitt gave us a lesson in the use of the “ovoid” shape in Coast Salish art. Then we broke out the colouring pencils and tried to create our own ovoid inspired designs. We also got a sneak preview into what might be the first draft of our actual mural design, but it’s still in process.
Join the NEC Mural Project’s Facebook group to get involved and receive updates on this evolving project.
For more information contact Tarah Hogue, Aboriginal Curatorial Resident at grunt gallery:
Indigenous Resurgent Practice
Two days of performances and discussions
Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5, 2016
Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson describe resurgence as “the rebuilding of Indigenous nations according to our own political, intellectual and cultural traditions.”
Cutting Copper: Indigenous Resurgent Practice, a collaborative project between grunt gallery and the Belkin Art Gallery, aims to bring together a cross-disciplinary group of artists, curators, writers, educators, scholars, students and activists to explore the embodied theory of Indigenous resurgence and cultural representation – from the perspectives of their own disciplines and one another’s.
This event will focus specifically on the role that contemporary Indigenous artistic practice can and does play in redefining cultural tradition, representation, and the relations between Settler and Indigenous peoples at sites of creativity, community, and dissent.
A series of performances at the Belkin Art Gallery will respond to the exhibition “Lalakenis/All Directions: A Journey of Truth and Unity” by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Beau Dick, and will be followed by thematic discussions held at the Liu Institute for Global Issues and the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.
Cutting Copper: Indigenous Resurgent Practice is presented with support from the British Columbia Arts Council.
FRIDAY, MARCH 4
Recognition, Refusal and Resurgence
2 pm: Performance | Dana Claxton
Location: Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery (UBC)
1825 Main Mall, Vanouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Discussion Panel | Linc Kesler, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Alfred Taiaiake; Moderator: Shelly Rosenblum
Location: Liu Institute for Global Issues, UBC, 6476 NW Marine Drive
This panel will address some of the theoretical interventions at play when considering the ways in which Indigenous peoples have sought to overcome the contemporary life of settler-colonization and achieve self-determination through cultural production and critique.
SATURDAY, MARCH 5
Creations, Insertions and Rebuffs: Cultural Institutions and Practice
9:30 am: Performance | Maria Hupfield and Charlene Vickers
Location: Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery
Discussion Panel | Jarrett Martineau, Wanda Nanibush, Tannis Nielsen; Moderator: Lorna Brown
Location: Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, University Centre, UBC, 6331 Crescent Road
This panel will address the role of performative, educational, curatorial or programming models to investigate how they might challenge or alter institutions’ interactions with Indigenous peoples.
Sovereignty Across Disciplines
2 pm: Performance | Tanya Lukin Linklater
Location: Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery
Discussion Panel | Julie Nagam, Michelle Raheja, Dylan Robinson; Moderator: Tarah Hogue
Location: Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, University Centre, UBC, 6331 Crescent Road
This panel will explore intersecting fields of literature, film, media, cultural studies, and dance as modalities of resurgent cultural expression.
For further information please contact Tarah Hogue at 778-235-6928 or firstname.lastname@example.org
*Image credit: Maria Hupfield and Charlene Vickers, Resurgent Gallery Happening, 2016. Performance documentation, Belkin Art Gallery. Photo: Michael Barrick.
Donations to the grunt bring focus to artists and art projects that are underrepresented in conventional galleries.
grunt gallery has had the pleasure of meeting and working with a great number of fantastic volunteers who have contributed their time to various projects at our space – and who have subsequently become important members of grunt gallery’s community.
We’re happy to share a conversation between two of grunt gallery’s archive volunteers, Diana Zapata and Jessica Mach, about DISGRUNTLED: Other Art, grunt’s first eBook that commemorates the 30th anniversary.
Diana calls Bogotá, Medellín, Mexico City, Vancouver and Toronto home. She has a BA in Art History from The University of British Columbia and was an Archival Intern at grunt. She currently lives in Toronto, where she makes lattes for the city’s coffee fiends. She is also the Gallery Administrator and Outreach Coordinator at Sur Gallery.
Jessica was an ATA archival and curatorial intern. She received her MA from the Dept. of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University, and now resides in Toronto.
Online Messaging Conversation occurred on September 2015 –
Jessica: So maybe we can begin by discussing why we decided on this particular combination of texts.
Diana: Ok well from my end, something about the deeply personal nature of the texts spoke to me. It wasn’t until after we each went over our shortlist that we found the overlapping themes. And these topics have been on my mind recently. The topics of family and diaspora and identity, that is. Something about the amount of time I’ve spent living on my own away from family has led me to wanting to reflect on that a lot.
J: Yeah these texts were incredibly personal but each one spoke to broader structural dynamics as well. And as was the case with you, there were definitely parts that personally resonated with me — like when Larissa Lai rehearses the line “We didn’t come here so you could be like this (i.e. queer),” she is accurate in her contention that it is one that “so many of us have heard” before (“us” being, of course, the progeny of first-generation immigrants). I’ve heard it, maybe you’ve heard it, and it wasn’t necessarily always being directed at us.
I think what most interested me about this particular combination of texts is also encapsulated by that line. Lai, Susan Stewart, and Peter Morin are all trying to negotiate their conflicting and often irreconcilable fidelities to various traditions, familial structures, sexual practices, etc.
D: Yes, there is a tension there that they are trying to work through between their familial duties, staying true to themselves and working within a world that excludes them. And the artists that Lai writes about, as well as Lai herself, Stewart and Morin seem to be, in one way or another, outsiders. Or trying to live outside what bell hooks called the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.
J: Oh the WSCP definitely sucks in a big ass way: even once you’ve given a name to it and recognized the incredible extent to which it structures even the most banal parts of your life, that doesn’t necessarily fortify you against its reach. It was sad, though definitely not surprising, to read for instance in Susan’s essay that Suzo Hickey, an artist whose work explicitly takes as its subject of critique patriarchal standards of motherhood, nevertheless feels like a failure for not being able to meet those standards: “she doesn’t feel like she is doing anything right.”
D: It’s designed to make everybody feel like they are not good enough for it — of course — everybody except those who were actually born fitting its narrow parameters of what it is to be normal or right. And it kills me how families, the people who are supposed to love you and support you, can fail so spectacularly at this because they are more concerned with upholding these damaging values than they are with raising strong, kind individuals who can think for themselves. And it’s not like we are obsessed with the WSCP, but it’s everywhere! And people will go out of their way to deny deny deny rather than just stop and think of how they may be complicit.
And like in Hickey’s case, the lack of support for certain lifestyles is so damaging to all of us. Just because we didn’t all choose to be engineers or IT specialists doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to be there for our families and provide them with the best life we can.
J: The proposition that alternative familial structures can facilitate well-being for their members just as well as — or possibly even better than — say, the nuclear family, can seem like such a “well, duh” thing. But it also often isn’t. These three essays are so instructive for thinking through the lived complexities (and often pain) of navigating alternative avenues in a WSCP, because they all direct attention to the negative affects that can circulate around such an enterprise, and the extent to which these affects can burden or even outright prevent its realization.
Again, I found Lai’s rehearsal of the line “We didn’t come here so you could be like this” fascinating, not least because I’ve also been the object of its address. It is an accusation of betrayal, and the accusation isn’t actually completely inappropriate or inaccurate.
D: As much as parents want their children to live their best lives, I can see how it can be difficult for them to understand their child’s choices, especially if they spent so much of their adult lives sacrificing parts of themselves to raise them. But when you’re a child, it’s painful to stick out because of who your parents are (if you only have one parent, if you have two moms or if you are being raised by a struggling artist) and all you might want to do is be normal. So it feels like a lose-lose situation. Families are still families, no matter how unconventional and they are all composed of separate humans experiencing life in a parallel, not identical way. And these humans might all be broken in their own ways throughout their lives.
“We didn’t come here so you could be like this,” in the eyes of the person speaking it, might be meant to be interpreted as “we didn’t want you to suffer how we’ve suffered” but it’s hard to take it like that when you know you can’t be any other way and still be happy. So that delicate balance fascinates me, which is why I am interested in finding out about how other people experience it and live through it.
J: Yeah, and I think the Peter Morin essay provides an illuminating (and incredibly lovely) counterpoint to the Lai and Stewart essays, which meditate on the frustrations, pain, and awkwardness of disentangling oneself from various traditions — traditions structured, in both cases, by localized iterations of patriarchy. Here is an individual whose relation to Family is defined by longing — for real people who are either rarely proximate or no longer around, and for a facility with a heritage that may not have been so well-documented and thus easily recovered.
D: The part that I related to the most in that essay was the part where he talks about how his family took turns housing his grandmother. I remember my mom telling me that this or that uncle or aunt were taking them to their house for a certain period of time before it was somebody else’s turn. They would pool money to pay for medicine and other expenses, and since it would have been too expensive to hire a nurse to take care of them this was the solution. They spent their time living with each of their children and with their grandchildren. I missed out on a lot of that because my family lived in a different country, so we would only visit during the summers.
It was also refreshing to be reminded that not all aspects of family can be damaging, and that there are traditions which are useful and important to pass on. I also enjoyed the parts that talk specifically about the photo and its frame. When you belong to a community or family that has spent so long moving around, certain objects will hold so much power over your memory. I particularly loved this: “So, I too am responsible for stories” because I don’t think he sees it as a burden, but an honour. To have a history and to pass it on to the next generation.
J: There are definitely traditions that are useful and important to pass on! This is perhaps particularly the case for Morin, who is Tahltan — to preserve and sustain specific traditions is to refuse and to fortify against an historically institutionalized project of colonial erasure.
It seems like we have all taken up the job of attempting to dismantle the damage done by hundreds of years of destruction, in our own ways. I’m thankful to grunt for informing so much of my thinking in this respect. Working with the archives was an amazing educational experience, especially when it came to contemporary First Nations art and Performance art. So it wasn’t just the people I met along the way.
J: Yes! Although I met you, Olga, Kendra, Venge, and Dan at grunt, and you’re all still my besties.
Download the 30th Anniversary eBook here.