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The Hands Talk: Aboriginal Student Exhibition

The Hands Talk: Aboriginal Student Exhibition
March 4th – 14th, 2019
Opening Celebration – March 4th 4:30 p.m.
Curators: Diane Blunt, Zoe Cire, Shawna Kiesman

Curatorial Brief:
The Hands Talk narrates a multifaceted memoir of the individualistic experience made
as Indigenous artists. One speaks through their hands in physically creating tangible
artworks that thereupon catalyze conversation, emotion and the sharing of knowledge.
The Hands Talk calls upon the diverse and numerous voices of different nations and
communities as Indigenous artists, each echoing a distinct acknowledgement of home.
Through diversity, there is a universal language shared between artists that enables
unity. In physically using our hands to produce art, we are granted expression that
consolidates a form of communication, linking us as Indigenous makers. Through the
work of hands the artist has the ability to shape vocabulary and synthesize voices
throughout the North American expanse. The Hands Talk allows Indigenous artists to
speak a language fusing our hand made stories.

Respectfully, Emily Carr University is located on unceded, traditional and ancestral
xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ
(Tsleil-Waututh) territories.

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Ann Beam and Carl Beam: Spaces for Reading

Ann Beam and Carl Beam: Spaces for Reading
Jan 15 – Apr 18, 2019
  SFU Gallery

Spaces for Reading brings together works by Ann Beam and Carl Beam, two artists that question the construction of history and knowledge through systems of classification and representation with post-colonial, feminist and ecological lenses. The works are from two series held in the SFU Art Collection and demonstrate the ways in which these artists informed one another: in their shared life together, through artistic methodologies and with subjects that critique structures of power and ideas of progress while underpinning notions of time and space.

Within the exhibition, the gallery will host a reading room with texts selected in response to Ann Beam and Carl Beam’s work by poet Mackenzie Ground and by artist Sandra Semchuk in collaboration with writer Richard Hill. Like the works that surround it, the space for reading is anachronistic, challenging a linear historical perspective and dominant research methods. Reading lists will be available to take away.

Richard Hill is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Studies at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. His column Close Readings, featuring extended reviews of contemporary Indigenous art, ran in Fuse and C Magazine. He also has an irregular column at canadianart.ca. He is currently on the editorial board of the journal Third Text.


Cover image: Carl Beam, Untitled [Sperm Whales], 1998 (detail)


Joi Arcand

Aboriginal Gathering Place Speaker Series

We are very pleased to present artist Joi Arcand!
Wednesday, January 30 at 11:30am

Joi T. Arcand is an artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory, currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Great Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan in 2005. Recent solo exhibitions include Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff, AB); ODD Gallery (Dawson City, Yukon); Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon); Wanuskewin Heritage Park (Saskatoon); Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina); Gallery 101 (Ottawa). Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including at the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Karsh-Masson Art Gallery (Ottawa); McMaster Museum of Art (Hamilton, ON); The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design (Asheville, North Carolina); Woodland School at SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art (Montreal); Ottawa Art Gallery; PAVED Arts (Saskatoon); and grunt gallery (Vancouver). Arcand has been artist in residence at Wanuskewin Heritage Park (Saskatoon); OCAD University; Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art; the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity; and Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (Dawson City, Yukon). She has served as chair of the board of directors for PAVED Arts in Saskatoon and was the co-founder of the Red Shift Gallery, a contemporary aboriginal art gallery in Saskatoon. She was founder and editor of the Indigenous art magazine, kimiwan (2012-2014), and most recently curated Language of Puncture at Gallery 101 (Ottawa).
Cover Photo by Scott Benesiinaabandan


Photo by Sweetmoon Photography


Cedar Sage & Sweetgrass

IMG_9041Cedar Sage & Sweetgrass Art Show⠀
November 17 & 18⠀100 Braid St Studios⠀New Westminster⠀⠀
Over fifteen contemporary indigenous artists and performers. ⠀
Food and Drink⠀

Cedar, Sage and Sweetgrass is an eclectic community of contemporary indigenous artists who are inspired by each other and who want to share their work in new ways. The group features artists who produce drawings, paintings, beading, woodworking, carving, Silversmithing and even dress making.

Rebecca Belmore and installation views of her career retrospective at the AGO

Rebecca Belmore

The Jake Kerr Faculty of Graduate Studies and The Aboriginal Gathering Place Speaker Series

We are very pleased to present Rebecca Belmore
Tuesday November 20, 201
8 6pm

Rebecca Belmore is a member of Lac Seul First Nation (Anishinaabe), and is an internationally recognized multidisciplinary artist currently residing in Toronto. Rooted in the political and social realities of Indigenous communities, Belmore’s works make evocative connections among bodies, land and language. Her exhibitions: include Biinjiya’iing Onji (From Inside), documenta 14 (2017); KWE: The Work of Rebecca Belmore, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (2011); Rebecca Belmore: Rising to the Occasion, Vancouver Art Gallery (2008); and Fountain, Venice Biennale (2005). Performances include: Facing the Monumental (2012); Victorious (2011); X (2010); Vigil (2002); Wild (2001), and Creation or Death We Will Win (1991). Belmore’s sculptures and installations include Wave Sound, Parks Canada, 2017; Trace, Canadian Museum for Human Rights (2014), and Ayum-ee-aawach Oomama-mowan: Speaking to Their Mother, (performances 1991, 1992, 1996 and 2008). Belmore received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2013, the Hnatyshyn Visual Arts Award in 2009, the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation’s VIVA Award in 2004, and an OCAD University Honorary Doctorate in 2005. Also in 2005, she was Canada’s official representative at the Venice Biennale. In 2016, Rebecca was awarded the prestigious Gershon Iskowitz Prize by the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario. Rebecca was also a 2018 recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from ECUAD.

Please join us at The Reliance Theatre, ECUAD at 6pm

belmore poster


Indigenous Talking Circle

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 11:30 AM – 12:50 PM

The Emily Carr Students’ Union and Aboriginal Gathering Place are hosting the first Indigenous Talking Circle of the year. Come hear about Indigenous students’ experiences on campus, ask questions in a safe and respectful space, and learn from each other. All are welcome.

Free bannock and tea.



Dana Claxton

Aboriginal Gathering Place Speaker Series

We are very pleased to present artist Dana Claxton!
Wednesday, November 28 11:30am

Dana Claxton works in film, video, photography, single- and multi-channel video installation, and performance art. Her practice investigates beauty, the body, the socio-political, and the spiritual. Her work has been shown internationally at the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Walker Art Centre, Sundance Film Festival, Eiteljorg Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney) and held in public collections including the Vancouver Art Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, Art Bank of Canada, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. She has received numerous awards including the VIVA Award and the Eiteljorg Fellowship.

Claxton was born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, and her family reserve is Lakota First Nations – Wood Mountain, located in beautiful southwest Saskatchewan. Her paternal Euro-Canadian grandmother taught her how to harvest and preserve food and her maternal Lakota grandmother taught her to seek justice. Dana is the youngest of four siblings, an auntie, niece, cousin, and daughter.


Baby Girlz Gotta Mustang, a lightjet C-print photograph by Dana Claxton. From Mustang Suite.


Artist Kim Stewart Brings Traditional Tanning to ECU

Métis artist Kim Stewart spent the first week of October in residence at the Aboriginal Gathering Place, welcoming the entire Emily Carr community to join her in the process of traditionally tanning a deer hide. Kim, an interdisciplinary artist based in Kamloops, has been practicing hide tanning for nearly 20 years. She also describes her practice as Metissage, defined as a woven mix of cultural thinking.

Kim holds associate degrees in Fine Art, Illustration and Graphic Design, and a Master’s Degree in Art Education from SFU. At SFU she was supervised by Celeste Snowber, and became interested in exploring her Métis identity through art.

Kim spent many years as an instructor at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, teaching fine arts, web and graphic design, and Aboriginal studies. She also developed an online curriculum that combines artistic practice, research and critical writing to explore and define Métis history. In particular, her course studies how Métis women were economically involved in Canada through the production of textiles and goods like octopus bags and hide garments.
Historically, Métis women would use animal hides to make garments that reflected European fashions. Handmade  waistcoats and overcoats made from hide and decorated with porcupine quills and beadwork were produced by Métis artisans and worn by prominent Canadian politicians in the 19th century.
“One of the fun things I do in my course is a comparison between the waistcoats in England and the Metis-Canadian version,” says Kim, “The students also do caribou tufting and finger weaving to better understand what it would have been like to be a Métis person during that time, and also the contributions that the Métis women made to Canadian identity.”
In 1998, Kim and Dr. Heather Young-Leslie received a Canada Council for the Arts grant to study the process of recreating traditional Métis hide garments. “We couldn’t find any Métis elders who were still tanning hides,” says Kim, “but these two Carrier ladies were still doing it on a regular basis, so we wooed them with tea and cookies and they agreed to teach us.”

The traditional method for preparing hides is not for the faint of heart, as it relies on a special ingredient: animal brains. “There’s an enzyme in the brains that breaks down the connective tissue in the skin.” The same enzyme can be found in egg yolks, though Kim has found that yolks don’t work as well. The Carrier women who taught her the method used kerosene and brake fluid, but Kim wanted to share a non-toxic method with the Emily Carr community. Brains are not without their challenges: “They decompose faster than anything else,” says Kim, “And sometimes they liquify right in your hands as you try to collect it.”

Her residency at the AGP marked her first time using the brain-curing process. “First you scrape the hair and membranes off the hide,” Kim explains, “Then you heat up lard and brains, and rub those in.” After that, the hide is soaked, washed, stretched, and wrung out until dry. “It’s hard work,” says Kim, “You have to work it until it’s dry or it stiffens up.”
Once it’s soft (“like flannel”), Kim smokes the hide. It’s sewn into a pillowcase shape and then placed over a bucket of smoldering spruce. The smoke releases the tannins from the wood, which give the hide its distinctive colour and waterproofs it.
Kim plans to leave the tanned deer hide at Emily Carr for students and other members of the community to use as a material in their own art practices.
To learn more about Kim and her work, visit her website.




Jeneen Frei Njootli

Aboriginal Gathering Place Speaker Series

We are very pleased to present artist Jeneen Frei Njootli!
Monday, October 22 11:30am

Jeneen Frei Njootli is an interdisciplinary artist, co-creator of the ReMatriate Collective and a member of Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation who has been living and working as an uninvited guest on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, Sto:lo and Tsleil­Waututh territories for a decade. She uses mixed media, sound-based performances, textiles and installation work to explore history embedded in cultural materials, geopolitics and the politics of Indigenous art. For her recent Media Arts Residency at the Western Front in Vancouver, she hosted a free workshop on how to create and update Wikipedia pages for Indigenous women artists. The 2017 recipient of the Contemporary Art Society Vancouver Artist Prize, she has exhibited at the Fierman Gallery in New York, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and the Vancouver Art Gallery among others. After graduating from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in 2012, Frei Njootli completed her MFA at the University of British Columbia in 2017.


Billy-Ray Belcourt

Aboriginal Gathering Place Speaker Series

We are very pleased to present Billy-Ray Belcourt!
Thursday, October 18 11:30am

Billy-Ray Belcourt (he/him) is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He is a Ph.D. student and 2018 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar in the Department of English & Film Studies at the University of Alberta; he is at work on a creative-theoretical project called “The Conspiracy of NDN Joy.” He is also a 2016 Rhodes Scholar and holds an M.St. in Women’s Studies from the University of Oxford and Wadham College. 

Billy-Ray’s debut book of poems, This Wound is a World (Frontenac House 2017), won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize and the 2018 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize. It was also named the Most Significant Book of Poetry in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer at the 2018 Indigenous Voices Awards. It was also named by CBC Books as the best “Canadian poetry” collection of 2017.

His sophomore book, NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field, is due out in the fall of 2019 with House of Anansi Press.