Sonny Assu

Sonny Assu (Liǥwildaʼx̱w of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations) was raised in North Delta, BC, over 250 km away from his home ancestral home on Vancouver Island. Having been raised as your everyday average suburbanite, it wasn’t until he was eight years old that he discovered his Liǥwildaʼx̱w/Kwakwaka’wakw heritage. Later in life, this discovery would be the conceptual focal point of his contemporary art practice. His practice is diverse, exploring multiple mediums and materials to negotiate Western and Kwakwaka’wakw principles of art making. His work often often explores his family history as a way shed light on Canada’s hidden history and treatment of the First People. Assu received his BFA from the Emily Carr University in 2002 and his MFA from Concordia University in 2017. He has been awarded Emily Carr University’s distinguished alumni award (2006); the BC Creative Achievement Award in First Nations Art (2011) and is a 2017 Laureate for the REVEAL – Indigenous Art Awards. He currently resides in unceded Liǥwildaʼx̱w territory (Campbell River, BC).

Bruno Canadien is a member of the Deh Gah Got’ie Koe First Nation, a Deh Cho Region member of the Dene Nation. His work is primarily focused on addressing issues surrounding the intersection of First Nation/Tribal sovereignty, resource exploitation and environmental concerns. Through a language that strives to reflect his personal visual history, he uses collage, adornment, painting and drawing to present evidence of contemporary Indigenous presence and resistance throughout his work. His most recent work belies the concern aboriginal communities in western Canada and the U.S. have for our territories, including wildlife, in the face of aggressive oil and gas exploration and extraction. As a member of a northern First Nation (Deh Gah Got’ı́é Kǫ́ę́, Deh Cho Region) and a resident of Alberta, this issue carries personal resonance for Bruno, especially in regards to the effects of the Athabasca Tarsands development, which is located within the MacKenzie/Peace watershed, upstream from his home community of Fort Providence. After graduating from the Alberta College of Art’s Painting Department in 1993, he and his wife settled in the Calgary area, where he enjoys spending much of his free time outdoors in the traditional territories of the Blackfoot , Tsuu T’ina and Nakoda nations.

Dayna Danger is a 2Spirit Metis/Saulteaux/Polish visual artist raised in so called Winnipeg, MB. Utilizing photography, sculpture, performance and video, Dayna Danger‘s practice questions the line between empowerment and objectification by claiming space with her larger than life scale work. Danger’s current use of BDSM and beading leather fetish masks explores the complicated dynamics of sexuality, gender, and power in a consensual and feminist manner. Danger is currently based in Tio’tia:ke. Danger holds a MFA in Photography from Concordia University. Danger has exhibited her work in Santa Fe, Winnipeg, Montreal, Peterborough, North Bay, Vancouver, Edmonton and Banff. Danger currently serves as a board member for the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective (ACC/CCA).

David Garneau  (Métis) is Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Regina. His practice includes painting, curation, and critical writing. He recently co-curated, with Kathleen Ash Milby, Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound, National Museum of the American Indian, New York, and, with Michelle LaVallee, Moving Forward, Never Forgetting, an exhibition concerning the legacies of Indian Residential Schools, other forms of aggressive assimilation, and (re)conciliation, at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina, and With Secrecy and Despatch, with Tess Allas, an international exhibition about massacres of Indigenous people, and memorialization, for the Campbelltown Art Centre, Sydney, Australia. Garneau has given numerous talks in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and throughout Canada. He is part of a five-year, SSHRC funded, curatorial research project, “Creative Conciliation;” and is working on two public art projects in Edmonton. His paintings are in numerous public and private collections.

Tanya Harnett  is a member of the Carry-The-Kettle First Nations in Saskatchewan. She is an artist and an Associate Professor at the University of Alberta in a joint appointment with the Department of Art and Design and the Faculty of Native Studies. She works in various media including, photography, drawing, printmaking, and fiber. Harnett’s studio practice engages in notions about politics, identity, history, spirituality, and place. She has exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally. She participated in the creation of the University of Lethbridge BFA Native American Art (Studio) and the BFA Native American Art (Art History/Museum Studies) and she has contributed writings on Aboriginal Contemporary Art for Canadian Art Magazine. She is the recipient of various grants that include a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and Canada Council for the Arts. In 2015 she was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and she was also awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal by the Lt. Governor General of Alberta. Harnett is an avid community supporter for Contemporary Aboriginal Artists. 

Mark Igloliorte is an interdisciplinary artist of Inuit ancestry from Nunatsiavut, Labrador. His artistic work is primarily painting and drawing. In 2017 Igloliorte received a REVEAL Indigenous Art Award from the The Hnatyshyn Foundation. His work has been shown nationally and internationally with work of international contemporary artists: Francis Alys, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Peter Doig, Peter Fischli and David Weiss.  Further, Igloliorte has been profiled in features by Canadian Art Magazine and Inuit Art Quarterly.

Cheryl L’Hirondelle is an Indigenous (Cree/Metis; German/Polish) award-winning interdisciplinary artist, singer/songwriter and new media curator originally from the land now known as canada. Her creative practice is an investigation of the intersection of a Cree worldview (nêhiyawin) and contemporary time-space. Her current projects include: Why the Caged Bird Sings, an ongoing series of singles and several media-rich installations from songs co-written with incarcerated women, men and detained youth; Sing Land X Song Mark, a series of international songwriting/mapping with experimental music videos and media-rich installations where she ‘sings land’; a new catalogue of Cree language songs (with Moe Clark and Joseph Naytowhow); and yahkâskwan mîhkiwap, a nomadic performative/participatory light tipi installation (with Joseph Naytowhow). She is also proud and honoured to have contributed backing vocals to Buffy Sainte Marie’s last award-winning album Power in the Blood, 2015. Cheryl is the sole proprietor of Miyoh Music, an Indigenous niche music publishing company; is a co-founding member of KIY curatorial collective (with Candice Hopkins); is an original member of OCAD University’s Indigenous Education Advisory; and is currently a PhD candidate with SMARTlab at UCD in Dublin, Ireland.

Lisa Myers is an independent curator and artist with a keen interest in interdisciplinary collaboration. Her curatorial practice considers different kinds of value placed on time, sound, and knowledge. In addition to curatorial work based in Toronto, her projects include three touring exhibitions, wnoondwaamin | we hear them (2016); Recast (2014); and the co-curated project Reading the Talk (2014). Her most recent curatorial project Carry Forward runs from September 2017 to January 2018 at the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery. In her art practice Myers has worked with anthocyanin pigment from blueberries in printmaking, and animation. Her participatory performances involve social gatherings where sharing berries and other food help reflect on place and displacement, and processes of straining and absorbing. She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions in venues including Urban Shaman (Winnipeg), Art Gallery of Peterborough and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Myers has an MFA in Criticism and Curatorial practice from OCAD University. Her writing has been published in many exhibition publications, Senses and Society, Public, C Magazine and FUSE Magazine. Myers is a member of Beausoleil First Nation based in Toronto and Port Severn, Ontario. She is an Assistant Lecturer in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.

Lindsay Nixon is a Cree-Métis-Saulteaux curator, editor, writer and art history grad student. They currently hold the position of Indigenous Editor at Large for Canadian Art, and are the editor of mâmawi­-âcimowak, an independent art, art criticism and literature journal. Nixon’s writing has appeared in Malahat Review, Room, GUTS, Mice, esse, The Inuit Art Quarterly and other publications. Their forthcoming creative non-fiction collection, tentatively titled nîtisânak, is to be released in spring 2018 through Metonymy Press. Nixon currently resides in Tio’tia:ke/Mooniyaang—unceded Haudenosaunee and Anishinabe territories (Montreal, QC), where they co-founded the Black Indigenous Harm Reduction Alliance and Critical Sass Press.

Ashley Scarlett (Chair of Future Memories panel) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Critical and Creative Studies at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Her research encompasses historical and theoretical analyses of digital aesthetics, with recent publications appearing in Parallax, Digital Culture & Society and the Routledge Companion to Photography Theory. 

Jessie Short is a curator, multi-disciplinary artist and emerging filmmaker whose work involves memory, multi-faceted existence, Métis history and visual culture. Jessie attained an MA degree in 2011 from Brock University where she wrote about contemporary Métis visual culture. After this, Jessie served as the Executive Director of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective (ACC), from Oct 2012 to Dec 2014 in Toronto. During her time as the National Coordinator, Jessie managed multiple projects to better promote the work of diverse Indigenous artists across North America. Jessie has screened two short films at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts festival in Toronto (2015 & 2016), and performed in the M:ST Performance Art Festival in Calgary (2016). Jessie currently works as a project coordinator for the Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective.

Cowboy Smithx is an Award Winning filmmaker of Blackfoot Ancestry from the Piikani and Kainai tribes of Southern Alberta, Canada. Cowboy is the founder and curator of the highly acclaimed International Indigenous speaker series “REDx Talks.” He also serves as the Artistic Director of the Iiniistsi Treaty Arts Society. He writes, directs and produces film works in documentary, narrative, music video and experimental. Cowboy is currently working in Indigenous education, Cultural consultation and Youth work across the globe. Cowboy hosts the critically acclaimed podcast “The Silent X”.

Rolande Souliere  became a contemporary visual artist when she migrated to Australia in 1998.  Living between Australia and Canada has highlighted the common political interests, the shared struggles and historical memory of colonialism of Indigenous people on a global level.  Souliere’s practice is anchored in addressing Indigenous histories that have either been silenced, misrepresented and or hidden within western academic and socio-political discourses. To address these Souliere uses mass-manufactured goods that she manipulates using traditional First Nation processes such as threading, stacking, binding and patterning.  When asked why she uses the assisted readymade, Souliere replies “its faster, saves time and money”.  Among Souliere’s well-known installations are the ones constructed from street barrier and caution tape to address Indigenous land claims, infrastructural intervention and economic growth with the oncoming of colonial settlement.   Souliere continues to experiment with new materials and processes as a visual means to raise awareness of Indigeneity – locally, nationally and internationally.

Adrian Stimson  is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation. He has a BFA with distinction from the Alberta College of Art and Design and MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. He considers himself as an interdisciplinary artist; he exhibits nationally and internationally. His paintings are primarily monochromatic, they primarily depict bison in imagined landscapes, they are melancholic, memorializing, and sometimes whimsical, they evoke ideas cultural fragility, resilience and nostalgia. The British Museum recently acquired two paintings for their North American Indigenous collection. His performance art looks at identity construction, specifically the hybridization of the Indian, the cowboy, the shaman and Two Spirit being. Buffalo Boy, The Shaman Exterminator are two reoccurring personas. He is also known for putting his body under stress, in White Shame Re-worked, he pierced his chest 7 times, recreating a performance originally done by Ahasiw-Muskegon Iskew, crawled across the desert in 110 degree heat for What about the Red Man? For Burning Man’s The Green Man and recently dug a TRENCH in a five-day durational performance sunrise to sunset. His installation work primarily examines the residential school experience; he attended three residential schools in his life. He has used the material culture from Old Sun Residential School on his Nation to create works that speak to genocide, loss and resilience. His photography includes collodion wet plate portraits, performance dioramas and war depictions. His sculpture work has been primarily collaborative; he has worked with relatives of Murdered and Missing Women to create Bison Sentinels and with the Whitecap Dakota Nation in creating Sprit of Alliance a monument to the War of 1812. He was a participant in the Canadian Forces Artist Program, which sent him to Afghanistan. He was awarded the Blackfoot Visual Arts Award in 2009, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003, the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 and the REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award –Hnatyshyn Foundation