As a Cree/Saulteaux artist, Lori Blondeau’s artistic practice continues to explore the influence of popular media and culture (contemporary and historical) on Aboriginal self-identity, self-image, and self-definition. Lori has been culturally producing as an artist, instructor, and curator for the last 20 years. She is currently exploring the impact of the colonization of traditional and contemporary roles and lifestyles of Aboriginal women by strategically deconstructing the popular images of the Indian Princess and the Squaw. Blondeau uses humor as a performative
storytelling strategy to reconstruct these stereotypes, reveal their absurdity, and reinsert them into the mainstream. The performance
personas she creates, like Belle Sauvage, refer to the damage of colonialism and to the ironic pleasures of displacement and resistance.
Basil AlZeri is a visual artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. AlZeri’s practice involves the intersection of art, education, and food, taking multiple forms, such as performance, interventions,
gallery and public installation. AlZeri’s work examines the socio-political dynamics of the family and its intersection with cultural practices, drawing on the necessities of everyday life and the visibility of labour as sites of exploration. His work aims to facilitate a space for empathy through gestures of inclusivity and generosity.
AlZeri’s work has been shown in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Sackville, Regina, Vancouver, Mexico City, Santiago, and Tartu/Estonia. AlZeri was one of the artists in residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Song Dong Communal Courtyard Project) in 2016.
(in collaboration with Matt Walker)
Terrance Houle is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary media artist and a member of the Blood Tribe. Involved with Aboriginal communities all his life, he has traveled to reservations throughout North America participating in Powwow dancing along with his native ceremonies. Houle utilizes at his discretion performance, photography, video/film, music and painting. Likewise Houle's practice includes tools of mass dissemination such as billboards and vinyl bus signage. A graduate of the Alberta College of Art and Design, Terrance Houle received his B.F.A in 2003. He maintains his practice and lives in Calgary, Alberta.
Matt Walker lives and works in Hamilton, Ontario. He completed his MFA at the University of Calgary and spent 8 years working and studying at The Banff Centre (Banff, Alberta). His work deals with the exploration of materials, the interaction of objects and space. Matt has shown nationally and internationally and has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and The Alberta Foundation for the Arts. He has completed residencies at Plug-in ICA (Winnipeg), Artfarm (Nebraska), and The Centre for Innovation in Culture and the Arts in Canada (Kamloops).
(Paul Couillard & Ed Johnson)
For the last 16 years Paul Couillard and Ed Johnson have worked together on the series "Duorama". Duorama explores notions of relationship. Playful, beguiling and often minimalist, these pieces draw on collaborative and competitive tensions that underlie all partnerships. Responding to site and examining cultural attitudes toward male intimacy are key elements of Duorama. Recurring themes revolve around shifting interpretations of what is political and what is personal. Many of the works can be read in terms of the current social and political climate surrounding gay culture, offering askance references to issues such as gay marriage, HIV-status, and portrayals of gay culture. To date, 122 Duorama performances have been presented at galleries, festivals and various events in Canada, France, Poland, Croatia, Ukraine, Belarus, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, USA, Singapore, Ireland and UK.
Paul Couillard has been working as an artist, curator, and cultural theorist since 1985. He has created more than 200 solo and collaborative performance works in 24 countries. He was the Performance Art Curator for Fado from 1993 to 2007, and is also a founding co-curator of the 7a*11d International Performance Art Festival, both based in Toronto.
Ed Johnson is a visual artist who has been creating performance art works since 1996. His solo work has often explored issues of communication/non-communication (Box, Words of Love) and of HIV status (Inquisitive/Inquisitor, Untitled "[sic]"). Currently his focus is on masculinity including Pro tanto quid retribaumus (for so much what shall we repay) and politics (Niqab, sauver la reine). Ed Johnson is a founding member of Fado, an artist run centre for performance art located in Toronto, where he served as a board member until 2010.
with York University, Faculty of Environment graduate Class Cultural Production: Community/Public Engagement
Through an analysis of art criticism, curatorial practice, history of museums, and art projects, students work through debates, ethics and issues involved with public engagement in art. The course content also includes curatorial practice by Indigenous and Black curators whose work has sought to address systemic oppression such as racism, colonialism, sexism, and uneven power relations in mainstream institutions and practices. The class collaborates to create socially engaged and/or participatory art projects in public space that responds to site and archive.
Lisa Myers is an independent curator and artist with a keen interest in interdisciplinary collaboration. She grew up in southern Ontario. Lisa's Mother's family is Anishinaabe and French from Shawanaga and Beausoleil First Nation in the Georgian Bay region, and her Dad is from English and Austrian ancestry who settled in southern Ontario. In 2011, Myers earned her Master of Fine Arts in Criticism and Curatorial practice from OCAD University, which focused on the use of food in Indigenous art practice. She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions in venues including Urban Shaman (Winnipeg), Art Gallery of Peterborough and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her writing has been published in Senses and Society, C Magazine and FUSE Magazine and is an assistant lecturer in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. She works and lives in Port Severn and Toronto, Ontario.
with University of Waterloo Fine Arts class Landmarks2017:
Landmarks2017: Unsettling Canada is a hybrid, multidisciplinary course based in studio practice. It incorporates elements of various artistic practices with visual culture and indigenous history/theory, and addresses questions of contemporary art, Canadian identity, indigenous knowledge, environmental studies, socially-engaged art practices, site-specific art, performance, new media and installation. As part of the Canada-wide cultural project Landmarks2017 and in collaboration with Landmarks curators Melinda Spooner, David Diviney, and Ariella Pahlke, and the Landmarks artist Ursula Johnson the students- Tait Wilman, Sepideh Dashti, Yasmeen Nematt Alla, Neda Moshg, Mikayla Barney, Kara Van Muyen, Émily Traichel, Karen Ly, Nadine Simec, Ji Luo- spent time questioning and problematizing the postulates of celebrating Canada’s 150 as one rooted in colonization and even perhaps denial. In following with Landmarks 2017 curriculum and student engagement guidelines, our course therefore interrogated some of the basic ideas of what it is to be Canadian and to be an artist in the 21st-century.
Our partner LandMarks2017/Repères2017 is a year-long, nationwide initiative, which brings together a team of acclaimed Canadian curators, contemporary artists and art students from 16 universities across the country. It is an open invitation for participation, with art works created in collaboration with local communities, actively engaging audiences to critically examine Canada at 150 while offering a legacy for the future.