I’ve always been a creative person. When I was a child, going to an arts and crafts store was like the equivalent of Disneyland to me. I also loved to read and write stories that I’m sure I endlessly annoyed the people around me with. Both of my parents were musicians–my grandfather was a playwright and many of my friends are artists–so I’ve been greatly influenced by them. In addition, I’m currently taking a minor in Creative Expression and Society and have had the opportunity to take some creative writing courses (my favourite). I’ve also enrolled in a holography course (IVP210) next semester which I am super stoked about! That being said, Nuit Blanche, an annual, free, all-night art show took place last weekend on September 30th. The theme this year was Many Possible Futures which showcased protest, social change and activism through art, something that is gaining momentum in Indigenous communities. If you missed it, not to worry as there are some awesome upcoming events for Indigenous art and artists and, best of all, most of them are free!
Did you know U of T has an art museum on campus? It’s actually two galleries, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and University of Toronto Art Centre which have four permanent collections and ongoing exhibitions featuring a variety of mediums and subjects. A current exhibition, Morning Star, focuses on reconciliation, survivance and continuous dialogue about Indigeneity and settler relations on Turtle Island (North America) featuring work from Joi T. Arcand, Bracken Hanuse Corlett, Alex Janvier, Nadya Kawndibens, Adrian Stimson and Gary Todd. The museum is wheelchair-accessible and you can also request a free tour.
Photo Credit: Paul Litherland, used with permission
Source: U of T Art Museum Exhibition Morning Star
If you want to venture off-campus, the Anishinaabeg Art and Power at the ROM explores one of the most diverse Indigenous cultures through beading regalia, paintings, early artifacts and more. This exhibit runs until November 19th and there is also an amazing First Nations exhibit at the ROM. Even better, the ROM offers free admission to Indigenous peoples and free admission for full-time post-secondary students with ID on Tuesdays. The ROM is fully committed to accessibility and also offers tactile tours for the visually-impaired and audio description via loaned iPod or on a mobile device, as well as ASL-interpreted tours.
And, if you’re too busy to go in person, the ROM also offers a digital collection of some of their items. I’ve created a collection of some of my favourite pieces, which you can check out below.
As I had mentioned earlier, art and activism have intersected in Indigenous communities and one upcoming example of this is Walking With Our Sisters, an exhibit which honours missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirits. The exhibit will feature over 1,700 vamps, which are decorative or beaded moccasin tips made by families, friends and volunteers. The unfinished moccasins represent the journey cut short for many children of residential schools, those who have gone missing and those whose lives have been impacted by violence. Visitors are encouraged to walk beside these vamps and honour the sisters, aunties, friends, daughters and mothers that were loved by so many. This event will take place from October 15th to the 29th, 2017 and is located at the Aboriginal Education Centre, 16 Phin Ave at Danforth & Donlands). This event is free and accessible. For more information, please contact the Aboriginal Education Centre at 416-393-9600 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
I will also be checking out the Indigenous Writers’ Gathering, which will be held at the Toronto Reference Library on October 13th and 14th, feautring many Indigenous writers, including Lee Maracle from First Nations House! I signed up for the open mic. I’ll let you know how that goes… ?
And, of course, First Nations House has some amazing art, too. Please stop by sometime to say hello and check it out! The address is 563 Spadina Ave, 3rd floor, and has an accessible entrance off of Bancroft Ave.
I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving and long weekend, and I’ll see you next week.