Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Be Carefull Where You Step, 2018, TRAMPA mat and Porcupine Quills, 16

You're Welcome

Jason Baerg, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Ange Loft, Logan MacDonald
A SPACE WINDOWS
Exhibition runs November 6 2018 - December 15 2018
Reception: November 9 2018: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Curated by: Ryan Rice

 

The welcome mat, a rug that is placed on the ground in front of one’s home, is repurposed by Indigenous artists Jason Baerg, Ange Loft, Vanessa Dion Fletcher and Logan MacDonald as a metaphorical device to initiate and locate narratives to place. For You’re Welcome, the mat becomes the site of contemplation to address shared spaces, Indigenous presence, the colonial affect and personal / collective relationships to land. Each artist activates their mat as a means to contemplate and illustrate the discourse around land acknowledgment and protocols, which recognizes stewardship, ownership and hints of hospitality.

 

Drawn from creative expression and curatorial practice bearing in mind mediative actions, Land is Where Your Feet Touch the Ground (#LIWYFTTG) is a curatorial investigation led by Ryan Rice to examine forms of visual literacy to place through lived experience and collective mappings. You’re Welcome is framed as a tangible collective work developed for #LIWYFTTG and is about listening, looking, imagining and locating the stories the land will tell us through interpretations by Indigenous artists who navigate Tkaronto on a daily basis.

 

Ange Loft, Jason Baerg, Logan MacDonald, Vanessa Dion Fletcher and Ryan Rice are creative minds who embody the diversity Indigeneity offers. Individually and collectively, they activate and centre themselves on the land – in life, love, creation, and community.

 

#LIWYFTTG is supported by the Toronto Arts Council with funding from the City of Toronto.

 

Jason Baerg

Âpisisin  ᐋᐱᓯᓯᐣ  S/he Revives, 2018

 As I overlook the city from my balcony, I see nine building cranes developing new high-rise condos on this rapidly changing skyline. I can’t help but embody the understanding that I am a Cree Métis visitor on this territory that is governed by the Dish with One Spoon Treaty. I wish I could return the spoon back to the bowl and witness another Indigenous person take the spoon, knowing that this Indigenous person owned a condo here in Tkaronto.

Not one – I know, not one Indigenous person who owns a condo in this city.

 

Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Be Careful Where You Step, 2018 

 Walking through Toronto with a friend, they point out a bushy green plant and tell me its named Lambs Quarter - part of the goosefoot family. You can eat the stock seeds and leaves. Many people think its a weed but its an important food that grows everywhere from gardens to pavement cracks. I found the Lenape name is waxkanúsak. Now that I know what it is I see it everywhere and eat a leaf or two. 

Porcupines have 30,000 quills that are their primary defense against predators. Given the way my indigenous ancestors and our land has been treated Be Careful Where You Step is an essential reminder of the potential harm, protection, and healing that can be present in the land. 

 

 Ange Loft

In Case I Gotta Walk Back, 2018 

 My nation's territory extends beyond Montreal, Toronto and New York City. How nice of the highways, railways and borders to run through our towns. How clear the path, moving along the side of the highway, leads back home. 

 My work deals with Haudenosaunee history, symbolism and buried narratives of displacement and resistance. Through arts based research, talking and sewing, I endeavour to name what is missing, draw attention to the changes and to reconstruct belonging. 

 

Logan MacDonald

Made Space, 2018

 This series of photographs was conceived out of considerations around how queer and Indigenous bodies are monitored and visibly minimized in public spaces. Trees act as an analogy to locate vulnerable identities that are easily removed to make room for more infrastructure, a better view, an industrious purpose or to make space for another body.

Made Space  lyrically considers those who were here before and provokes an opportunity to honour the bodies that have been displaced and targeted as too unattractive, vulnerable, diseased or dangerous. The work also questions how some of us are welcomed to use space, while other bodies, certain bodies, who have their roots firm in the ground, are not welcomed at all.

 

BIOGRAPHIES
Jason Baerg is an Indigenous curator, educator, and visual artist. Creatively, as an artist, he pushes new boundaries in digital interventions in drawing, painting and new media installation. Baerg graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelors of Fine Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts from Rutgers University. He currently is teaching as the Assistant Professor at OCAD University.
Vanessa Dion Fletcher employs porcupine quills, Wampum belts, and menstrual blood to reveal the complexities of what defines a body physically and culturally. She links these ideas to personal experiences with language, fluency, and understanding. All of these themes are brought together in the context of her Potawatomi and Lenape ancestry, and her learning disability caused by a lack of short-term memory. Dion Fletcher graduated from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago with an MFA.
Ange Loft is the Associate Artistic Director of Jumblies Theatre, a multi-disciplinary artist and a performer from Kahnawake, Kanienkahaka Territory. Ange is an advisor for the Toronto Biennial and for the City of Toronto Indigenous Creative Culture Fund. She's an ardent collaborator, facilitator and mentor working in storyweaving, arts based research, wearable sculpture and Haudenosaunee history. She is also a vocalist with the band YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN.
Logan MacDonald is a queer visual artist and curator from Newfoundland, Canada. He identifies as a settler with European/Mi'kmaq ancestry. He is part of a unique, yet growing community of settler-identified, newly federally-acknowledged Mi'kmaq from Newfoundland who are looking at ways to revive their culture. MacDonald holds a BFA from Concordia University (2006) and a MFA from York University (2010). His artwork has exhibited worldwide, notably with his recent solo exhibition The Lay of the Land. He is currently teaching at McMaster University.
Ryan Rice, Kanien'keha:ka of Kahnawake, is an independent curator and the Associate Dean in the Faculty of Liberal Arts / School of Interdisciplinary Studies at OCAD University. His curatorial career spans over 20 years in museums and galleries.

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