The Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge is a hub for facilitating the documentation, communication and translation of Indigenous ways of seeing. Drawing on the inseparable concepts of perception and knowing, Wapatah assists Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and researchers to collaborate on the presentation and representation of artistic knowledge. Wapatah highlights the innumerable lenses through which Indigenous people envision the world–whether through artistic production, language, or interaction with the land–using each of these as a research tool to form new questions and concepts about the world. Wapatah promotes Indigenous research at multiple scales, from Indigenous-led research at OCADU to creating connections and partnerships at the global level.
Research at Wapatah activates Indigenous ways of seeing through four distinct themes. Often interwoven, these areas speak to the artistic, political, cultural, and theoretical scope of Indigenous research.
Wapatah researches materials and narratives created at the intersection of cultures to understand how such interactions reflect, stimulate, and produce original artistic expressions. The Centre provides a collaborative space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, students, artists, and Elders to exchange perspectives and knowledge about art produced in cultural contact zones.
Wapatah highlights connections between human and natural environments, and seeks to understand how artistic production gives voice to these relationships.
Wapatah uses digital scholarship as a means to enact new opportunities for Indigenous research and impact, and enhance the presence of Indigenous knowledge on the global stage.
Wapatah seeks out connections between Indigenous scholarship and artistic practice around the world, and fosters insightful partnerships to develop local and global strategies that are holistic, humanistic, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable.
This logo, designed by Mariah Meawasige, aims to embody Wapatah as a multidimensional and boundless space for accessing the complex knowledge of many nations. This information is at once interconnected – forming a deep, interwoven network of knowing – and independent of one another. The logo takes inspiration from topography, star mapping, transmotion, and particularly the Kinomaage-Waapkong (teaching rocks) in Peterborough. The implied rhythm enacts an intertribal dance, not dissimilar the one required to access those knowledges. Coupled with movement, the triad of symbols are symbolic of the many stories behind indigenous ways of knowing.
Wapatah has an extensive history of Indigenous-led research programs that critically explores the diversity, aesthetics and methodologies of Indigenous knowledge from around the globe.
Ranging from exhibit curation to symposia and publications, these projects seek to centralize Indigenous presence and perspectives in both academic and community research contexts.