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Spark Artist Talks

Free and open to the public, Spark Artist Talks are casual lunch-hour conversations, presentations, and talks on the third Thursday of each month from 12:15-1pm. Spark features emerging Indigenous artists with diverse art practices ranging from carving to spoken-word, and from photography to ceramics. Though Spark Talks were long held at the Native Education College, due to the COVID-19 pandemic they will be hosted online until further notice.

Did you miss or want to revisit a Spark Talk? Click here for some recordings of past Spark Talks!

Past Spark Talks:

Spark Artist Talk feat. Emily Critch
Thursday, March 17th 2022, 12:15-1pm
Online via Zoom

Emily Critch is a Mi’kmaw and settler artist, curator, and writer from Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk Territory (Bay of Islands, NL). She received her BFA in Visual Arts from Memorial University of Newfoundland (2018). She has had solo exhibitions of her work at the Tina Dolter Gallery (Corner Brook, NL), Eastern Edge (St. John’s, NL), St. Michaels Printshop (St. John’s, NL), and Galerie Sans Nom (Moncton, NB). Her work has been included in several group exhibitions at the Grenfell Art Gallery (Corner Brook, NL), The Rooms (St. John’s, NL), and Hafnarborg (Hafnarfjörður, Iceland). Her art practice has been supported by ArtsNL, and has been the recipient of several awards including the Ellen Rusted Award for Print Media, the 2020 VANL Cox & Palmer Pivotal Point Grant, longlisted for the 2021 Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award, and the 2020-2021 Don Wright Scholarship at St. Michael’s Printshop. Her work has been featured in publications such as Riddle Fence, Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Visual Arts News. She is currently based in St. John’s, NL, working remotely as the Program Coordinator with the Indigenous Curatorial Collective / Collectif des commissaires autochtones, and the 2021-23 Adjunct Curator with the Owen’s Art Gallery.

Spark Artist Talk feat. Keysha Rivera
Thursday, February 17th 2022, 12:15-1pm
Online via Zoom

Keysha Rivera is an emerging artist of Taino Indigenous ancestry, living and working on Chitimacha, Houma, and Choctaw territory also known as New Orleans. Keysha uses different modes of textile making to reflect on Puerto Rican identity, migration, colonialism, and Puerto Rican futurism. Rivera is building anticolonial narratives by using crafts such as sewing to stitch together intergenerational experiences that act as a form of resistance to U.S. occupation in Puerto Rico.

Spark Artist Talk feat. Bridget Goerge (Nimkiinagwaagankwe)
Thursday, January 27th 2022, 12:15-1pm
Online via Zoom

Bridget George (Nimkiinagwaagankwe) is an Anishinaabe illustrator, children’s book author and graphic designer from Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. They are the author of the children’s book It’s a Mitig!, a dual-language book written to support families like theirs that are working to reclaim the Anishinaabeg language with their children. They recently were presented with the Periodical Marketers of Canada’s Indigenous Literature Award for It’s a Mitig!.

Spark Artist Instagram Takeover feat. Decolonize Springfield
November 14—20th, 2021
Online via grunt gallery’s Instagram account

@decolonizespringfield is a multi-nation collective of Indigenous women and two spirits from Turtle Island united by their passion for The Simpsons and memes that speak to their experiences.

Spark Artist Talk feat. Manuel Axel Strain
Thursday, October 21st 2021, 12:15-1pm
Online via Zoom

Manuel Axel Strain is a non-binary 2-Spirit artist with xʷməθkʷəyəm (Musqueam)/Simpcw/Syilx ancestry, based in the sacred homelands and waters of their Katzie and Kwantlen relatives. Although they attended Emily Carr University of Art + Design they prioritize Indigenous epistemologies through the embodied knowledge of their mother, father, siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents and ancestors. Creating artwork in collaboration with and reference to their relatives, their shared experiences become a source of agency that resonates through their work with performance, land, painting, sculpture, photography, video, sound and installation. Their artworks often envelop subjects in relation with ancestral and community ties, Indigeneity, labour, resource extraction, gender, Indigenous medicine and life forces. Strain uses their art practice to confront and undermine the imposed realities of colonialism. Proposing a new space beyond its oppressive systems of power. They have contributed work to Capture Photography Festival through Richmond Art Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery, and more distant places across Turtle Island.

Spark Artist Talk feat. Paige Pettibon
Thursday, May 20th, 2021, 12:15-1:00pm
Online via Zoom

Paige Pettibon (Black, Salish, White) is a Tacoma, Washington-based multidisciplinary artist. Her studio practice is to represent her diverse culture and to amplify the voices of people in her community.

Growing up, Pettibon’s parents fostered her exposure to art with support and encouragement. She attributes her success as an emerging artist to her community and family. Before COVID, she dedicated her time to  mentoring youth and families, and sharing her knowledge. Now, she tries to help at home by creating content and Zoom presentations for her community.

Currently, Pettibon is working on showing at the National Museum of the Native American for an online exhibit that showcases Afro-Indigenous artists across America. She has multiple collaborative projects that will be public in the coming months.

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk feat. Paul Gonzales
Thursday, April 15th, 2021, 12:15-1:00pm
Online via Zoom

Paulo Gonzales is a California desert born, Seattle-based photographer with a BFA in Photography from Seattle University. He has exhibited at Vachon Gallery, Photographic Center Northwest, and has had work presented in the Short Run Comix and Arts Festival. Much of Paulo’s work is in zines and self published books. His work explores his Mexican heritage, housing/structure, and memory. *he/him⠀

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk feat. Ocean Hyland / shḵwen̓/ ts;simtelot
Thursday, March 18th, 2021, 12:15-1:00pm
Online via Zoom

“shḵwen̓ kwi en sna, chen íp’is kwi kwshámin ts;simtelot. chen tína7 tl’a átsnach úxwumixw.
As an indigenous artist, I continuously strive to deepen my understanding of my art practices and what that means to my culture and community. I paint, draw, carve/engrave, and weave. I also study the Squamish language and ethnobotany.
I love working for my community and I enjoy collaborating with artists who are committed to enriching the communities they live in. I love creating art that feeds off of reciprocal relationships. I am constantly learning how to navigate what it means to be an indigenous artist upholding the values of my community as well as the values held in creating art in the contemporary world. I will continue to strive to carry these tools and knowledge the best I can to share as those before me always have.” *she/her⠀
Spark: Fireside Artist Talk feat. Ovila Mailhot
Thursday, October 22nd, 2020, 12:15-1:00pm
Online via Zoom

Ovila is a Coast Salish artist originally from Seabird Island, BC. Carrying roots from Nlaka’pamux & Stó:lō Nation, his work utilizes elements of Salish art that have been passed down through generations. Believing that carrying on the tradition of this work is necessary for his culture and for healing, Ovila adds to a cultural continuum working primarily in graphic design. *he/him ⠀

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk feat. Roxanne Charles
Thursday, February 20th, 2020, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Roxanne Charles of Semiahmoo First Nation is a cultural historian employing means of visual representation, oral history, and ceremony. Methods which have been utilized by Semiahma People for thousands of years. Roxanne holds two undergraduate degrees from Kwantlen Polytechnic University and has recently completed her Master of Fine Arts at Simon Fraser University. Roxanne’s work directly responds to a troubling colonial present and documents a variety of issues that reflect her life experience such as spirituality, identity, urbanization, food security, resource extraction, trauma, and various forms of systemic violence.

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk feat. Tawahum
Thursday, January 30th, 2020, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Łutselk’e Dene, Plains Cree, Two-Spirit, Nonbinary poet, Tawahum Bige resides on unceded Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish territory. Published in Red Rising, Prairie Fire, EVENT, and Poetry is Dead Magazines, Tawahum’s poetry makes vulnerable the process of growing, resisting and being a hopeless sadboy on occupied Turtle Island. They’ve performed on stages including Talking Stick Festival, Verses Festival of Spoken Word, and have completed the first ever Indigenous Spoken Word residency at the Banff Centre in 2018, with their BA in Creative Writing. They invite you to join them on this journey that is both emotionally personal and deeply political.
*he/they pronouns

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk feat. Kelsey Sparrow
Thursday, November 21st, 2019, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Kelsey Sparrow is a multidisciplinary artist – Musqueam on her Father’s side of the family and White Fish River on her Mother’s. A graduate from Langara with a Diploma in Fine Arts and currently a student at ECUAD, she is working across disciplines with a focus on ceramics. Land/territory, family history, and the positionality of Indigenous identity in pop culture and academia are themes that emerge in her work. Most recently she was featured in the exhibits ‘indigenous artists only’ at Crescent Beach Pop-up Gallery and ‘Staring in Coast Salish’ at Arbutus Gallery. *she/her pronouns

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk feat. Jordana Luggi
Thursday, October 17th, 2019, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Jordana Luggi is a Dakelh & Wet’suwet’en photographer from the Stellat’en First Nation in BC’s northern interior. She graduated from Emily Carr University with a BFA in Photography in 2014 and currently works as the Education Curator at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art. While her earlier works utilized traditional materials in conjunction with contemporary methods of image-making, her practice now explores techniques in traditional photographic portraiture with a focus on Indigenous subjects and stories.
*she/her pronouns

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 26 feat. Atheana Picha
Thursday, September 19, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

From her experiences growing up and learning about her culture, Atheana Picha works within the tradition of Coast Salish art to depict the natural environment using vivid colour palettes and gracefully balanced design elements.

Picha is a Coast Salish multimedia artist from the Kwantlen First Nation currently working with ceramics, carving, and painting. A two-time recipient of the YVR Art Foundation Emerging Artist Scholarship, she will be returning to Langara College in the fall to continue learning how to carve from Squamish artist Aaron Nelson-Moody, and to further her experience in printmaking processes. As the youngest artist to participate in the Vancouver Mural Festival in 2018, Picha continues to work in public and community art. She/her pronouns

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 25 feat. Kali Spitzer
Thursday, April 18, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Image: INDIGENOUS MOTHERHOOD (Erena and Padi), 2018

Kali Spitzer is Kaska Dena from Daylu (Lower Post, British Columbia) on her father’s side and Jewish from Transylvania, Romania on her mother’s side. She is from the Yukon and grew up on the West Coast of British Columbia in Canada on unceded Coast Salish Territory. She is a trans disciplinary artist who mainly works with film — 35mm, 120 and wet plate collodion process using an 8×10 camera. Her work includes portraits, figure studies, and photographs of her people, ceremonies, and culture. Her work has been exhibited and recognized internationally. Spitzer recently received a Reveal Indigenous Art Award from the Hnatyshyn Foundation and was featured in the National Geographic and Photo Life in 2018. *She/her pronouns

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 24 feat. Alanna Edwards
Thursday, Mar 21, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Alanna Edwards is a multi-disciplinary artist of Mi’gmaq and settler descent whose work,
through the use of humour, explores themes of belonging, authenticity, and the
everyday. Interested in more than just making “funny native art” Alanna interrogates
what makes us laugh, why, and how humour is used as a strategy for resistance. Working
also with video, she explores familial relationships and the myths and stories we pass
down through generations. She has a BA in Political Science and Gender, Sexuality,
and Women’s Studies from SFU, a diploma in Fine Arts from Langara College, and is
currently finishing her BFA at Kwantlen University. *She/her pronouns

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 23 feat. Anne & Jeane Riley
Thursday, Feb 21, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Jeane and Anne Riley are Dene/Cree twins and will be presenting their talk, Radical Softening: the practice of art and social work, speaking about their individual and collective practice(s) since graduating from the Native Education College where they both received a certificate in the Family and Community Counseling Program. The title of their talk is inspired by their most recent adventure together as participants in the Dene Nahjo Moose Hide Tanning Art residency this past September at the Banff Centre. As Dene twins they will share how the residency has impacted their ongoing practices in art, social work, and twindian dreams and conversations.

Anne Riley is an Indigiqueer multidisciplinary artist living as an uninvited Slavey Dene/Cree/German guest from Fort Nelson First Nation on the unceceded Territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlí̓lwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-waututh) Nations. Her work explores different ways of being and becoming, touch, and Indigeneity. She received her BFA from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012 and in 2016 she graduated from the Native Education College with a Certificate in Family and Community Counselling. She has exhibited both in the United States and Canada. Currently, she is working on a public art project commissioned by the City of Vancouver with her collaborator T’uy’tanat Cease Wyss. Wyss and Riley’s project- A Constellation of Remediation consists of Indigenous Remediation Gardens planted throughout the city decolonizing and healing the dirt back to soil. *she/her pronouns

Jeane Riley is from Fort Nelson First Nation and is of Dene/Cree/German ancestry. She currently works and lives as an uninvited guest on the unceded, traditional and ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish People, specifically the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlí̓lwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-waututh) Nations. Jeane attended the Native Education College and received a certificate in the Family and Community Counselling Program in 2013. Jeane then went on to complete her Masters in Social Work at The University of British Columbia and currently works at BC Women’s Hospital as a social worker. Jeane also works as a community based researcher and is currently working on a project regarding the child welfare system. *she/her pronouns

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 22 feat. Krystle Coughlin
Thursday, Jan 17th, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

I am a Selkirk First Nation visual artist residing in New Westminster, BC. I hold a B.F.A in Visual Art (2015); and a B.A. in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice from UBC (2013). I am currently an M.F.A. candidate at Simon Fraser University’s school of contemporary arts. My artistic practice blends different materials, methodologies, and symbols to create conceptual works. I am influenced by Indigenous feminism, post-structuralism, anti-colonialism, and activism. My work often addresses contemporary issues faced by urban Indigenous identity politics and personal experiences. I seek to challenge misconceptions of Indigeneity and Feminisms through visual mediums. My work employs Northwest First Nations design elements and practices with unconventional art materials. This year I was a finalist for both the RBC painting competition and the Philip Lind Prize for contemporary photography.

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 21 feat. Chandra Melting Tallow
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Chandra Melting Tallow is an interdisciplinary artist, film-maker, and musician of mixed ancestry from the Siksika Nation. In 2017 they produced a short film, composed a live soundtrack and an accompanying performance for Unsettling Colonial Gender Boundaries as part of Queer Arts Fest entitled, Rapture of Roses. They have directed, edited and filmed a number of music videos and experimental films including co-editing Coney Island Baby, a short film collaboration with Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, Jeneen Frei Njootli and Tania Willard in addition to composing the soundtrack. Common themes throughout their practice involve confronting ghosts of intergenerational trauma and their relationship to the body and utilizing humour to subvert oppressive structures of power and surrealism. *They/Them pronouns

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 20 feat. Vi Levitt
Thursday, October 18, 2018, 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

As a composer and producer Vi defines themselves as a ‘mixed race bastard musician in the intersections of tradition and contemporary’. As a burgeoning musician based out of Vancouver, their music features influences from the UK underground scene, their Jewish and Metis heritage, Classical Western and South Asian music, and a variety of artists around the globe. Having worked with Goth DJs, Folk singers and Jazz artists alike, Vi’s work focuses on creating a sound that merges the sounds that define their life and the futures they wish to live to see. As a relative newcomer to the Vancouver music scene, Vi has throughout their career been: a singer-songwriter, a choral composer, a classical musician, a member of the ‘New Wave of Indigenous Electronica’ and things in between. Rhyme and song, Vi’s work has been published in Matrix Magazine, and recently they took part in the New Constellations Digital Mentorship program. *They/them pronouns

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 19 feat. Whess Harman
Thursday, April 19, 2018, 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue


Whess Harman was born in Prince Rupert, BC and is from the Carrier Witat, Lake Babine Nation. Harman predominantly works in print, illustration, beading, and text. They completed their BFA at Emily Carr University in 2014 and received the Early Career Development grant from the BC Arts Council in 2016. Their work has been shown in recent group exhibitions such as the Language as Puncture show at Gallery 101 in Ottawa, ON and the Pushing Boundaries show at the Cityscape Community Artspace in North Vancouver, BC. *they/them/their pronouns.

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 18 feat. Levi Nelson
Thursday, March 15, 2018, 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue



Levi Nelson is from the Lil’wat Nation located in Mount Currie, British Columbia. He is currently in his third year at Emily Carr University of Art + Design majoring in visual arts, with a focus on painting. Levi favours the medium of oil paint and has most recently taken an interest in print making, via silkscreen and lithography. His work can be described as contemporary First Nations art; fusing traditional North West Coast shape and form-line with conventional colours and composition. This past year Levi has exhibited his work in the Emily Carr University annual Aboriginal Art Exhibition, the Museum of Anthropology, the Talking Stick Festival and in the Pushing Boundaries show at North Vancouver City Art Scape.

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 17 feat. Raven John
Thursday, February 15, 2018, 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue



Raven John (Exwetlaq) is a First Nations, feminist, and queer artist from the Coast Salish and Stó:lō Nation in the Lower Mainland. Her work encompasses both her past and identity in many ways through mere existence, defiance, and the examination of colonialist, patriarchal and classist systems of value in art. She does this by activating space through sculpture, installation, and surreality. John is a recent graduate from both the Native Education College (Northwest Jewelry Arts Program) and Emily Carr University of Art and Design (BFA in Visual Arts and Social Practice And Community Engagement).


Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 16 feat. Lacie Burning
Thursday, January 18, 2018, 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue



Lacie Burning is a Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) and Onondaga (patrilineally) artist and curator raised on Six Nations of the Grand River located in Southern Ontario. They work in photography, video, installation, and sculpture and are currently in their third year of studies in the Visual Fine Arts program at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Having come from a culturally and politically grounded upbringing, their work focuses on politics of Indigeneity and identity from a Haudenosaunee perspective.



Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 15 feat. Madelaine McCallum
Thursday, November 16, 2017, 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue



Madelaine McCallum graces the stage with her gentle yet powerful presence and takes her audience through an extraordinary journey of transformation and healing. Through dance and the spiritual teachings of her father, Madelaine has found a powerful way to share her culture. Her life story is all about discovering “the Fire Within.” When she left her home community her goal was to break the unhealthy cycles of addiction. Her story of survival leaves no one indifferent. She tells the story of how it took many years to break the cycle of violence and broken relationships to emerge changed, reborn, and aptly named Strong Earth Women.

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 13 feat. Cole Pauls
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue



Cole Pauls is a Tahltan comic artist, illustrator and printmaker hailing from Haines Junction (Yukon Territory) with a BFA in Illustration from Emily Carr University. Residing in Vancouver, Pauls focuses on his two comic series, the first being Pizza Punks: a self contained comic strip about punks eating pizza, the other is called Dakwäkãda Warriors, which is about two Southern Tutchone Earth Protectors saving the earth from evil pioneers and cyborg sasquatches using language revitalization.



Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 12 feat. Anchi Lin
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Anchi Lin is an artist of Taiwanese Atayal heritage who lives and works in Vancouver. Her work negotiates and interfaces with concepts such as language, identity, gender and cultural norms. Her heritage has served as a catalyst for her exploration of these concepts. Lin received a BFA in Visual Art from Simon Fraser University School for the Contemporary Arts. She was the recipient of the Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery Emerging Artist Award and the Bob Rennie Undergraduate Award in Visual Art. She has exhibited at several galleries in both Vancouver, and Taipei.

Image: Anchi Lin, Tattoo on Faces, video performance (still), 2014. Courtesy of the artist.


Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 11 feat. Sarah Shamash
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Sarah Shamash is a Vancouver based media artist and PhD candidate in the Interdisciplinary studies program at UBC. Influenced by cinema, her experimental projects typically explore identities and geographies as personal, political, feminine and dynamic, while critiquing and subverting fixed, colonial and hegemonic demarcations of the body, territory, and space. She is currently teaching a film studies course she designed on Latin American cinema at UBC and programming films for the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival. Her work as an artist, researcher, educator, and programmer can be understood as interconnected and whole; they all revolve around a passion for cinema.


Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 10 feat. Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers is a filmmaker, writer, and actor. She is Blackfoot from the Kainai First Nation (Blood Reserve) as well as Sámi from northern Norway and resides on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the  xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Tsleil-Waututh, and Skwxwú7mesh peoples. She is a recipient of the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award and a Kodak Image Award for her work as an emerging filmmaker. Her short documentary, Bihttoš, was included in the TIFF Top Ten Canadian Shorts, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, and was also nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and a Leo Award for Best Short Documentary. She is an alumni of the Berlinale Talent Lab and the Hot Docs Accelerator Lab.


Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 9 feat. Dusty Hagerüd
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Dusty Hagerud Sept 13 2015

Dusty Hagerüd has been obsessed with animated objects, moving illustration and storytelling from birth. From Ktunaxa, English and Norwegian heritage, myth, legend and fairytale is fuel to his creative fire. Creative director and founder of a company who designs and fabricates puppets, Color Sound Lab, Hagerud has worked in puppetry for over 18 years in western Canada.  In theatre, film and television, his work with marionettes, hand and rod puppets, bunraku and shadow puppets has enabled him to apply modern approaches to a tradition that stems from one of the earliest forms of storytelling.

Dusty was a recipient of a 2009 Leo Award for Anachronism Pictures’ The Anachronism and 2015 Jessie Award for Monster Theatre’s production of The Little Prince. He is one of the co-founders of the Vancouver International Puppet Festival, which had it’s inaugural debut this past October to a resounding success.


Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 8 feat. JB the First Lady
Thursday, November 17, 2016

Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue


Jerilynn Webster, aka JB the First Lady, is a member of the Nuxalk & Onondaga Nations. She is a Vancouver-based female hip hop/spoken word artist, beat-boxer, cultural dancer and youth educator. “using [her] words to go upwards/not backwards.” These are lyrics that describe what JB tries to convey in her music. JB has performed at over 500 hip hop shows, anywhere from auditoriums to Annual General Meetings for community organizations. She is spreading the words of empowerment & the perspective of urban indigenous women in Canada. Hip Hop is her chosen avenue of expression. JB’s music is lyrically motivated with depth, meaning, and positivity like none other. She has released 4 albums to date, “Indigenous Love” (2008); “Get Ready, Get Steady” (2011) and “Indigenous Girl Lifestyle” (2014) and the 2015 IMA winning album “Indigenized by Entertribal” in collaboration with Chief Rock.

JB is the 2015 winner of the Indigenous Music Award for Best Album Cover. She is a 5-time nominated artist at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards, the only female to ever be nominated for Best Hip Hop Album (twice), and has been nominated previously for Best Pop Album & Best Album Cover.

JB wants young indigenous women to feel proud, inspired, and to see someone on stage that looks like them; representing indigenous women in mainstream media.


Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 7 feat. Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

1597737_10153079247053983_4875088143660575472_oRodrigo Hernandez-Gomez was born in the valley of Anahuac (Mexico City) and raised near the Xitle, he is of Nahua/Mexican descent and currently lives in unceeded Coast Sailish Territory (Vancouver). He graduated in 2010 from the MFA program at York University and in 2013 was a co-organizer of the Decolonial Aesthetics Symposium in Toronto. His installations, new-media work, wearable art pieces and performative projects have been presented internationally, including contributions to the Hemispheric Encuentro in Sao Paolo, Brazil the National Museum of Art, La Paz, Bolivia and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto. Rodrigo is a founding member of AYOTZI 68; a cultural organization for supporting hemispheric indigenous sharing through anti-capitalist strategies and combining skills from the fields of contemporary art, radical education and food sovereignty movements. As a member of La Lleca Collectiva (Mexico City), E-fagia LA media arts (Toronto), AYOTZI 68 (Vancouver), and in his ongoing collaborations with other artists, Rodrigo speaks with actions in his commitment to a multi-linear artistic practice that is critical, intellectual and collective.


Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 6 feat. Bracken Hanuse Corlett
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Bracken Hanuse Corlett is an interdisciplinary artist hailing from the Wuikinuxv and Klahoose Nations. He began working in theatre and performance 16 years ago, before transitioning to a practice that fuses digital-media, audio-visual performance, writing, painting, sculpture and drawing. His work combines traditional Indigenous iconography and history with new media and concepts that exist within cyclical space.

He is the co-founder of the Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival. Over the last five years he has performed across the country as a member of the audio-visual collective Skookum Sound System and currently in the DJ/VJ duo See Monsters. He is a graduate of the En’owkin Centre of Indigenous Art and went to Emily Carr University of Art and Design for a B.F.A. in Visual Arts. He has also studied Northwest Coast art, carving and design from acclaimed Heiltsuk artists Bradley Hunt and his sons Shawn Hunt and Dean Hunt.

Some of his notable exhibitions, performances and screenings have been at grunt gallery, the Museum of Anthropology, Unit PITT Projects, Vancouver International Film Festival (Vancouver), Three Walls Gallery (Chicago), Ottawa International Animation Festival, SAW Gallery (Ottawa), Royal BC Museum, Open Space (Victoria), Winnipeg Art Gallery, Urban Shaman (Winnipeg), Sâkêwêwak Artists’ Collective, Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina), Atlantic Film Festival, Tidal Force – Independent Media Arts Alliance (Halifax), Art Mur, Sommets du Cinéma D’animation (Montreal), ImagineNative, Toronto International Film Festival, Music Gallery (Toronto).

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 5 feat. Amanda Strong
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue


Amanda Strong is a Michif filmmaker, media artist and stop motion director currently based out of the unceded Coast Salish territory also known as Vancouver. She is the owner and director of Spotted Fawn Productions, an animation and media-based studio creating short films, commercial projects and workshops. A labour of love, Amanda’s productions collaborate with a diverse and talented group of artists putting emphasis on support and training women and Indigenous artists.

Amanda’s work explores ideas of blood memory and Indigenous ideology. Her background in photography, illustration and media extend into her award-winning stop motion animations. Her films Indigo and Mia’ challenge conventional structures of storytelling in cinema and have screened internationally, most notably at Cannes, TIFF, VIFF, and Ottawa International Animation Festival. Amanda has received numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and the NFB. In 2013, Amanda was the recipient K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Film and Video, and most recently the recipient of the Vancouver Mayors Arts Awards for Emerging Film and Media Artist. Amanda is currently working on her latest short animation Four Faces of the Moon for CBC Short Docs. The story is told in four chapters, exploring the reclamation of language and Nationhood, while peeling back the layers of Canada’s colonial history, revealing Canada’s extermination agenda on the buffalo.


Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 4 feat. Cease Wyss & Hans Winkler
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

kaho.5.1[1] copy
Archeological evidence suggests that Hawaiians came to the island of Kaho‘olawe as early as 400 A.D., and settled in small fishing villages along the island’s coast. For hundreds of years, Kaho‘olawe served as a navigational center, the site of an adze quarry, an agricultural center, and a site for religious and cultural ceremonies.

But as modern times rolled in, Kaho‘olawe began to undergo a harsh evolution. It would be used as a penal colony to exile prisoners from the general populace, for sheep and cattle ranching, until World War II when the island was occupied by the US military from 1942 – 1990 as a training zone for bomb testing and air warfare technology.

Sustained protest by the Hawaiian population and eventual litigation forced an end to the bombing, and after a 10-year period of artillery removal, control was transferred back to the state of Hawaii in 2003. The island is currently uninhabitable and accessible only to Native Polynesians, strictly within the context of cultural or spiritual purposes, restoration, planting work, and re-vegetation.

Hans Winkler gained access to the restricted island in 2013 and in 2014 Cease Wyss joined him to explore the possibilities of artistic projects. In this talk they discuss their experiences and plans for their projects. Wyss will discuss her project “Kanaka Ranch to Kaho’olawe Island: Ephemeral Canoe Art” which explores similarities between Hawaiian and West Coast BC canoe cultures, while Winkler will present “Zero Zone” his mapping project of the island.

T’uy’t’tanat Cease Wyss (Skwxwu7mesh/Sto:Lo//Hawaiian/Swiss). My work spans over two and a half decades, working with artists and communities on projects that utilize technology and community engagement as a means of sharing stories. Web-based works like Picto-Prophecy (2012) – with En’owkin Centre’s Ullus Collective – and public art such as Talking Poles (2009) – Surrey Cultural Capital Art Award – & the Stanley Park Environmental Art Project (2009) all take site specific inspirations and the stories of our past that inform us in the present, while looking towards the future and what part we play in the timeline of our ancestry. Culture and spirituality feed my soul and fuel my creativity. Throughout my life I have been training my spirit to reconnect to my ancestors and bring the stories back to my family and community that we lost through colonization and the Residential Schools. Whether I bring communities together through interactivity like geocaching games or building food security programs the art I engage in plays a significant role.

Hans Winkler (b. 1955) is an artist and curator who lives and works in Berlin and New York. Since 1999, he has been Visiting Artist and Lecturer at the San Francisco Art Institute. Winkler’s art projects include “The Escape of the Iceman/Ötzi” (2008) in collaboration with the Department of Archaeology at EURAC, Bolzano and the Museum of Modern Art; “Held Saga” (2005) at Adademie der Kuenste, Berlin. Recently co-curated exhibitions include “California Conceptual Art” (2010) with Paul Kos and Tony Labat at ar/ge kunst in Bolzano, Italy; and “legal/illegal” (2004) with Helen Adkins and Kai Bauer at NGBK, Berlin.

> link to write-up on Media Democracy Project, written by Sydney Ball


Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 3 feat. Larissa Healey
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Larissa Healey-1

Larissa Healey (aka Gurl23) is an Ojibway mural artist and an inspirational leader for street youth drop-in cultural programs like the Museum of Anthropology’s Native Youth Program, one of Canada’s longest running First Nations programs.

Larissa’s artwork has been seen at The Vancouver Art Gallery, The Bill Reid Gallery, Power Plant Gallery, The National Gallery of Canada and The Museum of Anthropology, to name a few.  You might also recognize her work from underneath the Granville Street Bridge at the entrance to Granville Island, among many other places.


Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 2 feat. Mark Igloliorte
February 18, 2016
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

Igloliorte15marki2010UntitledDiptychMark Igloliorte, our featured speaker for February, is an artist who was born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and grew up in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. His artistic work is primarily painting and drawing. He has exhibited in group and solo shows across Canada.

Recently, Igloliorte has participated in national and international exhibitions such as Beat Nation, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC; Le Nouveau Pleinairisme, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Québec, QC; drift, (Solo), curator Ryan Rice, The Toronto Free Gallery, Toronto, ON; and The Québec Triennial 2011: The Work Ahead of Us, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal QC.

He has been the recipient of a number of awards and grants including the Lillian Vineberg Award in Painting and Drawing, The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Visual Arts Grant, and a Canada Council for the Arts Emerging Artist Grant. Igloliorte is represented by Gallerie Donald Browne.

As an Inuk, Igloliorte’s work draws from his Labradorian background and communities of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Hopedale. He has been recognized as a Labrador Inuit Role Model by the Nunatsiavut Government. In the summer of 2008 and 2009 he worked with several groups of Inuit Youth delivering painting and drawing workshops funded in part by The National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy (NAYSPS).

He holds both a Bachelor of Education (Intermediate/Secondary) from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Bachelor of Fine Art, Major in Fine Art from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and a Master’s of Fine Art, Studio Art – Painting and Drawing from Concordia University School of Graduate Studies.

Igloliorte is an Assistant Professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.


Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 1 feat. Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo
January 21, 2106
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue

osvaldo image

Vancouver-based artist Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo explores issues around collective memory, historical trauma, and cultural identity in relation to the violence that occurred against civilians during the 12-year Civil War in El Salvador.

A series of mixed media drawings depict surreal and vibrant scenes filled with creatures in uniform; fragmented bodies tense with sinew and muscle; and carefully drawn figures with faces partially obscured or obliterated. Iconography sourced from North American vernacular culture, Pre-Columbian mythology, and Salvadoran popular folklore is amalgamated to explore the role of non-linear storytelling expressed in mythic form.

Artist Bio:

Born in El Salvador, Castillo immigrated to Canada in 1989 at the age of 11. He attended the Ontario College of Art and Design (Toronto 1998-2001) and received an MFA from Concordia University (2004-2007). A previous resident of Montreal, Castillo relocated to Vancouver in 2013.

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