Arctic / Amazon Mural Curated by Gerald McMaster and Created by Olinda Silvano and Niap Opens at The Toronto Metropolitan University.
Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Knowledge is thrilled to announce the official opening of the Arctic/Amazon Mural titled Paisajes de Nosotros (Landscapes of Us) at the Toronto Metropolitan University! A major milestone for Wapatah Centre as part of the Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity project, this large-scale artwork was curated by Dr. Gerald McMaster and created through a collaborative design process between artists Niap (Nancy Saunders) and Olinda Reshinjabe Silvano.
The project is a partnership between Paul Roth, Director of the Image Centre at TMU, and Gerald McMaster, Director of Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge, and it has been made possible with the Generous support from Toronto Metropolitan University, StreetARToronto, Canada Council for the Arts, Nunavut Community Tourism and Cultural Industries, Ontario Arts Council, Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area, Partners in Art, the Toronto Arts Council, Feheley Fine Arts, and Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge.
As part of the programming for the mural unveiling, Feheley Fine Arts hosted a welcome talk in October 2022 between Niap and Olinda. The two artists shared the stage of Centre Space in front of many friends of the gallery, Wapatah, and members of the Toronto arts community. Joined by her family, Olinda sang an Indigenous Peruvian song, and spoke at length of her heritage and creative process.
The unveiling of the mural was accompanied by the release of The Language that Lies Between – an evocative documentary exploring the collaboration between Niap and Olinda, as they worked on the mural. The documentary examines Niap and Olinda’s collaborative journey and the ways in which they discover deeper connections through relationships with their respective lands and cultural traditions. Niap and Olinda evoke the rich imagery and iconography of their respective regions in creating Paisajes de Nosotros (Landscapes of Us) that now sits at Gould St. and Nelson Mandela Walk.
As part of the programming for the mural unveiling, Feheley Fine Arts hosted a talk in October 2022 between Niap and Olinda. The two artists shared the stage of Centre Space in front of many friends of the gallery, Wapatah, and members of the Toronto arts community. Joined by her family, Olinda sang an Indigenous Peruvian song, and spoke at length of her heritage and creative process.
Project Curator | Gerald McMaster
Gerald McMaster, O.C., is one of Canada’s most revered and esteemed academics. He is a curator, artist and author, and is currently professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair of Indigenous Visual Culture and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University, where he leads a team of researchers at the Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge. McMaster served as the curator for the 1995 Venice Biennale, artistic director of the 2012 Biennale of Sydney and curator for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. He is the recipient of the OCAD University Award for Distinguished Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity, and in 2021 was appointed Senior Fellow to Massey College, University of Toronto. He is nehiyaw (Plains Cree) and a citizen of the Siksika First Nation.
The Image Centre at TMU Partner | Paul Roth
Paul Roth is the Director of The Image Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Previously, he served as Senior Curator of Photography and Media Arts at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC; as Executive Director of The Richard Avedon Foundation in New York; and as archivist of the Robert Frank Collection at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Roth has helped realize numerous exhibitions and film series, including Scotiabank Photography Award 2014: Mark Ruwedel (2015), Edward Burtynsky: Oil (2009), Richard Avedon: Portraits of Power (2008), Sally Mann: What Remains (2004), and I…Dreaming: The Visionary Cinema of Stan Brakhage (National Gallery of Art, 2002). He is author and co-editor of Gordon Parks: Collected Works (Steidl, 2012).
Lead Artists |
Olinda Reshijabe Silvano (Shipibo-Konibo, Peru) is known for her woven embroidery textiles and massive works of public art that feature the bold, geometric and maze-like kené. The kené is a network of meaning and complex relations guiding paths, healing and creating connections between human and more-than-human beings in an animated environment. The patterns emerge from singing and experiencing the connections between worlds propitiated by shamanism making the invisible visible. It is central to the identity expression of the Shipibo-Konibo, a traditional, ancestral art usually applied on body paint and artifacts. Olinda is a symbol of resistance in Cantagallo, Peru, where she relocated to continue the tradition of kené art along with the collective Las Madres Artesanas (the Artisan Mothers).
Niap (b. 1986), also known as Nancy Saunders, is a multimedia artist from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, currently based in Montreal. Niap’s practice shifts between sculpture, textiles, paintings and photography. Through each medium, she reaffirms her culture by incorporating elements that represent her identity as an Inuk woman. In November 2015, Niap participated in her first group exhibition Ullumimut − Between Tradition and Innovation at Montreal’s McClure Gallery. In 2017, she created a permanent mural for the Canadian Museum of Natures’ Canada Goose Arctic Gallery. Her installation ᑲᑕᔾᔭᐅᓯᕙᓪᓛᑦ Katajjausivallaat, le rythme bercé, exhibited at OBORO Gallery in Montreal, QC, was acquired by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in the summer of 2018. In 2019, Feheley Fine Arts held Niap’s first solo exhibition which featured multi-media drawings and a live performance including traditional Inuit tattooing.
Wilma Maynas Inuma (Shipibo-Konibo, Peru) is an artist and weaver of the Shipibo-Konibo kené (designs). Through workshops and talks at leading institutions around the globe, Wilma explores topics of interculturality, collaboration, and ancestral techniques to share Shipibo art and culture with the world.
Ronin Koshi (Shipibo-Konibo, Peru) is an activist, artist, and Indigenous leader. Working alongside and guided by his mother, Olinda Reshijabe Silvano, he leads as an example for Indigenous youth to find strength and pride in their cultural identity through art, language, and ancestral knowledge.
Supporting Team | Wapatah Centre at OCAD University
Natalja Chestopalova is a senior researcher and project manager at Wapatah Centre, OCAD University. Her work focuses on immersive installations and new media, animation of museum collections, and blockchain solutions for art and site-responsive projects. At Wapatah, Natalja is providing project management oversight for an array of publications, conferences, and virtual educational projects. These include: Indigenizing the (Art) Museum Virtual Series, HotDocs Series Beauty and Resilience: Indigenous Art in Canada, Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity exhibition and major publication, and the Virtual Platform for Indigenous Art – a custom digital tool for mobilizing artwork and facilitating Indigenous access and contributions to Indigenous art in museum and gallery collections around the world.
Brittany Pitseolak Bergin is a research assistant at Wapatah Centre, OCAD University. Raised in Southern Ontario, her family is from Kinngait, Cape Dorset. Inspired by the artists in her family and community, including her great-grandmother and namesake Pitseolak Ashoona, Brittany’s focus at Wapatah is centred in community engagement as she continues to support major projects and outreach initiatives. Her work has been integral to the success of projects such as the Virtual Platform for Indigenous Art, Arctic/Amazon Symposium, Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity exhibition and publication, and Indigenizing the (Art) Museum Virtual Series. Her most recent conferences include the Frontend Conference (Munich) and Inuit Studies Conference (Montreal).
Supporting Team | Toronto Metropolitan University
Paul Roth, Director
Rose Anee McCants