Conveners: Heather Igloliorte, Julie Nagam, Dylan A.T. Miner, and Dot Tuer


In the workshop, participants will collectively explore the interrelationship between the growing global Indigenous art world, notions of contemporaneity, issues around the gendered colonial body and the anti-capitalist surge that emerged out of the global economic crisis that began in 2008. At the core of this conversation will be an engaged investigation of the various nodes of anti-capitalist and Indigenous insurgencies, both literal and metaphorical, that respond to the persistent specter of economic collapse through creative interventions. Indigenous Aesthetic Sovereignty (aes), a concept that intentionally draws from Western notions of ‘sovereign governance’ and more recent engagements with ‘artistic sovereignty’. We will discuss the gendered colonial bodies as it relates to creative interventions and self-determination and sovereignty. We will also tease out concepts around Indigeneity, immigration, anti-racist activism, and settler colonialism.

Accordingly, contemporary Indigenous artistic practices in Anishinaabewaki (Turtle Island), as well as in other Indigenous territories, offer an alternative to prevailing modes of artistic and economic exchange that dictate the global art market.  In this workshop, we will concentrate on Indigenous artists and our/their projects in Anishinaabewaki while drawing affinities with and connections to those initiatives blossoming in other parts of the Fourth World.  Directly aligning itself with the conference theme (Choreographing Social Movements in the Americas), this argument strives to dismantle the supposed divide between indigeneity and contemporaneity, categories that remain bifurcated to this day. By addressing these categories, we may further explore how the former is a term gaining popularity among emerging Indigenous artists and activists, while the latter is an organizational mode that continues to wane as non-Native critics argue against its efficacy. By coupling our discussion of these ideas to an engagement with sovereignty, including political, aesthetic, epistemological, and ontological manifestations, we allow Indigenous artists, theorists, critics, curators, and community-members to be the avant-garde vis-à-vis Indigenous art, its history, and its theory.


We will focus on the relationship to land and why it matters in spaces such as Canada where settler colonialism is still very alive and present. We will postulate questions that relate to space and place, reflecting on how we are complacent or resisting the narrative of terra nullius (uninhabited land). For Indigenous people, these assertions and the policies that followed were devastating to both Indigenous bodies and Indigenous ways of knowing. In the end, we will integrate contemporary Indigenous aesthetics and artistic practice within a larger discussion of recent resistance to Anglo-American neoliberal economics by deciphering the potency of Indigenous aesthetics and their embedded potentiality to dismantle capitalist social relations.


To apply, upload a brief statement (300-400 words) addressing your interest in and commitment to the workshop thematic; a short bio (300-400 words) and short CV (max. two pages) highlighting your artistic and/or critical practice. Materials should be uploaded via the online application form before October 9th, 2013.

The workshop is limited to a maximum of 15 participants.

Convener Biographies:

Heather Igloliorte is a Nunatsiavummiut curator and Assistant Professor at Concordia University in the Department of Art History. Some of her recent curatorial projects include aboDIGITAL: The Art of Jordan Bennett (2012); Decolonize Me (Ottawa Art Gallery, 2011, now touring); the online collaborative exhibition Inuit Art Alive; and "we were so far away": The Inuit Experience of Residential Schools (Legacy of Hope Foundation, 2009, now touring). Her teaching and research interests center on Native North American visual culture, circumpolar arts studies, the global exhibition of Indigenous arts and culture, postcolonial theory, and issues of colonization, sovereignty, resistance, and resilience. Some of her recent publications related to this work include chapters and catalogue essays in Response, Responsibility, and Renewal: Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Journey (2009); Inuit Modern (2010); Curating Difficult Knowledge (2011); Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 3 (2012); Manifestations: New Native Art Criticism (2012); and Negotiations in a Vacant Lot: Studying the Visual in Canada (forthcoming, 2013).

Dylan A.T. Miner (MétIS) is an artist, activist, historian, and curator. Miner holds a PhD in art history from The University of New Mexico. He has published and lectured extensively, with two forthcoming books on art and indigenous politics. To date, he has published more than forty journal articles, book chapters, review essays, and encyclopedia entries. In 2010, he was an Artist Leadership Fellow at the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian) for his project Anishinaabensag Biimskowebshkigewag (Native Kids Ride Bikes). Since then, he has hung a dozen solo exhibitions in the Americas and Europe. As a founding member of the artists’ collective Justseeds, he was awarded the Grand Prix at the 28th Biennial of Graphic Arts in Slovenia, and installed a solo Justseeds exhibition at the 29th Biennial. Last year, he had a solo exhibition in Norway, collaborating with the Sami people, as well as another at Gallery 101 in Ottawa. He has also toured Australia, exhibiting his work and lecturing, as part of an Indigenous cultural delegation to Queensland. Currently, Miner teaches in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University.

Julie Nagam, PhD. is an Assistant Professor at OCAD University in the Indigenous Visual Culture program and the Faculty of Liberal Arts Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies. Nagam’s research interests include a (re)mapping of the colonial state through creative interventions within concepts of native space. Her areas of interest are cultural geography (urban, rural and remote space), Indigenous critical theory, cultural and performance theory and Indigenous digital and new media. Her creative practices include working in mixed media, such as drawing, photography, painting, sound, projections, and new and digital media. Her work where white pines lay, was shown in San Paulo, Brazil and Lyon, France, 2013. An upcoming new media work singing our bones home, which will be shown in the group shows LAND/SLIDE, in Markham Ontario and Ecocentrix in London, England, 2013.

Dot Tuer is a writer, curator, and cultural historian who divides her time between Toronto, Canada and Corrientes, Argentina. Tuer holds a Ph.D. in Latin American history from the University of Toronto and is Professor of Visual Studies at OCAD University. Her writings explore the artistic practices of new media, photography, and performance in the larger context of the Americas, and the relationship of cultural expression to issues of colonialism, technology, and social memory. She also has a research interest in Indigenous-European encounters in the early colonial period and mestizaje as a site of intercultural exchange. Tuer is the author of Mining the Media Archive (2005) and her essays on Canadian and Latin American post-colonial perspectives have been widely published in books, museum catalogues, contemporary art magazines and journals. Most recently, she curated a major exhibition of the Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Frida and Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting, for the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2012. Tuer is currently at work on two new book projects, the first exploring the thematic of colonial resistance and historical memory in Canadian art and the second the relationship of witnessing to testimony in Latin American photography.

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