Ahasiw Maskegon-Iskwew, Leslie McCue, Adrian Stimson, Cheryl L’Hirondelle
A Space Main Gallery
September 21 – October 26, 2013
Curated by: Elwood Jimmy
Supported by: Ontario
Copresented by: imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Aboriginal Curatorial Collective
Curator talk during the October 18th reception
Lovesick Child is Toronto’s first retrospective exhibition between A Space Gallery and the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival on Aboriginal new media pioneer Âhasiw Maskêgon-Iskwêw. His work with the Canada Council for the Arts and the Banff Centre on a number of equity and new media initiatives such as Drum Beats to Drum Bytes in 1994 ensured Indigenous presence within the new territory of new media and the Internet. Âhasiw initiated a number of projects in collaboration with local artists, local youth, and street-involved people in North Central Regina, at the vanguard of interdisciplinary work that privileged and combined community stories and Indigenous worldviews & narratives. Part of a substantial body of work that spanned several years, practices, and communities, Lovesick Child—the audio/text project from which the title of this exhibition is derived—synthesizes a number of the different streams of art production that Âhasiw undertook in his lifetime. For this exhibition, this piece functions as a foundation for both a discussion of Âhasiw’s work and influence on Canadian media art, as well as the three complementary works in the exhibition: two newly created works by artists Adrian Stimson and Leslie McCue, and the recently revised/updated isi-pikîskwewin ayapihkêsîsak (Speaking the Language of Spiders) website by original project collaborator interdisciplinary artist & activist Cheryl L’Hirondelle. Curated by Elwood Jimmy, Lovesick Child focuses on some of Âhasiw’s key works, as well as on artists like Âhasiw, who locate community, collaboration, interactivity, and Indigenous knowledge and practice at the forefront of their respective practices.
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.
Leslie McCue is Mississauga Ojibway from Curve Lake First Nation. She is currently the General Manager at the Association for Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts. This year she was the 2013 Mentor for the Female Eye Film Festiva’s Super 8 program and is the current Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) Trainee for the television series ASKIboyz. Leslie has presented work at the Juno Beach Museum in France, the Vancouver Winter Olympics, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the University of Toronto, Gallery 44 in Toronto and the University of Amsterdam, among others. Leslie has received a Community Betterment Award from the Mayor of Peterborough for her work within the community.
Adrian Stimson is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation. He has a BFA with distinction from the Alberta College of Art and Design and MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. He considers himself as an interdisciplinary artist; he exhibits nationally and internationally. His paintings are primarily monochromatic, they primarily depict bison in imagined landscapes, they are melancholic, memorializing, and sometimes whimsical, they evoke ideas cultural fragility, resilience and nostalgia. The British Museum recently acquired two paintings for their North American Indigenous collection. His performance art looks at identity construction, specifically the hybridization of the Indian, the cowboy, the shaman and Two Spirit being. Buffalo Boy, The Shaman Exterminator are two reoccurring personas. He was awarded the Blackfoot Visual Arts Award in 2009, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003, the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 and the REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award – Hnatyshyn Foundation.
Cheryl L’Hirondelle (aka Waynohtêw, Cheryl Koprek) is an award-winning nomadic mixed-blood multi and interdisciplinary artist, singer/songwriter and curator. Her creative practice is an investigation of the junction of a Cree worldview (nêhiyawin) in contemporary time and space. In 2004, L’Hirondelle was one of the first Aboriginal artists from this land now known as Canada to be invited to present her new media work at DAK’ART Lab as part of the 6th Edition of the Dakar Biennale for Contemporary African Art, Dakar, Senegal. In both 2005 & 2006, L’Hirondelle was the recipient of the imagineNATIVE New Media Award for her online net.art projects: treatycard, 17:TELL and wêpinâsowina. Her 2008 interdisciplinary project nikamon ohci askiy (songs because of the land), was recognized as an honoree in the Net.Art category of the 13th Annual Webby Awards. She has also been involved in a variety of media arts initiatives including: imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival New Media advisor and guest curator, 2009-2011; Smartlab Associate Researcher (UK), 2005–07; Banff New Media Institute Advisory Committee, 2006; ISEA – Pacific Rim New Media Summit Working Group Member (US/NZ), 2006; Circuit4.ca – Canadian Heritage Information Network, 2004; RIXC – International Locative Media Workshop (Latvia), 2003; Drumbytes.org; 2002; Canada Council Media Arts Advisory Committee, 1997–2001; KIDS FROM KANATA On-line Aboriginal Liaison, 1995-96, and AFVAA – Drum Beats to Drum Bytes Thinktank, 1994. She is currently in the final stages of a new net.art project NDNSPAM and is working on a project to honour the new media work of the late Ahasiw Maskegon Iskwew.
Elwood Jimmy is currently based in Toronto. He works as a programmer, curator, writer, community animator, and artist. Over the last two decades, he has been supported by several different organizations in building visual, media, and interdisciplinary projects that privilege collaboration, community-building, cross-cultural, and cross-generational interaction around a variety of historical and contemporary narratives. His cultural background, comprised of Nakawe (his mother) and Nehiyaw (his father), often plays a foundational role in his work.