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Gashka'oode: Tangled

Friday, May 31, 2013 to Saturday, June 29, 2013

Jason Baerg, Wally Dion, Beverly Doxtator, Amy Malbeuf An exhibition of contemporary Indigenous art curated by Dolleen Manning

Please join us before the opening reception for a drum performance and panel discussion “Gashka’oode: Indigeneity, Art & Philosophy” at Museum London from 4:30- 7:00 pm (More information below)

Opening reception: 7:00 - 10:00 pm, Friday May 31, 2013 at Forest City Gallery

Remarks by elder Isaac Day & Performance by Amy Malbeuf at 8 pm

Traditional First Nations food provided - All welcome - Free Admission

Artists & Curator Talks: 3:00 - 5:00 pm, Saturday June 1, 2013 at Forest City Gallery

Catalogue Launch: TBA

The theme of this exhibition is gashka’oode, an Ojibwe term which refers to relational entanglements. I draw on traditional Ojibwe Anishinaabe approaches to thinking about the self as relational, since these conceptions allow for complex renegotiations of selfhood in contemporary contexts. In my interpretation, being Anishinaabe (original peoples) is not derived from what is internal to bounded individuals but instead occurs in the interstices between community members, including animals, plants and objects. As curator, I am interested in the ‘entanglements’ reflected in the heterogeneity of Aboriginal experiences. Thus I selected these artists more for their differences than their similarities. In this project, I ask how contemporary Indigenous artists respond to the encounter with Western realities, in and through their understandings of a self that is always already constructed in relation to difference. Confronted with the complex challenges, disparate interests and paradoxical relationships posed by contemporary Indigenous experiences, the artists refuse to latch on to easy answers and complacent stereotypes. Yet, they share a resistance to romanticizing a return to the purity of an authentic origin and, instead, explore complex encounters between contemporary and traditional realities, individuals and communities, and people and their environments.

The artists in Gashka’oode (Tangled) are extremely diverse, not only in their relationships to Indigenous cultures and communities, but also in their mediums that include digital media, sculpture, photography and performance. Their works share themes of entanglement in which subjects negotiate being in-relation and out-of-place. For example,

Jason Baerg combines painting and multimedia to create conceptual works about urban Aboriginal subjectivity and simulacrum. He re-appropriates and deepens the abstraction of iconic Indigenous imagery reproducing them in multiple stages and mediums, which layer and challenge their respective histories, meanings and contexts. Wally Dion’s Shield Wall, comprised of computer circuit board star blankets interrogates notions of indigeneity and the production of culture and identity. Thus his technological materials combined with traditional Indigenous motifs erode the borders that define identity as static remainders from the past. Beverly Doxtator’s black and white landscape photographs (taken on the reserve where she lives) capture fog, light, and reflection to investigate her diffuse sense of self in relation to a community of the world. The entanglement of dense bush that represent ‘traditional Indigenous’ conceptions of an interrelational self, can be seen emerging from the palpable film of mist and shadow. Amy Malbeuf’s artworks negotiate concepts of discord and the sacred as they play out in her consumer saturated urban experiences, often juxtaposed, disconcertedly, to her agricultural/Métis heritage. Decked out in various neon-coloured unitards (giving her an alien-like appearance), she commandeers a fertilizer spreader to create glittering salt medicine wheels in public spaces. This exhibition of diverse artworks explores the entangled and inter-relational experiences inherent to contemporary Indigenous realities. As such, this exhibition troubles borders, expand discourses, and creates openings to new possibilities for understanding selfhood and the world.

- Dolleen Manning 

4:30 - 7pm, May 31 at Museum London

Panel members:     

Greg Hill (National Gallery of Canada – Audain Curator of Indigenous Art)

Candace Brunette (play write and performer)

Mona Stonefish (Anishinaabe elder and cultural adviser)

Traditional welcome: Luke Nicholas (N’Amerind president)

This panel brings together Indigenous arts and cultural practitioners and advisers to discuss the tangled relationship between traditional and contemporary Indigenous values and philosophical approaches in their professional, artistic and everyday realities. Specifically, they question the places where these lines overlap, merge and come into conflict with Western conventions and institutional demands regarding Indigenous creative practices. 

Please see Panel Discussion event for full panelist biographies. 

Artist Biographies

Jason Baerg

Jason Baerg is a Cree Métis visual artist and media producer, currently affiliated with the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery in Sarnia Ontario. Baerg works primarily at the intersection of painting and digital art. He explores themes ranging from questioning how we position ourselves in space, to interrogations of codes and simulacra. Baerg has upcoming residencies and exhibitions at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Australia), Waiariki Institute of Technology (New Zealand), and The Institute of American Indian Arts Digital Dome (Santa Fe). Recent selected international solo exhibitions include the Luminato Festival, the Toronto International Art Fair, and Art Basel Miami. He has also shown in numerous group exhibitions, and has been invited to give artists talks at such institutions as New York City’s Parsons School of Design, the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto and Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design in New Zealand. Baerg is Chair to the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, and board member for the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition and the Independent Media Arts Alliance. To view his work visit:

Wally Dion

A member of Yellow Quill First Nation (Salteaux), Wally Dion currently works as an artist out of Providence Rhode Island and Saskatoon Saskatchewan. His early works consisted of large-scale portrait paintings that explored social-realism and First Nations class struggles in contemporary Canadian life. His more recent works employ recycled computer circuit boards in large sculptures. He has a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan (2004), and is an MFA candidate at the Rhode Island School of Design. Dion’s recent exhibitions include solo shows at the Ottawa Art Gallery (2011) and the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina  (2008) and group exhibitions at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto (2010), Winnipeg Institute of Contemporary Art (2010), Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina (2009) Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon (2008) and Calgary’s Glenbow Museum (2008), among others. Dion is among the 62 Canadian artists included in the Mass MoCA exhibition ‘Oh Canada’. His work can be found in several collections including the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canada Council Art Bank, MacKenzie Art Gallery and the Mendel Art Gallery. Dion is the recipient of numerous grants/ awards from such agencies as the Canada Council for the Arts, Saskatchewan Arts Board and CARFAC. To view his work see:

Beverly Doxtator

Beverly Doxtator is a community-based artist and member of the Onyota’a Ka First Nation (People of the Standing Stone), who resides at the Oneida Settlement in Southwestern Ontario. She is a mother of four children and a grandmother of Semya, age eleven. Her photography employs visual imagery that subtly broaches her complex relationship to the land and the profound significance it has to her experience of indigeneity. Doxtator has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (1999), and a Diploma in Art Therapy (2003) from Western University, and is a member of the Ontario Art Therapy Association. A full time art therapist, Doxtator has a strong commitment to community, and to traditional knowledge and culture. Much of her art takes place as a collaborative practice with community members, often as part of their healing processes. She also plays an important role in her community creating visual documentation of elders, cultural practices and cultural events. An emerging professional artist, her work has been exhibited in a group exhibition at the Covent Garden Market in London, ON (2005), and can be found in the collection at KiiKeeWanNiiKaan, Southwest Regional Healing Lodge, Muncey, ON, as well as several private collections.

Amy Malbeuf

Spending her formative years in the rural hamlet of St. Lina in Northern Alberta, Amy Malbeuf is a Métis multidiscipline artist and Rich Lake resident, currently working at the Banff Centre. Her work employs the use of ritual to interrogate identity, place, memory, spirituality, and myth as well as exploring the tensions and contradictions between her agricultural family life and indigenous heritage. Malbeuf has a BFA from the Alberta College of Art + Design, (2010) and a Native Cultural Arts Instructor Certificate from Portage College (2012). Her most recent performances have taken place at the M:ST Performative Arts Festival, Calgary (2012), the Free Gallery in Toronto (2012), Visualeyez Performance Art Festival in Edmonton (2011), Art City: Festival of Art, Design, and Architecture in Calgary (2011), San Francisco State University, CA (2010), and the Art Gallery of Calgary (2009). She has had solo exhibitions at Calgary’s Stride Gallery (2011) and The Other Gallery in Banff, AB (2011), and shown in several group exhibitions across Canada. Her work can be found in collections at San Francisco State University, Kuaaina Associates and several private collections.

Curator Biography

Dolleen Manning is an Ojibwe Anishinaabe artist, scholar and independent curator, who lives and works in London Ontario. She is a member of Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation. Her curatorial interests move beyond the solitary limits of academic texts and individual art production, to embrace relational entanglements. As an interdisciplinary scholar her work focuses on encounters between critical theory, Anishinaabe philosophy and visual culture, an expertise that she brings to this project, and which forms the basis of her doctoral research, currently underway at the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism at Western University. Recipient of the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Manning has a MA in Theory and Criticism (Western University, 2005), a MFA in Contemporary Arts (Simon Fraser, 1997) and a BFA in Fine Arts (University of Windsor, 1994).

Indigenous artists and allies interested in being informed or becoming involved in future projects please contact:

Copyright © 2013 Dolleen Manning, All rights reserved.

The artists retain copyright of their images.

Chi miigwetch to Gerald McMaster (AGO), Greg Hill (NGC), and to the Ontario Arts Council’s Aboriginal Curatorial Projects program for generously supporting all related events. Chi miigwetch also to our sponsors and panel partners: Museum London, Western University’s Visual Arts Department, Indigenous Services, First Nations Studies, and the Indigenous Health and Wellness Initiative. Thanks also to the Aboriginal Art Centre (AANDC) for the loan of Wally Dion’s Shield Wall, which is part of their national heritage collection.


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