Buffy Sainte Marie, Self Portrait, from Painting With Light series, 1994

Codetalkers of the Digital Divide (or why we didn’t become “roadkill on the information superhighway”)

Alanis Obomsawin, Buffy Sainte Marie, Melanie Printup Hope, Ahasiw Maskegon-Iskwew, Mike MacDonald, Jimmie Durham, Jackson 2bears, Jennifer Wemigwans, Isuma

A Space Main Gallery

September 18 – October 24, 2009

Curated by: Cheryl L’Hirondelle

Copresented by: imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival,

Artist and Curator Talk Friday October 16th, 5-7pm

A Space Gallery and the 10th Anniversary edition of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival present Codetalkers of the Digital Divide. Curated by Cheryl L’Hirondelle, the exhibition is a timely contextualization of what Aboriginal New Media practices were pre-Internet to what they have become in the current web 2.0 paradigm.


Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki) is one of Canada’s most distinguished documentary filmmakers and has been making uncompromising films for almost 40 years. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has been recognized with numerous awards and honours including the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

Buffy Sainte Marie (Cree) virtually invented the role of the Native American international activist pop star. A Ph.D. holder and Academy Award winner, she has received many honours, medals and awards including the 2009 Music of Aboriginal Canada Juno Award for her 18th album Running For The Drum.

Melanie Printup Hope is of Tuscarora descent. Her video, multimedia and installation work has been shown throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships. She currently works as an Associate Professor of Visual Arts at The Sage Colleges, Albany, NY.

Ahasiw Maskegon-Iskwew was Cree/French Metis born in McLennan, Alberta in 1958. He graduated in performance art and installation from Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Vancouver, British Columbia in 1985. A leading Indigenous theorist, curator, writer, new media practitioner and performance artist, he worked for artist run centres in Vancouver, Regina, and Winnipeg, curating, producing and writing about new practices in performance, video, and new media. In addition, he worked for the Canada Council for the Arts and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) among many other organizations and institutions. He passed away in 2006.

Mike MacDonald (Mi’kmaq) broke new ground in video and later in internet-based art beginning in 1979. In 2000 he was awarded the Aboriginal Achievement Award for New Media for Butterfly Garden. He passed away in 2006.

Jimmie Durham (Cherokee) is an American-born sculptor, essayist and poet, currently living in Europe. He has worked as a political organizer with the American Indian Movement (AIM) and as a representative to the United Nations. He has exhibited widely including at the Venice Biennale, Whitney Biennial, Documenta in Kassel and the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) London.

Jackson 2bears is a Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) multimedia artist based in Victoria, BC. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and internationally in festivals and group exhibitions. 2bears is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Victoria.

Jennifer Wemigwans is an Ojibwe from Wikwemikong First Nation. She is a new media producer, writer and Ph.D. candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, where she is exploring the convergence between education, Indigenous knowledge and new media technologies.

Isuma (Igloolik Isuma Productions) was incorporated in January 1990 as Canada’s first Inuit independent production company. They are the independent producers of The Fast Runner Trilogy, an award-winning series of Inuit-language films.

Cheryl L’Hirondelle is a mixed blood (Metis/Cree) multi/interdisciplinary artist and musician. Her work investigates the junction of a Cree worldview in contemporary time and space.