What We Bring With Us

Opening Celebration: January 28, 6-8 pm
On view:
 January 29–April 12, 2020
Artist Panel: February 1, 2 pm

Performance Workshop with Cheyenne Rain LeGrande ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ
on March 14, 2-4 pm

The works of seven emerging Indigenous artists will be exploring the questions:

What does it mean to be a guest in this territory in relation to Indigeneity?

How do we as Indigenous artists relate to the land we occupy while also acknowledging our presence as visitors?

Cheyenne Rain LeGrande ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ  (Nehiyaw)
Jake Kimble (Deninu K’ue)
Lacie Burning (Kanien’kehá:ka, Mohawk)
Maria-Margaretta (Métis)
M.V. Williams (Skwxú7mesh, Wet’suwet’en)
Taran Kootenhayoo (Denesułįné, Nakoda Sioux)
Whess Harman (Carrier Wit’at)

These seven Indigenous artists will be creating works on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people that are originally from outside this territory. In What We Bring With Us, the artists’ work speaks to their relationship to this land and kinship founded through displacement in works ranging from photography to performance. 

Guest curated by Maria-Margaretta

Artwork by Lacie Burning, My Dad’s Boots

Canadian Art Magazine Features Cover Artwork by Mimi Gellman

Artwork by artist and ECU Associate Professor Mimi Gellman was selected to appear on the cover of the current issue of Canadian Art magazine.

The gleaming, otherworldly image graces the magazine’s issue on antimatter — a subject which “presents a mirror world of abstract phenomena: time reversals, mutual annihilation, cosmic rays, cloud chambers, an infinite sea of sub-atomic particles that parallels our ‘real’ world of matter,” according to the issue’s editors.

Mimi describes her work as approaching some of the affinities between the biological, the perceptual, the cultural and the astronomical. “My drawings do not explore the exterior world we perceive but rather what I call the ‘architecture of consciousness’ which permits us to perceive it,” she says. 
”Recalling astronomical diagrams and reflecting the mixture of hybrid cultural worldviews in my background, they reveal deep similarities between the dimension explored by sub-atomic physics and the implicit interiority of contemporary art.”

Full article by Perrin Grauer: https://www.ecuad.ca/news/2020/canadian-art-magazine-features-cover-artwork-by-mimi-gellman

Thirza Cuthand NFB Film

ECU alum Thirza Cuthand shares a family oral story about a Two Spirit person travelling the Plains in pre-contact times.

Fifty years after the passing of Canada’s Bill C-150, which partially decriminalized homosexuality, celebrated Canadian artists including filmmaker and ECU alum Thirza Cuthand (BFA, 2005) are sharing work that reflects on LGBTQ2+ lives and identities in a new short-film collection from the National Film Board, called Five@50.

In Thirza’s contribution, a short documentary entitled Woman Dress which features dramatized re-enactments, the filmmaker’s Auntie Beth recounts a family oral story of the film’s eponymous Two Spirit protagonist. In pre-contact times, Woman Dress Woman Dress travels from village to village across the Plains, collecting and telling stories, and sharing news.

According the NFB’s synopsis of the film, the survival of Woman Dress within the oral tradition of the Cuthand family is “an act of resistance against colonialism and Christianity, which almost eradicated the position of Two Spirit people in Cree communities.
In creating a backdrop for Woman Dress’ story, the film draws on archival NFB footage of the Prairies, as well as images of contemporary urban settings. Thirza also uses a particular linguistic strategy to show reverence for the the story of the film’s protagonist:

“Cree has no gendered pronouns, and the film honours and respects Woman Dress’s gender identity by alternating she/he pronouns instead of imposing a colonial binary system on them,” the synopsis notes. “[The film] is a powerful act of reclaiming history and present-day space for Two Spirit people.”

Full article by Perrin Grauer: https://www.ecuad.ca/news/2019/filmmakers-reflect-on-lgbtq2-lives-and-identity-in-new-collection


Indigenous Brilliance

Whess Harman and Lacie Burning at Indigenous Brilliance
NOVEMBER 22 7-9:30 pm Massy Books 229 Georgia St, Vancouver
This event is FREE and wheelchair accesssible.

 Indigenous Brilliance is Room Magazine and Massy Books’ quarterly reading series dedicated to raising the voices of Indigenous women, Two-Spirit and queer writers, artists and storytellers. Featuring artists and poets from across Turtle Island, it is the result of different communities coming together with a shared vision of Indigenous resurgence.

Lacie Burning is a Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) multi-disciplinary artist and curator raised on Six Nations of the Grand River located in Southern Ontario. They work in photography, video, installation, and sculpture and will graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Emily Carr University of Art + Design with a focus on Indigenous Art. Having come from a culturally and politically grounded upbringing, their work focuses on politics of Indigeneity and identity from a Haudenosaunee perspective.

Whess Harman (they/them pronouns) is a Carrier Wit’at/mixed race, trans (ftn) indigiqueer. They graduated from the emily carr university’s bachelor of fine arts program in 2014.
Their on-going work includes beading and DIY strategies around punk aesthetics creating the “Potlatch Punk” series; a collection of modified and embellished jackets that blend traditional materials with punk aesthetics to discuss urban Indigenous identity, resistance, visibility and understandings of wealth. Their poetry and text-based projects seek to explore the possibilities of reciprocal engagement in dialogue. They make zines about dating (badly), queer and trans identity, and are also sporadically writing and drawing a comic called cryboy about over-emoting spirits and queerness in a post-apocalyptic future.
They are currently a curatorial intern at grunt gallery and co-curated the Together Apart, Queer Indigeneities 2SQ/Indigiqueer Symposium with Kali Spitzer and are the de-facto editor of the Together Apart Zine.


image: Indigenous Brilliance instagram

Elisa Harkins

Aboriginal Gathering Place Speaker Series
We are very pleased to present artist and composer Elisa Harkins!

Please join us at the Aboriginal Gathering Place on
Thursday, November 21 at 11:30-12:30pm

Elisa Harkins is a Native American (Cherokee/Muscogee) artist and composer originally hailing from Miami, Oklahoma. Harkins received her BA from Columbia College Chicago and her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. She has since continued her education at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work is concerned with translation, language preservation, and Indigenous musicology. Harkins uses the Muscogee and Cherokee languages, electronic music, sculpture, and the body as her tools. She has exhibited her work at The Broad Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, documenta 14, The Hammer Museum, MCA Chicago, MOCA North Miami, and Vancouver Art Gallery. Harkins is currently a mentor at the School of the Art Institute Chicago, she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow, and she is an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) tribe.


Motion and Movement: An Interview with Mark Igloliorte

Interdisciplinary artist Mark Igloliorte investigates and communicates his connection to his Inuit heritage primarily through painting and drawing. Since his teens, Igloliorte has also been an avid skateboarder, a practice which also informs how he plays with a shifting relationship to the landscape and ideas of place. IAQ Contributing Editor Emily Henderson spoke with Igloliorte about working with new artistic mediums, his influences, and motion and movement.

Motion and Movement: An Interview with Mark Igloliorte

Mark Igloliorte Pulâttik Angiggak (2019)

Pushing Boundaries 2019

CityScape Community ArtSpace | October 11 – November 16, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 10 from 7 – 9pm

Pushing Boundaries is a biennial group exhibition showcasing and celebrating contemporary Indigenous artists.

Indigenous cultures across North America use blankets in symbolic ways throughout their communities. These artists reference the narratives rooted in their own nations and relate them back to pattern, textile, shape, form or material. The blanket metaphor represents a way that we can use the deep connections of spirit while pushing a contemporary perspective on Indigenous ways of knowing.

James (Nexw’Kalus-Xwalacktun) Harry

Participating artists include: Cheximiya Allison Burns Joseph, Krystle Coughlin, Ocean Hyland, Atheana Picha, Michelle Sound, Manuel Axel Strain, Xwalacktun, Richard Heikkilä-Sawan, and Tiyaltelwet Melanie Rivers.

Curated by James (Nexw’Kalus-Xwalacktun) Harry.

Poster Image: HBC Trapline by Michelle Sound

Yukon First Nations Elders aided post-secondary leaders in sharing experiences, challenges and best practices around meaningful institutional reconciliation

Emily Carr University’s President and Vice-Chancellor Gillian Siddall and ECU Associate Director of Aboriginal Programs Connie Watts were among the presidents, vice-presidents and reconciliation leads from 31 colleges and universities to attend the inaugural Perspectives on Reconciliation summer institute which took place across Yukon in Dawson City, Whitehorse and Carcross last month.

According to the Yukon College, “daily sessions, facilitated by Mathieya Alatini, former chief of the Kluane First Nation and Dr. Robert Daum of the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University, explored ways to advance reconciliation through various aspects of post-secondary institutions — services and space, programs and research, and policy and governance.”

With wisdom and guidance from Yukon First Nations Elders Angie Joseph-Rear, Randall Tetlichi, Elizabeth Moses and Philip Gatensby, the post-secondary leaders shared experiences, challenges and best practices with regards to bringing reconciliation into practice in a substantive, meaningful way within their respective institutions.

At the end of the week, participants proposed concrete steps to accomplish meaningful, permanent institutional movement toward reconciliation for their students, staff and faculty.

Gillian left feeling inspired to find further ways for Emily Carr to Indigenize its programming, she told the CBC at the time.

In particular, she zeroed in on a remark from Connie, who suggested the phrase “art and design” might be replaced by the word “creation,” to encourage a broader, less rigidly Eurocentric conception of creative work, she said.

Full article by Perrin Grauer :

Meet the new Associate Director of Aboriginal Programs

“If everything in this world is a living part of you, how would you speak to it?”

For Connie Watts, Emily Carr University’s recently-hired Associate Director of Aboriginal Programs, there’s only one answer.

And Connie — over the course of describing her extraordinary journey, and the ways in which her unique experiences as an artist, designer and educator interact with her perspectives as a woman of Nuu-chah-nulth, Gitxsan and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestry — gently illustrates that answer again and again.

Consider the process of critiquing an artwork, she offers.

“You’re not critiquing an object, you’re critiquing a living thing,” she says.

“And if it was a living being in front of you, you wouldn’t disrespect it. You would look and find what the strengths were, and how you could help build those strengths. You would learn to understand the piece through the life of it.”

The same goes in any learning situation, whether art or life, she adds. In acknowledging the fundamental equality between ourselves and the world around us, we find ourselves responsible to care for the world as we care for our own flesh and blood.

Applying such a worldview to the governance of spaces such as universities, businesses or professional relationships, she notes, is part of what decolonization is about.

“In this world today, we’re looking for this odd thing called ‘perfection.’ But’s that’s a ‘imposed human concept’,” she says.

It’s also an idea that begs further questions, she adds, such as “whose idea of perfection are we referring to?” The same goes for academia, she notes. Whose idea of what constitutes academia are we pledging allegiance to when we accept or reject strategies regarding pedagogy, scholarship and research?

To commit to interrogating our assumptions about these terms — perfection, academia, self vs. other — is to commit to developing our understanding “about how you open doors to different ways of understanding and knowing.”

This task, Connie suggests, is a crucial undertaking for contemporary educators, and is very much at the heart of her own approach to education.

Full article and Profile of Connie Watts by Perrin Grauer :

ECU announces the hiring of four full-time Indigenous faculty members

Emily Carr University of Art + Design is pleased to announce the hiring of four full-time Indigenous faculty members.

Gina Adams joins ECU as Assistant Professor, Foundation; Christine Howard Sandoval comes on board as Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Art Praxis; Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill will be taking on a role as Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Art Praxis; and Jay White joins the university as Assistant Professor, Foundation.

They bring their years of scholarship, achievement and experience to the university as part of a cluster hiring initiative designed to introduce an interdisciplinary group of Indigenous academics to the university at the same time. Their hiring nearly doubles the number of tenured and tenure-track Indigenous faculty at the university.

“Indigenizing the university is part of the serious responsibility we have to each other, the land and the future,” says Dr. Gillian Siddall, President and Vice-Chancellor.

“We are thrilled to welcome these new faculty members to the ECU community as we open up discourses on the role of art, design and media in the reconciliation process. It is our duty to foster diverse and inclusive environments that encourage our students to be part of transforming the institution and reflect the varied perspectives of our community.”
Indigeneity is a core priority of ECU’s strategic plan, which includes an ongoing commitment to increase the number of full-time Indigenous faculty. In pursuing this goal, ECU reaffirms its commitment to acting on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

The university continues to work on integrating Indigenous knowledge systems into its curriculum, pedagogy, governance and research. To that end, ECU is currently recruiting a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Futurisms and Artistic Research to join the university starting in 2020.

Full article and faculty Bios by Perrin Grauer :