The fourth installation of Pet Peeves is here! Can you believe it? Join us as grunt’s Gallery Assistant, Hedy Wood, continues her investigation of the grunt gallery staff by interviewing their pets.
Pets prefer a Scottish accent, period. You can say, “Whooooooo’s got those dog pants? Whooo’s got those PANTS?!” until your head expands like a melon, but really, it’ll get you nowhere. Likewise, “Where’s that pretty kitty cat CAT?!” Totally useless.
No, if you want to befriend any pet, any time, a simple Scottish burr is the way to go.
Example: “Och, aye, what a bonnie wee laddie/lassie ye are.” Boom, done, they melt like butter.
I was putting this theory to the test when I went to visit Kate Barry, Freddie and Moe. Not that I was exactly in the greatest mood for belting out a bunch of fake Scottish lingo, due to the heatwave, fifth-floor apartment and broken elevator, but I was doing my best.
Now Kate Barry is a bit newer to grunt, her job title is Screen Coordinator for the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen, and I have to say she is one of the few interviews that I’ve done where a refreshing SNACK was provided. I think other pet owners might want to have a little think about that…
Freddie greeted me when I arrived at the apartment. I was sweaty, breathless, and talking a bit too much about arthritis. He was actually so adorable, my Scottish theory went right out of my mind.
Me: Oh hi Kate. Now who’s THIS? Is that the Freddie dog?! The little Freddie dog DOG! Whooooo’s the pupparazi? Well, that’s you, yes it is!
So, as you can see, pretty much a total failure of interview technique AND nothing Scottish whatsoever. I have to give Freddie extreme credit for rolling with all this nonsense in a very gentlemanly way.
Freddie: Why hello there Hedy, how charming to meet you, please, have a seat. Yes, that’s good, right there. I will jump up and sit right beside you. What could be more pleasant? Well, a small dog snack would really make this a perfect moment, wouldn’t it?
(I found out that Freddie, who looked perfect to me, is on a doggy diet. Some cruel and unusual vet has decided that Freddie needs to lose 3 pounds!)
Me: So, Freddie, how did you and Kate meet? How did she get so lucky?!
Freddie: Well, actually, I was on an online pet dating site, looking for a positive change in my relationships, and that’s how I met Kate. I didn’t know at the time that I was to become part of this beautiful, blended family, here with Moe. I LOVE Moe so much.
At this point in the interview, Kate did a little cat conjuring magic with a can of tuna, and Moe appeared from his upstairs man cave.
Me: Hello Moe! You are a CATLY cat!! Who’s got those whiskers?!!
(As you can see I had by this point pretty much gone completely cuckoo because Freddie and Moe are just so exactly the kind of pets anyone would love to have. Moe is a large luxurious tabby, and Freddie a perfect mix of Shitsu and Poodle, what’s not to love?
Moe: Are you by any chance here to interview me about that dog? Maybe you would like to talk about my perfect lovely life before SHE brought HIM home?! Everything was perfect until he came along, and now he just LOVES me so much all the time! He’s all LOVE LOVE LOVE every day, all day! What is wrong with him?! It gets on my very last nerve. Honestly, why exactly does he live here? We were FINE before he came along. AND he’s getting fat.
Moe: And what kind of breed is he?! A Shit Poo, that’s what I call it, heh, heh, heh…..get it? Shitsu and Poodle.
Me: Oh………dear……well, now Moe, surely there must be some benefit to having Freddie around? He seems like a very sweet dog to me. Surely you must have gotten fond of him over these last couple of years?
(I think it was at about this point in the interview that Freddie jumped out of his chair and ran over to lick Mo’s nose. That sent me into cuteness overload, and I swear I saw a tiny Cheshire grin on Moe’s face.)
Moe: There! You see? That’s just a perfect example of what he’s like! LOVE! Barf! If he wasn’t so darn cute, I’m sure I would have killed him by now….little cutie….little shitty poo poo….
I began to sense a bit of a game or pattern going on between these two. Much as Moe repeatedly stressed his general loathing of Freddie, I could see a real bond and genuine caring between them. This, combined with the gracious hosting by Kate, and the general ambience of warmth and happy pets and all the rest of it, began to annoy me. I ended my little visit as politely as possible and went on down the five flights of stairs and out into the summer heat. Always easier going downhill, that’s what I say….
The thing is, I was thwarted once again in my quest for pet peeves. My quest which had in actual fact, mainly become about discovering bad behaviour ANYWHERE at all, on the part of any of the grunt staff, or their much loved pets! Everything was just a bit too peachy keen everywhere I went, and, as Moe would say, it was getting on my very last nerve!
#callresponse, co-organized by Tarah Hogue, Maria Hupfield and Tania Willard, began at grunt gallery in 2016. The exhibition has toured across Canada and the US for two years and recently came to a close at TRUCK Contemporary Art and Stride Gallery in Calgary. To mark the end of the tour, grunt’s curatorial interns, Whess Harman and Nellie Lamb, chatted with Tarah about #callresponse and the roles of collaboration and mentorship in her practice.
Ursula Johnson with Charlene Aleck and Cease Wyss performing at the #callresponse opening in 2016. Photo by Merle Addison.
NL: Can you start by briefly describing #callresponse?
TH: #callresponse takes as its starting point five projects that were commissioned by Indigenous women-identifying artists based across Canada and into the US. The invitations were extended to these artists in particular because they are all very much enmeshed in working with community in different ways and their practices are all quite diverse, ranging from performance to ceremony to new media. The context that we asked those initial five artists to respond to was around reconciliation but in a roundabout way. We thought about how the projects that these artists are already committed to working on have a really transformative capacity, and looked at that as a starting point in order to turn that settler-nation-state-to-Indigenous relation within reconciliation on its head. We then asked each of those artists to extend that invitation to a collaborator or respondent to create these dialogues between practices. We were thinking about this call and response structure, but the artists took that in so many different directions. Christi Belcourt and Isaac Murdoch decided to work together and position the land as their respondent, so there’s different degrees of collaboration or mentorship or response throughout the project.
WH: I was just reading over everything on the website again and the initial outset of how the project was described and, as an artist and someone at grunt now, it stood out so much how present these questions still are, not just as institutions but as artists. One of the questions I had about that is, how do you think institutions now are responding to this idea of reconciliation? Do you think that’s changed a lot or do you think #callresponse could just keep going until institutions responded in a meaningful way?
TH: [laughs]…until decolonization?
WH: [laughs] Yeah, until we achieve decolonization!
TH: That’s an interesting question because the experience of working with all of the institutions that we partnered with was very different and demonstrated where different organizations are in that relationship-building process. Like at Blackwood Gallery, we were in the context of an academic institution—they’re at the University of Toronto Mississauga—and part of what we did when we were there was to meet with university faculty and talk about their efforts to indigenize the academy, which is something that was a relatively new path for them at that time, or at least was new in terms of the university recognizing the work that Indigenous faculty were already doing in a systematic way. And then at a place like AKA Artist Run Centre in Saskatoon we were building upon work that they had already been doing within the community there, so it was really just about how we could give our resources over to the work that was already happening. I think that because the project doesn’t centre that settler-Indigenous relationship within reconciliation in the same way, that it could keep going on for a long time. Not that I don’t think that other projects that privilege that relationship aren’t important but it’s also like, who’s benefit is that for?
WH: It’s a heavy load on Indigenous artists. I feel, again speaking as an artist, being asked to do that, it’s like, I don’t have the answer and that’s what so many of these projects seem to frame like: “We’re going to have a reconciliation project and we’re going to have an answer!” But you are not! It’s going to be exhausting and I might be kicking and screaming by the time you’re finished.
TH: I asked Maria and Tania to work with me because they’re two people who I look up to immensely, and we further invited other artists who we looked up to immensely. A lot of the artist-respondent pairings had that aspect woven into it. Some artists chose to respond more directly to that context of reconciliation, like Christi and Isaac saying we’re not ready for reconciliation; we have to reconcile ourselves with the land before we can do something else.
WH: On the [web]page there’s a little thing where you’re quoting Leanne Simpson that was something that stood out to me about the whole process. With reconciliation are tied in these concepts of recognition and those concepts of recognition are so different when Indigenous people are working with other Indigenous people—it strengthens those bonds.
TH: That idea of living as if, as if we have realized the realities that we want on the ground. I love Leanne Simpson.
NL: I really like this web-like, looking-in-multiple-directions-at-the-same-time idea. When I originally read about the project I understood it as starting with you and hopping over to these artists and then they hop to these [other] artists, but listening to you talk about it now, it’s not so linear.
TH: No it’s not. That web of relationships, I’m coming to realize, is part of my curatorial practice both unconsciously and consciously. Translating that way of working to working at the Vancouver Art Gallery is a little bit complicated. How do you maintain that? How the institution responds to that methodology is interesting.
WH: It must be hard with larger institutions. I imagine there is this unspoken thing about making things palatable for an audience but a project like #callresponse is asking, well, what’s palatable for an institution?
TH: That’s something that I’ve puzzled over about the exhibition in general as it’s travelled to different places, because the story of the project is so rich and all of the different in-person interactions and experiences are at the heart of the exhibition, and then you have a series of works that stay the same, that travel to each place with a few changes, like when Ursula did a new song line that would go into the gallery instead of the initial one that she and Cheryl did together. A lot of the works in the show point outside of themselves. Maria’s felt bag is an object that’s activated in performance and the plywood cut-out buffalo robe points to the fact that that original object is not there any more. I’ve always been curious throughout the process of the exhibition about how people experience that pointing outside of the gallery through these objects that are inside of the space. Allison Collins, when the show opened here, said that the role of imagination in looking at the exhibition was something that stood out for her right away. Thinking about what the stories of the objects were outside of the space. She said something along the lines of imagination is not valued as much in exhibitions as it should be.
WH: Initially I also had the same idea that this is a very linear project in many ways, but did you find overall that you were enmeshing more into things, into networks?
TH: Yeah, I would say so. It’s interesting to re-install a show over and over again and see how it shifts in every location and every context and what kinds of conversations come out of those contexts. The most enmeshed aspect of the project was me, Maria and Tania working together. That kind of coordinating but also curatorial conversations around each project—it was really thinking about, in each context, what projects we could activate or what artists we could bring in that would speak well to that context. Really it was about being responsive to that set of conditions, but sort of diving deeper into the projects each time.
NL: Do you have an example of one install or experience of install that changed really drastically or in an important way?
TH: Ursula’s project is a good example of that. Her project, The Land Sings, was in existence before #callresponse started. She had already done three or four song lines, so the project was a way of building on that work and acknowledging that work. We did song lines here, in Mississauga, New York, and Halifax. It moved from the East Coast to the West Coast and then back again over the course of the tour. In each case Ursula is working with singers, hand drummers, and language speakers in that area, and thinking about the relationships between the gallery and the closest First Nation community. That project shifted each time. In New York the song line was mapped onto the skyline of the city as something that’s such a defining feature there and is overlaid on top of Indigenous space and closely follows historic travelling routes that Indigenous Lenape would have travelled along.
NL: That site-specificity seems like such an integral part of the project.
TH: I think so. The initial five commissions were asked to be “locally responsive”; we didn’t really use the term “site specific.” I guess it started by thinking about how all of these artists are committed to doing the work that they’re doing in their own communities. That community is differently defined by everyone. It’s not about an ancestral or reserve community. It can be a shifting context that the artists are all responding to. Also, when we approached galleries for the first time we always asserted that this is a partnership. So the galleries need to take the lead, developing programming that makes sense in their context. We’re not just going to parachute in and do this exhibition; it wouldn’t be in line with how the project began or how it developed. It’s all the context; the responsiveness to context has always been a really central aspect to the project.
WH: Did you find some resistance from some places that didn’t understand where the project was coming from?
TH: No, luckily our partnerships were formed well in that way. Certainly some institutions had much more active, or ongoing or in-depth conversations than others that just rolled with it in their own way. Or [with] some people, it was a really collaborative coming to understand what needed to happen. I think that most of our partners understood for the most part what we were trying to do. There were challenges along the way. I think once we had done the first few, you kind of figure out what questions to ask, what kind of conversations need to happen at the beginning in order to get to what needs to happen. There’s always going to be a set of possibilities that we are responding to and another set of considerations that can be discussed with the partners.
WH: It seems like a difficult thing to do something like an exhibition, which is very administrative just by nature of being attached to an institution, [and] to also have it sincerely engage with the people that are going to see it. A thing I think about a lot when I’m asked to do a workshop is, well, what’s actually beneficial to you? To stop you from just dropping in and being like, “These are my ideas!” and then peace-ing out and ending the dialogue.
TH: I think that a lot of relationships were formed through the project. The participating artists are variously involved in communities where the show went to, so we were able to build upon those relationships a little bit.
WH: I was never able to make any of the performances just by nature of always travelling myself. I just remember each time there was a performance there was a spike in the hash tag and just feeling this intense feeling of FOMO. But also, going through the comments and seeing everyone else who couldn’t make it, there’s this weird outside community that wasn’t able to attend.
TH: Speaking of spider webs and networks, right? The amount of people who have followed the project online and through its various iterations has been pretty spectacular. It’s been really heart-warming in that respect. All of the artists, especially the five initial artists, they’re all such powerhouses. Huge amazing forces to be reckoned with. That was apparent always throughout the exhibitions.
WH: What curatorial projects are you inspired by outside of your own?
TH: Because I’m now working at the Vancouver Art Gallery I’m looking more intensively at what other large-scale institutional work people are doing and always puzzling to myself how they pulled that off. The work that Jamie Isaac and Julie Nagam are doing at Winnipeg Art Gallery, it’s very clearly connected to the community there and has enlivened the space when they activate it through their work and also their ethic and methodology. The way that they work together is really something I admire. And one of the best shows that I’ve seen in the last couple of years is We Carry Forward by Lisa Myers. I saw it when I was in Ontario. It was a group exhibition that just really floored me. She’s a really smart curator. And Lorna Brown at the Belkin, I was thinking about Lorna and Lisa together because they both play upon the meaning and structure of language and then extrapolate that into the artworks that they include.
NL: I’m just thinking about #callresponse ending: it recently wrapped up at its last stop at Stride and TRUCK Gallery in Calgary. Is there a story or a feeling about the impact of the project—maybe something in your own practice—as it comes to a close? How are you reflecting on the project?
TH: Two things come to mind: the scales of intimacy and really public-facing discourse that have both been really fulfilling. I think that’s encapsulated at Stride and TRUCK Gallery in Calgary. We worked with youth from Tsuu T’ina First Nation, which is a program already established with those galleries. A dozen kids came from the rez and we had pizza lunch,we gave them a tour of the show, Maria let them mess with her performance objects, and then we did a pirate radio broadcast in the gallery at TRUCK, which would have a radius of about a block. And the kids, like, played Drake songs and told jokes and we ate chips. It took a few hours before, right at the very end, everyone’s warmed up to each other and we’re chilling and it’s natural. It’s a little different with kids, but there’s a number of moments throughout the project that are small scale and focused on that kind of moment. And then there’s a moment, like opening the exhibition in New York and doing a round table to a packed house, attended by arts workers from around the city. And you recognize that you’re part of a dialogue that people really need to be hearing there and need to be having, because it doesn’t happen enough and the ways that [it] happens aren’t always Indigenous-led. It is a small moment, but you just feel like you’re connected to something that’s wider and urgent. Those nodes of the project are what will resonate with me for a long time to come.
Particles completes grunt’s exchange with organizations and artists in Seoul, South Korea. This international program began in 2018 with Instant Coffee’s project Pink Noise Pop Up , which saw curator Vanessa Kwan, artist collective Instant Coffee and Vancouver-based artists Jeneen Frei Njootli, Casey Wei, Krista Belle Stewart and Ron Tran mount an exhibition and a series of events at two partnering organizations in Seoul. This year’s program includes an artist residency, an exhibition and a curatorial visit.
Artist: Yaloo, April 18th – May 17th, 2019, Western Front Media Arts/ grunt gallery
Talk: Animation Show and Tell Featuring Yaloo, with Howie Tsui and Lianne Zannier April 25th, 7 PM.
Location: Grand Luxe Theatre at the Western Front.
Produced in collaboration with Western Front Media Arts
Curators: InYoung Yeo (Art Space One, Seoul) and Soojung Yi (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul).
May 8th – 17th, 2019. Curator’s Talk: InYoung Yeo and Soojung Yi
May 13th, 6:30 PM.
Location: Grand Luxe Theatre at the Western Front
EXHIBITION dot.dot.dot. Artists: Sejin Kim and InYoung Yeo.
Curated by Vanessa Kwan with InYoung Yeo
May 10 – June 22, 2019. Opening Reception: May 9, 7 – 10 PM. Location: grunt gallery
dot.dot.dot. brings together Seoul-based artists Sejin Kim and InYoung Yeo for their first presentations in Canada. Working at the intersection of media and installation, Kim and Yeo’s practices explore the omnipresence of interactive technologies and their varying effects on human experience. Far from decrying the advance of ‘the digital’ the artists represent an embedded yet critically engaged position. Their works contend, as we all must, with an embodied perspective in a technological environment that, in both promise and imperfection, is intertwined with our survival.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. Particles: Seoul to Vancouver is produced in partnership with Western Front Media Arts, the Banff Centre for the Arts and Pacific Crossings
Together Apart has been envisioned as a way of making and holding space for 2SQ/Indigiqueer folks to come together and to be in dialogue with one another so that we might centre the conversations we’d like to hear or that we feel have been absent in our communities. However, our intentions are also simple: to celebrate and enjoy one another’s creativity and dedication to our practices, and to recognize one another in such a way that speaks across the distances we experience in our living and movement through our worlds.
Together Apart will be held in a series of both public and 2SQ/Indigiqueer events only, as outlined in our schedule. Please follow us on the Facebook page and on Instagram for updaes.
FRIDAY, APRIL 19
Event: 2SQ/Indigiqueer Nature Walk w. Cease Wyss
Time: 11:00 – 12:00PM
Location: Native Education Centre, 237 E 5th Ave, Vancouver
*Closed to 2SQ/Indigiqueer participants only
Participants will join together with Cease Wyss to open our event by spending some time on the land together; though many of us are navigating urbanized living, the urban landscape still lays atop lands that deserve attention, acknowledgement and respect. Cease will lead participants through spaces where the land is more evident and discuss some of her on-going community projects.
Event: Keynote Address by Lindsay Nixon (followed by Poetry Readings) Time: 7:00 – 8:00 PM
Location: grunt gallery
*Free and open to the public Our keynote address will be presented by Lindsay Nixon, a Cree-Métis-Saulteaux curator, award-nominated editor, award-nominated writer and McGill Art History PhD student studying Indigenous (new) feminist artists and methodologies in contemporary art. They currently hold the position of Editor-at-Large for Canadian Art. Nixon has previously edited mâmawi-âcimowak, an independent art, art criticism and literature journal. Their writing has appeared in The Walrus, Malahat Review, Room, GUTS, Mice, esse, The Inuit Art Quarterly, Teen Vogue and other publications. nîtisânak, Nixon’s memoir and first published book, is out now through Metonymy Press.
Born and raised in the prairies, they currently live in Tio’tia:ke/Mooniyaang—unceded Haudenosaunee and Anishinabe territories (Montreal, QC).
Stay for our Poetry Reading event with fabian romero, Demian DinéYazhi’ and Storme Webber following directly after the keynote after a short break.
Event: Poetry Readings
Poetry Readings with fabian romero, Demian DinéYazhi’ and Storme Webber
Time: 8:00 – 9:30 PM
Location: grunt gallery
*Free and open to the public
For our poetry reading night, we’ve reached out to some of our kin south of the colonial border to share their work about love, sexuality, settler colonialism, fighting white supremacy, Radical Indigenous Feminisms and the complicated networks of our many intersecting identities. This night will include queer poet, filmmaker and artist fabian romero (Purepécha), transdisciplinary artist and activist Demian DinéYazhi’ (Naasht’ézhí Tábąąhá (Zuni Clan Water’s Edge) & Tódích’íí’nii (Bitter Water)), and internationally-nurtured poet, playwright, educator, and interdisciplinary artist Storme Webber (Alutiiq/Black/Choctaw).
SATURDAY, APRIL 20
Event: Beading & Reading w. Anne Riley
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Massy Books, 229 E Georgia St, Vancouver
*Closed to 2SQ/Indigiqueer participants only
An informal reading event hosted by artist Anne Riley (Cree/Dene) inviting attendees to bring readings of works that have resonated with them or have produced themselves in a relaxed setting where we can work and speak together over beading/crafting projects within the Massy bookstore event space. The intention of this event is to hold space in which our conversations can feel unrestrained and without the scrutiny of non-Indigenous audiences that often forces a degree of performativity.
Event: Performance by Storme Webber and In Conversation with Afuwa
Time: 1:00 – 2:30 PM
Location: grunt gallery
*Free and open to the public
Storme Webber (Alutiiq/Black/Choctaw) will be giving an extended performance from her previous nights reading and will follow-up with an In Conversation Interview with artist Afuwa (Guyana) whose current projects have focused on re-imagining relations across the Atlantic diaspora.
Event: Readings and In Conversation with Demian DinéYazhi’ and fabian romero
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 PM
Location: grunt gallery
*Free and open to the public
Presentation with Demian and fabian consisting of short readings of their work, presentations of their interests/practices and a dialogue between the two as artists/writers/activists.
Event: Concert w. With War/Mourning Coup/Kerub
Time: Doors 8:00 PM, Show 9:00 PM (End 12:00 midnight)
Location: KW Studios, #10 – 111 Hastings St W, Vancouver Cover: $10-$15 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds (sales from bar and door will be used to pay an honorarium for volunteers and then distributed amongst performers)
Three non-binary Indigenous performers, one face-melting night; we’ll start with Metis/Jewish electronic artist KERUB then fall into experimental electric MOURNING COUP aka Chandra Melting-Tallow (Siksika/mixed ancestry) and then top off the night with Portland vegan straight edge hardcore band WITH WAR, fronted by La Tisha Rico (Diné/Navajo) who in true straight edge form will also be giving a morning artist talk the following day.
SUNDAY, APRIL 21
Event: Artist Talk w. La Tisha Rico (of With War)
Time: 10:00 – 11:00 AM
Location: grunt gallery
*Free and open to the public
La Tisha Rico (Diné/Navajo) will present on their work as a musician and activist in decolonizing punk and DIY spaces within a queer and Indigenous identity that is beyond colonial definitions and limitations in colonial language.
Event: Community Discussion: Rural Indigiqueer Identities, hosted by Edzi’u
Time: 1:00 – 2:00PM
Location: grunt gallery
*Closed to 2SQ/Indigiqueer participants only.
Community discussion facilitated by performer Edzi’u (Tahltan/Tlingit) discussing queer Indigenous identities in rural situations; dating, isolation, mental health; will choose something from the archive to help centre the conversation by responding to how it does or does not reflect where we are now.
Event: Round Table Discussion: Intentions, with co-curators Whess Harman, Kali Spitzer and guests (TBD)
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 PM
Location: grunt gallery
*Free and open to the public
Round table discussion with co-curators Whess Harman (Carrier Witat) and Kali Spitzer (Kaska Dene) event discussing the interpretations and intentions in their practices and as programmers with several other artists/event organizers/curators.
Event: grunt Archive Screenings and Presentation with Lacie Burning
Time: 7:00 – 9:30PM
Location: grunt gallery
*Free and open to the public
In addition to a screening of several performances from the original Two-Spirit Cabaret held at the grunt gallery in 1993, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) and Onondaga (patrilineal) artist Lacie Burning will be presenting their response to Denise Lonewalker’s Dancing for our Ancestors. With this event, we will be looking back through the archive in an effort to root ourselves in our own history and give acknowledgement to those who’ve made space for us and look forward in how to look at how those spaces are changing.
Together Apart is supported by the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and the City of Vancouver Creative City Strategic Grant Program. grunt gallery acknowledges the ongoing support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Columbia Arts Council, the City of Vancouver, the Province of British Columbia, and the Audain Foundation for the Visual Arts.
The third installation of Pet Peeves is here! Joingrunt’s Gallery Assistant, Hedy Wood, as she delves further into her investigation of the grunt gallery staff by interviewing their pets.
After all of that British swearing from the Hounds of the Barkervilles over at Meagan’s place, I planned to go and visit Vanessa and her partner and their cats. Their nice delightful quiet cats, that’s what I was in the mood for.
Vanessa Kwan (grunt curator for the last 4 years) and her feline friends were to be my 3rd pet interview, and I have to say that I had already pretty much given up on finding any dirt. I know Vanessa to be consistently lovely, and I highly doubted that her cats were going to shed any light on some other shadowy, dark side of her personality that was completely made of evil. It just didn’t seem likely….
There was however, a millennial cat (Atom), and like a lot of people of my generation, I had a few questions about technology that I wanted to ask him. So I headed out, with my trusty phone that I barely know how to make an audio recording on, and the obligatory pocket full of cat treats. I figured Hank would enjoy a treat, being the older cat, but she preferred to sit on the other side of the room, working on her best stink eye.
Now, everything would have gone really well at Vanessa’s, if only I hadn’t sat down on the couch. THE COUCH!!!! It is the BEST goddamn couch I HAVE EVER SAT ON! I can’t stop yelling and swearing just thinking about it! That couch is dreamiest, comfiest, cushiest, softest, most cloudlike thing I have ever had the pleasure of lying on in my entire life!! I LOVED their COUCH! So, of course, that was a bit distracting when it came to trying to conduct my interviews with the cats. I mean, how did they meet Vanessa? Where did they come from? I DID NOT CARE! All I wanted to do was sit on that couch until the day I die… by the end of my time there, I was completely horizontal and ignoring the cats entirely… I tried, but honestly, the couch won out.
Here’s a small sample of what was in my notes…
Me: So, Atom and Hank, do you two actually get to lie on this couch every day?! Don’t you love it?
Atom: Well, I DO enjoy the couch, when I feel like sitting still and watching a bit of television, but normally I am too active to lie around… I like to play computer games, and things like that that Hank does not enjoy, Hank is quite old, JIC you didn’t notice…
Hank: I, wait a minute, what was the question? I don’t think I like you, but I can’t remember why, exactly… oh, the COUCH, yeah that is good…
I found out that Hank suffers from some short term memory loss, which made interviewing her a bit more difficult. She also only likes Vanessa, no one else, only Vanessa. There was something about that I could relate to. It so exactly mirrored my feelings for the couch.
Atom: Did you know that Hank hates technology so much that she puked on the iPad? What kind of a person does that? She’s so jelly about that iPad!
Me: Aren’t you being kind of a snitch right now? Come and sit on the couch with me? Be nice!
Atom: I feel more like running around the place!
Hank: Yep, I still feel like I hate you Hedy….can’t really put my paw on the reason why… well, you’re not Vanessa for one thing… hey, wait, was there another question? Lot of questions…
Me: Well, yes, how long have they had this couch? Where did they get it anyway? Might have been expensive… must have been… sooooo superior to that old piece of lumber I’m sitting on at my place, I might as well be lying around outside on the concrete, that’s how bad my couch actually is… hmmmmmm, I think a short lie down would be good…
Atom: Hedy! HEDY!!!! Look! LOOK! Hedy, LOOK! I got a new game on my phone!!!! Come and look!! I can play it while I’m hanging upside down from this chair!!!!!
Hank: Gack! Barf! Excuse me, hairball…
It might have been around this time that Vanessa began to talk a lot about having to get to work. I tried to check around, sort of surreptitiously, to make sure I hadn’t left any drool on the couch, and prepared to head out.
Once again, I had not actually uncovered any real vices in the grunt staff… I mean apart from the fact that Vanessa literally SHAVES Hank on a regular basis. Hank is really a long haired cat, which you would never know at all from looking at her. The thing is, Vanessa shaves Hank as an act of kindness, (so annoying). Otherwise Hank would continually chew on and eat her own hair, then throw it up all over my couch. Then, she would forget that she’d done it because of the memory thing. So, you see, Vanessa is not doing anything mean at all by shaving her, or even anything particularly memorable… And Atom? Well, he is just a sweet young Devon Rex who would enjoy more screen time, if only the humans of the household would turn the darn thing on and watch a nature show or two… nothing very sinister lurking there either.
No, no, no no no, these pets weren’t pissed at all! Possibly there would be something at Kate’s place, but I was beginning to despair, AND I already missed that couch.
** Since this interview was conducted Vanessa’s cat gang has grown by one, Prune is pictured with Hank and Atom above.
Welcome to the second installation of Pet Peeves! Joingrunt’s Gallery Assistant, Hedy Wood, as she investigates the grunt gallery staff by interviewing their pets.
It is entirely possible that I am more of a cat person. Of course, I was not scared in any way at all while visiting Meagan, Sugar(?!) and Wendell. And I was definitely NOT standing out on the porch until the dogs were secured upstairs behind a completely insubstantial looking gate. No, no no no! I was just waiting politely to be invited inside.
After all the pleasantness over at Dan and Boris’ place, it’s fair to say that I was on the lookout for something a bit more visceral. I’d like to emphasize the words, A BIT. I wasn’t actually prepared at all for the piranhas in dog bodies that I met at Meagan’s house…. and I have to say right now that in my humble opinion, SUGAR is a bit of a misnomer for an animal that would literally enjoy chewing the limbs off your body. Sugar?! Seriously.
Meagan Kus has been grunt’s Operations Director for the last 9 years and she described to me what that job entails. Budgets, HR, and daily thingies, oh my! I sort of dozed off a little in the middle part of it all.
The one thing I did notice is that her personality is basically the complete polar opposite of those hell hounds that we are calling British Bulldogs. At 60 pounds each, Sugar(?!) and Wendell greet visitors to the household in a snarling mass of fury! To say that they are “protective” is understating the situation.
I attempted to interview the dogs, because I was not at all intimidated by their histrionics, but it didn’t actually go well. For one thing, I had to stand at the bottom of the stairs and yell up at them while they tried to break through the gate and eat my legs off.
I’ll give you a little sample of what was on my tape.
Me: Er, hello, Sugar(?!) and Wendell….
Dogs: Barking in unison,
WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THIS HOUSE YOU BLEEDING BEGGAR?!!!! GET OUT NOW POXY BITCH!!!!! SOD OFF!!!!! AAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!! CRIKEY!!!!!!
DON’T BLOODY WELL TOUCH MEAGAN!!!! ARE YOU TOUCHING MEAGAN?!!!! YOU’RE GONNA DIE DAFT COW!!!!! DIE!!!!!!!AND A LOT BLOODY SOONER THAN YOU EXPECTED!!!!!
(So, of course these dogs swear in British! It’s the weirdest swearing I’ve ever heard. How many times can an animal tell a person to “sod off”? Quite a few as it turns out……and I still don’t know why they said I “ponged like a smelly old armpit”.)
Me: So, ummm, how did you and Meagan meet?
Dogs: SOD OFF OUT OF THIS HOUSE!!!!!BLIMEY!!! DIE!!!! GAAAHHHH! BARK!!! SNORT!!!!!!!!!!!
At this point, I did not exactly need to haul out my degree in rocket science to see how well the interview was going. Meagan put the dogs in the bedroom which made them slightly less loud, and we sat down for a bit to have a chat. I was determined to dig up a little dirt on Meagan, but it was starting to look like the only thing wrong with her was the canine component of her household.
Meagan told me that the dogs were from Abbotsford, and they had a predecessor, Bubba, who actually had a good personality. Bubba is the reason the Sugar(?!) and Wendell came to be Meagan’s pets in the first place.
So, to recap, Sugar(?!) and Wendell came from a breeder in Abbotsford. Did I mention there is a distinct possibility that they are related to each other? Like, they may be crazy British first cousins or something.
When it came to finding out the dogs’ pet peeves, I had to rely on Meagan, because there was obviously just no talking to them.
I found out that Wendell (recent history of near violence with a doggy day care worker!) cannot abide any kind of contamination AT ALL in his water bowl. AND he doesn’t do what any other dog might and simply sip from the toilet bowl water, no no. Wendell will actually sit beside the water bowl, yelling, whimpering and crying until someone, whose name starts with M, and ends with Eagan, gets up and refreshes it….he also will eat all of his food so fast that he is in serious danger of choking. In fact, he DID choke one time and needed some serious Heimlich maneuvering to save his life. Now he and Sugar(?!) both have special ridged dog bowls to slow down their eating….think of the short work they would make of a human limb!
Sugar(?!) has a strange fascination with Meagan’s husband’s head. She likes to LICK it, she likes it a LOT. Apparently this has gotten to the point where Craig cannot even have a nap on the couch because he knows he’s in for a licking!
Both dogs, allegedly, have a sweet and loving side to their personalities. I suppose this can be sort of seen in the head licking incidents….and they also enjoy physical contact in the form of sitting or lying on top of the humans in their household. Isn’t that nice?
Their main complaint seems to be about PEOPLE COMING OVER. They just don’t like it, at all. AND they would like a lot more physical affection and human contact, a LOT more. They are not at all content with a bit of weekend head licking…..well, I mean who would be, I guess.
All in all, nothing I saw reflected badly on Meagan in even the tiniest way! She does an amazing job of dealing with those dog personalities, and she does the same thing, (with less barking) at grunt.
No, my search for dirt was stymied once again! It was time to hit the road and soldier on, most likely there is something quite beastly going on over at Vanessa’s place. I was eager to get over there and investigate, and oh, did I mention? Vanessa has CATS.
ONE DAY ONLY! 10AM–10PM
Opening Reception: March 5, 2019, 7PM
Over the past two years, grunt gallery has been at work on the project Wordless – The Performance Art of Rebecca Belmore focused on her remarkable performance career. This legacy project begins with an all-day screening of, March 5, 1819, and the launch of her new website, rebeccabelmore.com
In 2008 Rebecca Belmore produced the video installation March 5, 1819 recreating the abduction of the Beothuk woman Demasaduit and the murder of her husband Nonosabasut by colonialist settlers in Newfoundland. This video installation is not a historical reenactment, rather the actors are in modern dress and Belmore questions what has changed over the past 200 years. March 5, 1819, was commissioned by The Rooms in St John’s and has also been exhibited in Ottawa and Toronto. Set at Red Indian Lake in central Newfoundland March 5, 1819 was filmed in Vancouver at Mount Seymour.
March 5, 2019, marks the 200th anniversary of these events. It was announced earlier this year that their skulls will be returned to the Canadian Museum of History from the University of Scotland. As we grapple with reconciliation it is fitting to remember the history that brought us to this place.
grunt will celebrate the re-launch rebeccabelmore.com, a website documenting Rebecca Belmore’s career over the past 32 years. The new site features content that spans Belmore’s career in all media, taking the user deep into the heart of her practice.
From July 2 – August 3, 2019, grunt gallery will also present a photographic exhibition of five new performance photographs, and a book launch of Wordless – The Performance Art of Rebecca Belmore, in collaboration with the Audain Art Museum and Information Office.
Funded through a New Chapter grant, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Audain Art Museum, this project celebrates the important career of one of Canada’s most iconic artists.
Wordless – The Performance Art of Rebecca Belmore is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.
BECOME PART OF THE NEW MOUNT PLEASANT COMMUNITY ART SCREEN!
April 7 – the workshop is full
April 14 – one spot left!
April 28th -the workshop is full
TIME: 1 PM – 5 PM each day LOCATION: grunt gallery, #116 – 350 East 2 Avenue, Vancouver, BC
This spring, grunt gallery and EastVan Digital Stories join forces once again with Mount Pleasant and Vancouver residents who wish to create short videos around the theme of PLACE. Artists Lorna Boschman and Sebnem Ozpeta will host a series of six, free, weekly workshops at grunt gallery that walk participants through the process of digital story making!
Through the digital stories group process, you will be able to create and share your own authentic story by combining digital photos and/or video. Selected videos from the workshops will be shown on grunt gallery’s Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen and on digitalstories.ca.
To sign up for one workshop, please choose one day (from the dates listed above), please include one alternative date in case your first choice of the workshop is filled. Send an email to Lorna Boschman: lorna (at) digitalstories (dot) ca with your name, email address, phone/text number, and whether you live in Mount Pleasant or Vancouver. Please include one, or two, sentences about why you would like to create a short digital story. Lorna will send you a list of things you must bring to the workshop including several photos (from your phone or camera) and/or video that directly relates to your story’s theme.
A maximum of four people can register per weekly workshop, and we expect these workshops to fill up quickly! For more information on the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen, and the theme of PLACE, please visit the link: grunt.ca
Special thanks to the Vancouver Foundation who made this project possible.
Vancouver Foundation is dedicated to creating healthy, vibrant and livable communities across BC. Since 1943, our donors have created 1,800 endowment funds and together we have distributed more than $1 billion to charities. From arts and culture to the environment, health and social development, education, medical research and more, we exist to make meaningful and lasting improvements to communities in BC.
Spark: Fireside Artist Talks is an informal lunchtime artist talk series hosted by grunt gallery in the Native Education College’s longhouse on the third Thursday of each month. Featuring emerging Indigenous artists with diverse practices ranging from animation to street art, spoken word to sculpture. Bring a bag lunch or grab some home cookin’ from the NEC’s canteen and join in the conversation by the fire as we talk about what inspires artists to make work
Bonus – Spark Talk No.26 feat. Meagan Musseau
Thursday, April 27
* note: this talk will be held at grunt gallery
Interdisciplinary visual artist Meagan Musseau (Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk territory –– Bay of Islands, Newfoundland) will be making a stop at the grunt gallery on April 25 as a part of her multi-city speaking tour funded by the Banff Centre. Musseau is the winner of the 2018 Emerging Atlantic Artist Residency, which includes an eight-week fully funded residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity followed by the opportunity to travel across Canada to speak about her experience and project.
Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 25 feat. Kali Spitzer
Thursday, April 18, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue
12:15 – 1:00 pm
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.
Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 24 feat. Alanna Edwards
Thursday, Mar 21, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue
12:15 – 1:00 pm
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.
Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 23 feat. Anne & Jeane Riley
Thursday, Feb 21, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue
12:15 – 1:00 pm
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.
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.
Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 22 feat. Krystle Coughlin
Thursday, Jan 17th, 12:15-1:00pm
Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue
12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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.
Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 20 feat. Vi Levitt
Thursday, October 18, 2018 Native Education College 285 East 5th Avenue 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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.
Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 19 feat. Whess Harman
Thursday, April 19, 2018 Native Education College 285 East 5th Avenue 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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.
Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 18 feat. Levi Nelson
Thursday, March 15, 2018 Native Education College 285 East 5th Avenue 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 Native Education College 285 East 5th Avenue 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 Native Education College 285 East 5th Avenue 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 Native Education College 285 East 5th Avenue 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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. 14 feat. Raven John
* POSTPONED TO FEBRUARY 15, 2018 * Native Education College 285 East 5th Avenue 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 13 feat. Cole Pauls
Thursday, September 21, 2017 Native Education College 285 East 5th Avenue 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 Native Education College 285 East 5th Avenue 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Rodrigo 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 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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.
Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 3 feat. Larissa Healey
Thursday, March 17, 2016 Native Education College 285 East 5th Avenue 12:15 – 1:00 pm
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 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Mark 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.
> Read an article about Mark and his works in BeatRoute.
Spark: Fireside Artist Talk No. 1 feat. Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo
January 21, 2106 Native Education College
285 East 5th Avenue
12:15 – 1:00 pm
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.
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.
We are pleased to present the first instalment of Pet Peeves, a series in which grunt’s Gallery Assistant, Hedy Wood, investigates grunt gallery’s staff by interviewing their pets. We will post a new instalment of Pet Peeves each month. Enjoy!
It had honestly never occurred to me that there might be a pet without a peeve until I went to Dan’s place. I mean, who has a cat that is so content, he doesn’t destroy the furniture? Or wake you up in the middle of the night by sitting on your head? Or sit beside the food bowl, yelling? Well, apparently DAN has that cat! Apparently, everything is all just super duper all the time over there!
It’s not exactly that I am obsessed with finding fault with grunt staff, but really, there has to be something wrong with them. At work they are kind, inclusive, courteous and professional, while also managing to be fun…..and good looking. I mean, Come ON! Gah! How is that interesting?
No, there has to be something else going on and I figure those pets are the ones that know. Surely they are harbouring some kind of secret grudge? They’ve got to be peeved about some terrible thing the staff is doing. I just need to get to the bottom of it.
Boris and I met at the beginning of March at Dan Pon’s east end apartment. (Dan has been grunt’s archives manager for the last 3 years, and was involved with the gallery for 4 years before that in a variety of capacities. He also works as a librarian at Langara College and West Vancouver Memorial Library. He probably barely has time to even feed a cat.)
Boris is a lanky, handsome, debonair black and white cat. He also appeared to be a bit shy, but totally charming, hmmmm, I did not see how this was going to help with my particular mission. But I put my phone on record and commenced with the interview, optimistic as always, and with a pocketful of cat treats on hand.
Me: So Boris, tell me how you and Dan met.
Boris: Well, about six years ago, I had fallen on some difficult times and I was temporarily living in a shelter down in Seattle. I had been living with a big gang of cats outside a warehouse, but that situation was about to end, and I fear, all of our lives with it! Dan and his partner were in desperate need of a feline rescue, and of course, I was looking for better accommodations, so I caught their eye when they came into the shelter. Long story short, they ended up terminating their vacation in order to bring me to their home in Canada. People just do not realize the amount of effort we cats put in to rescuing them. I had to lure them all the way to Seattle, AND disrupt their vacation.
Me: Yeah, ok, good, that’s nice, what a sweet story. But what I really want to know is do you have any complaints about Dan? Here have a treat.
Boris: Actually, there is literally almost nothing wrong with Dan. I mean he works a lot, and he could be here, spending time with me and doing things for me, but that’s about it.
Me: So, would you say everything here is all perfect and completely GOOD?!It’s just NICE and PLEASANT all the time?!!!
Boris: I have to say that I do worry a bit about Dan’s hearing. I mean how loudly does a cat have to YELL before he realizes that I need something? What if I’m hungry, or need to go outside, or the litter box is in bad condition? Sometimes I have to yell at him for ten minutes or so before he responds! But he is really so excellent in every other way, I’ve got no complaints at all.
Me: F WORD! What about snoring? That can be very annoying, or excessive gassiness and farting? Or stupid nick names? He can’t be THAT perfect!
Boris: Sometimes they call me Flatfish, which has to do with my elegant, low slung hunting posture, but I kind of like that. And no, no particular gassiness that I have noticed….
Me: Come ON! There’s got to be SOMETHING!! You’ve been together for what? Six years now?
Boris: My word, you certainly are a very persistent person, dogged almost…..all right then, I do think it would be very nice of them to get me a little kitten buddy…..there, I said it! Oh, and they might want to do something about the condition of my scratching post, it’s a tad shabby…I don’t say these things as complaints at all, more like helpful suggestions….
Now, I have to say that by this point in the interview, I was beginning to grind my teeth. My own good opinion of Dan was completely unaltered, and Boris was ready to get out for a bit on his neighborhood patrol. And what kind of dirt had I dug up? Absolutely zero, zilch, zip nada! Everything was just a little too good around Dan’s and it was getting on my nerves. Definitely it was time to leave.
While I was grumpily riding the #4 back to my place, I thought about Meagan and her “protective” bulldogs and the way they vigilantly guard her house. That must be a terrible situation. Goody. I planned to call her as soon as I got home….