Indigenous Curatorial Residency
Oneself, and one another
Lita Fontaine, Whess Harman, Meagan Musseau, Rhayne Vermette
Curated by Jennifer Smith
The blanket use of the word ‘Indigenous’ can eclipse the incredible diversity within Indigenous cultures across Turtle Island. Oneself, and one another is an exploration of this and the inter-identities of Indigenous artists in Canada. Each of the four artists creates work about their own distinct culture, interests and lives. What we discover is how non-homogenity is itself a defining feature of Indigenous culture, a means of working together, and a source of great power.
The great power brings together four artists, who independent of each other explore ideas of gender, skin colour, multiple cultural identities, tradition, age, territory, the Dakota Nation, the Metis Nation, the Mi’kmaq Nation, Carrier Witat Nation, environmental issues, history, punk culture, decolonization, and the lives of artists. Together the artists form an exhibition that places their Indigeneity at the centre of the intersections which complicate, unsettle, and ultimately galvanise people in their community
Image: Megan Musseau When they poison the bogs we will still braid sweetgrass; video still. 2017.
About the Artists:
Lita Fontaine is of Dakota, Anishinaabe, and Metis descent. Fontaine is a Mother, sister, Art Educator and Visual Artist. Her mother Rose Anne Fontaine’s band affiliation is Long Plain, her father’s, Sagkeeng First Nation. Fontaine was born in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, and grew up in Winnipeg’s North End. Ever since childhood, Fontaine always enjoyed the act of creation like drawing, building, sewing and collecting recyclables.
During Fontaine’s late twenties, the creative urge to become an artist became quite strong. Being a single mother at the time she decided to return to school and enrolled in the University of Manitoba’s School of Art in the Diploma program where she developed and hone her skills and abilities in drawing and black and white photography. She later pursued an higher education at the University of Regina, Visual Arts Faculty where she attained a Master of Fine Arts, (M.F.A.) specializing in Inter-media and, as some may know as Mixed–media.
Fontaine’s practice is predominately studio based and her methodology in the area of arts education is hands on, where creative processes play an integral role in learning. Fontaine believes the visual arts acts as a catharsis that nourishes emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual growth while making art.
Whess Harman is a queer, mixed-race, trans/non-binary artist, born in prince rupert, BC in 1990 and is a member of the Lake Babine Nation. Their work uses multi-media strategies in print, text and illustration to address issues of representation and memory. Whess completed a BFA at emily carr university in 2014. They have attended residencies at the banff art centre in 2014 and 2016 and at plug-in ICA in winnipeg in 2017. On-going work in includes beadwork and DIY strategies around punk aesthetics creating “Indigenous Punk” jacket series, as well as text based wheat-pasting projects.
Meagan Musseau is an interdisciplinary visual artist of Mi’kmaq and French ancestry from the community of Curling in the Bay of Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador––Elamstukwek, Ktaqmkuk territory of Mi’kma’ki. She works with customary art practices and new media, such as beadwork, basketry, land-based action and installation to explore memory, language, and the relationship between land and body, object and narrative. Musseau graduated with a BFA in Visual Art from Grenfell Campus Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. She was a member of the Indigenous Emerging Artist Program 2015-16 on unceded Coast Salish territory and has participated in artist residencies both nationally and internationally, at such venues as; Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Alberta; Centre for Book and Paper Arts, Columbia College Chicago, Illinois, United States; University of Brighton Fine Art Printmaking, Brighton, England; and the National Artist Program, 2011 Canada Games, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her work has been supported by awards such as the Emerging Artist Award, VANL-CARFAC (2018); Atlantic Canadian Emerging Artist Residency at the Banff Centre, the Hnatyshyn Foundation (2018); Aboriginal Arts Development Award, First Peoples’ Cultural Council (2016); and Corner Brook Emerging Artist of the Year (2013).
Following a very conscious departure from architectural academia, Rhayne Vermette (b. 1982, Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba), figured a distinctive craft within the construction of images through film and photography. Primarily self-taught, and under the influence of post-war Italian architects, Vermette’s work is ignited by themes from the Decadent movement as well as notions of the indeterminate. Her artistic practice comes into focus through a volume of analogue moving images works exceeding over 20 short films. These films have screened at innumerable occasions including Images Film Festival, Jihlava International Film Festival, Festival du Nouveau Cinema, European Media Arts Festival, DOXA, Melbourne International Animation Festival, the Architecture Biennale, and so on …
Though treading the artistic landscape under the guise of a filmmaker, the ephemera from this practice is unconditionally instructed by a camouflaged contemporary art practice. Across this expanse, you will find spatial inquiries articulated through images sculpted at varying scales – from microscopic collages fixed onto individual 16mm cells to a flip of the mirror portraying vast landscapes or insipid spaces through 35mm still photography.
Rhayne lives and works in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
About the Curator:
Jennifer Smith is a Métis curator, writer and arts administrator in Winnipeg, Canada. Jennifer has been working in arts administration for ten years, and has worked for organizations such as the Costume Museum of Canada, the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library, the Winnipeg Film Group, and currently at Video Pool Media Arts Centre. Jennifer is the President of the board for the Coalition of Canadian Independent Media Art Distributors that runs VUCAVU.com. She has curated exhibits and video programs for the Manitoba Craft Council, Video Pool Media Arts Centre, Open City Cinema, MAWA, and the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library. Jennifer is the Indigenous Curator in Residence at aceartinc. from March to August 2018.
Indigenous Curatorial Residency & Exhibition
A partnership between aceartinc. & the National Indigenous Media Artists Coalition funded by the Winnipeg Foundation
Indigenous Artists and curators are underrepresented in contemporary art galleries, Artist-Run Centres, and art publications in Canada. The purpose of this Indigenous Curatorial Residency is to provide space and support for Indigenous curators and artists to develop and disseminate their practices.
Thanks to the Winnipeg Foundation’s 2015 Community Grant, the Indigenous Curatorial Residency was an incredibly effective project that recentred the work of Indigenous artists and curators and engaged Indigenous and non-indigenous audiences. aceartinc. created its first Indigenous Curatorial Residency (ICR) in partnership with the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective (ACC-CCA) in 2015 and Niki Little was selected to be the curator.
ICR forms connections to, and between, the city’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, thinkers, and public. The first ICR had a profound impact on ace, not only through the exhibition Niki Little mounted but it also led to a significant increase in applications from (and subsequent selections of) self-identified Indigenous artists to the 2016 Regular Exhibition call.
Indigenous Curatorial Residency 2018
In partnership with the National Indigenous Media Artists Coalition (NIMAC) and with the continued generous support of the Winnipeg Foundation, we are delighted to implement the second Indigenous Curatorial Residency.
We are inviting applications from Indigenous curators in Canada wishing to exhibit contemporary artists working in any medium. The curator will be selected by a jury consisting of 2 NIMAC staff/board members and 2 ace staff/board members. We invite applications from Indigenous curators including emerging curators or Indigenous artists seeking an opportunity to curate.
The curator will undertake a 6 month residency within aceartinc. from February – July 2018 to work on a specific exhibition. The end of the residency will culminate in the exhibition being mounted in the Main Gallery in July 2018.
The curator will be based in Winnipeg and given a workspace in the aceartinc. office where you will receive support from the Director, the Finance & Administration Manager, ace’s board, and the National Director of NIMAC, who is based in Winnipeg. There will also be formal monthly meetings with NIMAC and aceartinc.
During the residency, the curator will organize and mount their exhibition, complete the curatorial essay, undertake studio visits with local artists, and deliver a public talk.
ace will provide administrative support in terms of office space, access to equipment, internet, and telephone, installation guidance, technical assistance, and introductions into local networks and community. ace will also manage the publication of the essay. The desk and other resources are for the curator’s convenience and will be accessible 24 hours, 7 days a week. He/she/they are not expected to keep strict office hours.
The curator (if not currently living in Winnipeg) is expected to spend the majority of the 6 months in Winnipeg in order to work on the exhibition in situ and form strong connections with local artists, curators, and writers and strengthen networks here: a very important part of this residency. However, the accommodation can be flexible in response to the curator’s needs- for example, an apartment may be rented, or a room in a hotel, or equivalent accommodation within the given budget.
Residency begins 1 February 2018
Exhibition July/ August- exact dates TBC
Residency ends 31 July 2018
– $6000 fee; paid in monthly installments over 6 months
– Up to $1100/ month towards 6 months of accommodation and living expenses in Winnipeg.
The exhibition (in accordance with CARCC/CARFAC rates)
Artist fees for up to 3 curated artists
Artist talk fees for up to 3 curated artists
Travel assistance for up to 3 curated artists
We will be accepting submissions by email only. Please send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org, titled “ICR submission”. Call if you have questions- 204 944 9763.
Please provide the following:
A Curatorial Statement (one page)
An exhibition proposal that includes a detailed description of the project, artists you wish to exhibit (including letters of confirmation from those artists), timelines. (two pages)
Schedule of activities (one page, if applicable)
An equipment list or itemization of special technical needs (one page, if applicable)
A CV, including contact information (up to four pages)
An image list (one page)
You may include up to 20 images presented as one PDF document.
Individual images must be jpegs 72dpi, 1024 x 768 pixel, 500k (.5 MB) RGB or SRGB only. Images that are larger than this will not be viewed.
No PowerPoint, DVDs, or CD-Rs please.
Video may be submitted through a link to Vimeo, YouTube or other accessible websites.
Audio is accepted in MP3, WAV or AIFF format only.
At this time we can only accept submissions in English.
Create two separate PDF files: one consisting of your cover letter, artist statement, project proposal, CV, image list and schedule of activities/equipment list. The other file will consist of your support materials. Label the files with your full name.
Indigenous Curatorial Residency 1: 2015-16
In partnership with the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and with the generous support of the Winnipeg Foundation, aceartinc. has created an Indigenous Curatorial Residency.
The purpose of this project is to better support indigenous curators’ and artists’ work and disseminate their practices to our city’s artists, thinkers, and public via aceartinc.’s gallery and digital platforms.
We want to make our Artist-Run Centre more visible in the indigenous contemporary art community and be known as a welcoming and supportive place for emerging artists and curators. By doing so we anticipate that aceartinc. will be used more by indigenous people and increase the applications to our annual call for submissions and thereby the chances of showing more work by this group.
Niki Little was selected by a committee of ACC and aceart staff and boardn (Mylene Guay, hannah_g, Peter Morin, Jamie Wright, Dayna Danger, Helga Jakobson) on June 15, 2015, to be the Indigenous Curator in Residence. She began the residency in August 2015 and it ends in February 2016.
Image: Length of Grief; video still; 2016. Amy Malbeuf. Image credit: Jordan Bennett.
The first Indigenous Curatorial Residency Exhibition
enendaman | anminigook
Wendy Red Star , Amy Malbeuf, Kenneth Lavallee, Jeneen Frei Njootli
Curated by Niki Little
Opening Friday 8 January 2016, 7pm with a performance by Jeneen Frei Njootli.
Group artist talk: Saturday 9 January, noon.
enendaman | anminigook (intention | worth) brings together four contemporary artists whose works reference the Indigenous traditions/teachings, matriarchy, and genetic memory that reverberate between the past and present.
enendaman | anminigook investigates the complexities of authorship within contemporary Indigenous art. The exhibition features new works from: Wendy Red Star (PO), Amy Malbeuf (AB), Kenneth Lavallee (MB), and Jeneen Frei Njootli (BC). It spans cultural practices such as regalia, caribou hair tufting, mark making, and Ceremony utilizing the mediums of sculpture, painting, video, and performance. Together the works act upon and expose a unique authorship/voice inspired by Indigenous matriarchy that is grounded in the artists’ personal experience. The exhibition highlights elements of Indigenous social, political, Ceremonial, and physical territories that were passed on by Indigenous females. These territories are acknowledged by each artist as Indigenous knowledge bases that are composed of history, blood memory, stories, and matriarchy that transcend time. The authorship becomes shared: the artist remains central in the work but there is a sense of the continuum of Indigenous knowledges that celebrates recentering Indigenous women through actions of generative processes and resistance.
“Our hands live and work in the present, while pulling on the past. It is impossible for us to not do both. / Our hands make a future.” – A Gathering of Spirit, Beth Brant, 1984
This exhibition is the result of a unique partnership between aceartinc. and the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective that is funded by the Winnipeg Foundation. The Indigenous Curatorial Residency is an initiative that provides support for an emerging Indigenous curator to mount an exhibition. enendaman | anminigook is Niki Little’s first curatorial project. The title of the exhibition is in Oji-Cree from Kistiganwacheeng, Treaty 5 territory.
Chi-miigs also to the Canada Council, Manitoba Arts Council, and the Winnipeg Arts Council for their ongoing support.
Niki Little is an artist/observer and arts administrator whose works extends from curating, arts coordination and a studio-based practice. She is interested in artistic and curatorial strategies that investigate cultural consumerism, gender, and cultural Diaspora with a hint of youth-inspired ambivalence along the way. She is a member of The Ephemerals, a female Indigenous art collective based out of Winnipeg, MB.
Wendy Red Star is of Crow and Irish descent from Billings MT, just outside of the Crow Indian reservation where she was raised. She holds an MFA in sculpture from UCLA. Red Star’s work explores the intersection between life on the Crow Indian reservation and the world outside of that environment. She currently lives in Portland (OR) where she is an adjunct professor of art at Portland State University.
Amy Malbeuf is a Métis visual artist from Rich Lake, Alberta, Canada. Malbeuf utilizes the practices of caribou hair tufting, beadwork, installation, and performance to explores notions of identity, place, language, and ecology. Malbeuf lives and works in Kelowna where she is working towards an MFA from the University of British Columbia Okanagan.
Kenneth Lavallee is a Winnipeg born artist, an alumnus of the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Primarily through the use of painting, drawing, and silkscreen, Kenneth produces personal work embracing traditional ideas of balance, interdependence, and order in nature — the cosmos, both aesthetically and thematically.
Jeneen Frei Njootli is a Gwich’in artist and a founding member of the ReMatriate collective. Her practice concerns itself with Indigeneity-in-politics, community engagement, and productive disruptions. Frei Njootli graduated with a BFA from Emily Carr University and is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree as an uninvited guest on unceded Musqueam territory at the University of British Columbia.
enendaman | anminigook
Wendy Redstar, Amy Malbeuf, Kenneth Lavallee, Jeneen Frei Njootli
Commissaire: Niki Little
Vernissage le vendredi 8 janvier 2016 à 19 h avec une performance par Jeneen Frei Njootli.
Causerie du groupe d’artistes : le samedi 9 janvier à midi
Causerie sur le contenu : le samedi 6 février à 13 h
Un panel de discussion : Jaimie Isaac – commissaire en résidence autochtone/contemporaine, le Musée des beaux-arts de Winnipeg; Becca Taylor – commissaire autochtone en résidence, la galerie Urban Shaman : février, temps et lieu à déterminer
Présenté par aceartinc. et la Aboriginal Curatorial Collective.
Salle 2, 290 avenue McDermot, Winnipeg (Man.) R3B 0T2 | 204 944 9763 | email@example.com
Subventionné par la Winnipeg Foundation.
enendaman | anminigook (l’intention/la valeur) rassemble les œuvres de quatre artistes contemporains qui font référence aux enseignements et aux traditions autochtones, la matriarchie, et la mémoire génétique qui réverbère entre le présent et le passé.
enendaman | anminigook explore les complexités des droits d’auteur de l’art indigène contemporain. L’exposition met en montre de nouvelles œuvres de : Wendy Red Star (PO), Amy Malbeuf (Alta.), Kenneth Lavallee (Man.), et Jeneen Frei Njootli (C.-B.). L’exposition présente des pratiques culturelles telles que les habits, le touffetage de fil de poils de caribou, la création de marques, et la Cérémonie, en se servant des médiums de la sculpture, de la peinture, de la vidéo et de la performance. Les œuvres agissent ensemble et exposent les droits d’auteur de l’œuvre unique, surtout de la voix inspirée de la matriarchie indigène qui est ancrée dans l’expérience personnelle des artistes. L’exposition souligne les éléments indigènes sociaux, politiques, cérémoniaux et les territoires physiques qui leur ont été légués par les femmes indigènes. Ces territoires sont reconnus par chaque artiste comme étant des connaissances indigènes constituées de l’histoire, de la mémoire du sang, des histoires et de la matriarchie qui transcendent le temps. Cela devient une œuvre de collaboration : l’artiste est toujours central à l’œuvre mais il y a un sens d’un continuum de connaissances indigènes qui célèbrent un recentrage des femmes indigènes par la mise en action de processus génératifs et de la résistance.
« Nos mains vivent et œuvrent dans le présent, tout en tirant sur le passé. Il est impossible pour nous de ne pas faire les deux. / Nos mains façonnent le futur. » – A Gathering of Spirit, Beth Brant, 1984
Cette exposition est le résultat d’un partenariat unique entre aceartinc. et le Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, subventionnée par la Winnipeg Foundation. La Indigenous Curatorial Residency est une initiative qui prête appui à un commissaire indigène émergent pour lui permettre de monter une exposition. enendaman | anminigook est le premier projet de Niki Little en tant que commissaire. Le titre de l’exposition est en oji-cri de Kistiganwacheeng, territoire Treaty 5.
Nous remercions également le Conseil des arts du Canada, le Conseil des arts du Manitoba et le Conseil des arts de Winnipeg de leur appui continu.
Traduction : Simone Hébert Allard