Sovereign Acts II
Curator: Wanda Nanibush
Rebecca Belmore, Lori Blondeau, Dayna Danger, Robert Houle, James Luna, Shelley Niro, Adrian Stimson, Jeff Thomas
Opening: Saturday, January 21, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery presents Sovereign Acts II. Curated by Wanda Nanibush, the exhibition contends with the legacy of colonial representations by examining the history of Indigenous peoples performing cultural dances and practices for international and colonial audiences. Drawing on the depiction of the imaginary Indian—the ahistorical, pre-contact ‘primitivism’ in popular and mass culture—artists Rebecca Belmore, Lori Blondeau, Dayna Danger, Robert Houle, James Luna, Shelley Niro, Adrian Stimson and Jeff Thomas, recover and construct new ways of performing the complexity of Indigenous cultures for a contemporary art audience. Their work returns to the multi-levelled history of ‘Performing Indian’ to recuperate the erased and objectified performer as an ancestor, an artist and an Indigenous subject.
The exhibition is accompanied by a range of activities programmed around the issues and challenges raised by Sovereign Acts II, including a tour by curator, Wanda Nanibush; multilingual commented tours in Farsi, Mandarin and Urdu; responses in the form of a concert by Indigenous women’s singing and drumming ensemble, Odaya, and a critical commentary by curator, writer and Concordia graduate student Lindsay Nixon; a conference by critic, curator and art historian Richard W. Hill, Chair in Indigenous Studies at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver; and an archive and research session with Karl Hele, Associate Professor and Director of First Peoples Studies, Concordia University, around his collection of material relating to the Hiawatha Pageant and Play as performed by people from Garden River First Nation.
This presentation is an augmented version of an exhibition first produced and presented in 2012 at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, University of Toronto.
For more information on the exhibition and related events, please visit our website.