Media Room

The installation of public art frequently initiates conversation and even polarizing debate about the role of art in community; the artworks, artists, curators, and institutions often face intense scrutiny and critique from a broad array of community voices that may otherwise not typically engage with contemporary art. With growing public and civic recognition of Indigenous assertions of territory and sovereignty, these instances and the subsequent discourse are further complicated. What are the ‘limits’ of artistic freedom in regards to public art on Indigenous nations’ asserted territories? How have artists, curators, and institutions (whether galleries or cities/municipalities) navigated this terrain – and how is it shifting? How can Indigenous protocols, histories, and understandings of both place and relationality inform the development of public art projects?

Participating Speakers: Ange Loft and Kimberley Moulton.

The second convening examines the ways in which Indigenous artists and curators have drawn on their community and family backgrounds in their respective practices, and how these distinct (and diverse) approaches may impart alternative modes of working in the context of contemporary art. In other words, how has an Indigenous ‘sensibility’ (to borrow from Nêhiyaw artist/facilitator Elwood Jimmy) informed artistic and curatorial practices, and in turn, how have these practices shifted institutional behavior? What lessons might Indigenous protocols, values, and ways of knowing to provide to not only Indigenous but also non-Indigenous professionals and practitioners in making the field of contemporary art more equitable and beneficial for BIPOC peoples? Alternatively, to what extent are such approaches translatable, or, put otherwise, should they be subject to cross-cultural exchange?

Participating Speakers: asinnajaq and Lori Blondeau.

In response to the activism, scrutiny, and expressed concerns of diverse community voices, contemporary art institutions are increasingly examining their infrastructures and practices in order to support broader decolonial efforts and to shift their behavior and values. Indigenous artists and community members are steadily challenging institutions within their territories and beyond to better represent Indigenous artistic practices and to engage with communities in more sustained and meaningful ways. This session accounts for the progress made thus far, and the ways in which this may be built on. How can different art institutions and arts professionals demonstrate accountability and responsibility in context-specific ways, and to local Indigenous nations in the work they do? What responsibility do they have to Indigenous artists and to communities more broadly conceived? In other words, how might arts institutions move beyond performative gestures such as land acknowledgments toward materially supporting the needs and desires of Indigenous communities and artists? How do decolonization efforts in contemporary art connect to broader interconnected struggles for justice and equity?

Participating Speakers: Emily Johnson and Jackson Polys.

In the face of multiple climatic, social, and health emergencies, the future has become one of the most contested sites of political and artistic concern.

Listen to Colombia curator Sara Garzón and Ecuadorian artist Oscar Santillán examine futurity in Latin American in contemporary art, technology and art-making, and technological futures. The two also discuss Oscar’s latest projects Antimundo, Chewing Gum Codex, Solaris, and The Woman and The Robot. A video with closed-captioning will be available on our website soon.

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