Wanda Nanibush will discuss Indigenous performance during Goldfarb Lecture

Wanda Nanibush
Side by side of the original Ishi photo and “Ishi Speaks” – both are digital inkjet prints (2011) from the performance work “ISHI” by James Luna

Wanda Nanibush, assistant curator of Canadian and Indigenous Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, is the featured speaker for the 2017 Goldfarb Lecture in Visual Arts presented by York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD) on March 1.

Wanda Nanibush

In her talk titled “Sovereign Acts: New Histories of Indigenous Performance,” Nanibush will explore contemporary Indigenous performance as an active re/assertion of sovereignty.

Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe image and word warrior, curator, community animator/organizer, educator, and arts consultant from Beausoleil First Nation. Her curatorial credits include the exhibitions Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989 (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, September 2016 to May 2017); Sovereign Acts II (Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Ottawa, January to April 2017); and, KWE: The work of Rebecca Belmore (Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto, May to August 2014).

“From cultural dances to performance art, Indigenous artists are breaking the Eurocentric boundaries between art/culture, tradition/contemporary, humour/ethics, fiction/history, and resistance/creation,” said Nanibush. “In the process, new histories of performance are sought and performance becomes again the site of sovereignty enacted. Artists such as Rebecca Belmore, James Luna, Lori Blondeau, Adrian Stimson, and Shelley Niro, among many others, are our guides.”

Nanibush has worked with many other media arts institutions and initiatives over the past two decades, serving in a wide range of capacities from programmer and festival coordinator to Aboriginal arts officer and executive director. Arts organizations she has worked with include ImagineNATIVE, LIFT, Optic Nerve Film Festival, Reframe Film Festival, the Ontario Arts Council, Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, and the Association for Native Development in the Performing & Visual Arts (ANDPVA). She was the 2013/14 Dame Nita Barrow Distinguished Visitor at the University of Toronto, where she teaches graduate courses on history, politics and art.

Side by side images of the original Ishi photo and “Ishi Speaks” – both are digital inkjet prints (2011) from the performance work “ISHI” by James Luna

Nanibush’s publications include contributions to the books Women in a Globalizing World: Equality, Development, Diversity and Peace and This is an Honour Song: Twenty Years since the Blockades. She co-edited York University’s InTensions journal on “The Resurgence of Indigenous Women’s Knowledge and Resistance in Relation to Land and Territoriality”, as well as catalogue essays on Indigenous artists Jeff Thomas, Adrian Stimson, Rebecca Belmore and others.

She is currently completing two films and her first book, titled Violence No More: The Rise of Indigenous Women.

York University Professor Dan Adler, an art historian, is the organizer of this talk. Adler teaches courses in 19th- and 20th-century art, with particular interests in 19th-century European painting, French and German Dada, and the development and reception of the conceptual art movement. Adler’s areas of research include the history of art writing, German modernism, Frankfurt School theory, conceptual art, and the aesthetics and history of sculpture and installation art.

The lecture is free to attend, and runs from 6 to 7:30pm in room 312 Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts.

The Goldfarb Lecture in Visual Arts is made possible through the generous support of Joan and Martin Goldfarb, longstanding benefactors of York University’s Department of Visual Art and Art History and AMPD.

For more information on this event, email visarts@yorku.ca.