Arctic/Amazon Project.

Arctic/Amazon Project.

The Arctic/Amazon project is premised on the understanding that artists integrate notions of spirituality, ancestral respect, traditional knowledges, and political critique into their processes of making and presenting their work. Envisioned as part of a larger, long-term interdisciplinary project, this initial gathering will centralize Indigenous ontological approaches to develop interconnections between Amazonian Indigenous and Inuit thinkers, artists, and activists whose works address climate change midst shifting political times.The purpose of this initial meeting is to foster and facilitate a collaborative framework in which participants from Inuit and primarily Brazilian-based Amazonian communities can share their knowledges and consider future work together. This symposium will be the first of its kind to provide an in-depth artistic and Indigenous-led exploration of these geographies.Both institutions are confident that this initial project marks the beginning of an enduring collaboration that culminates in an exhibition curated by Gerald McMaster at The Power Plant in Fall 2020. 

Watapah Team Contributors

Dr. Gerald McMaster

Position: Director, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair
Email: gmcmaster@faculty.ocadu.ca

Dr. McMaster has over 30 years international work and expertise in contemporary art, critical theory, museology and Indigenous aesthetics. His experience as an artist and curator in art and ethnology museums researching and collecting art, as well as producing exhibitions has given him a thorough understanding of transnational Indigenous visual culture and curatorial practice. His early interests concerned the ways in which culturally sensitive objects were displayed in ethnology museums, as well as the lack of representation of Indigenous artists in art museums.

As a practicing artist, he offered a way of staging hitherto decontextualized objects different from the traditional formats favoured by exhibition designers trained in Western traditions; instead, his was an approach that rested on Indigenous epistemologies. These early stages in developing an –Indigenous visuality led him to study concepts in visual, experiential and spatial composition. His exhibition Savage Graces (1992) challenged long held views, and played a major role in breaking down conventional barriers around where art should be practiced, while also demonstrating that art is not tied to ethnicity.

As a curator, he focused on advancing the intellectual landscape for Indigenous curatorship through the foundational concept of voice. He curated, for example, an exhibition called Indigena (1992) that brought together unfiltered Indigenous voices for the first time. Until then, non-Indigenous scholars had dominated discussions of Indigenous art, history and culture. McMaster made the point that Indigenous artists and writers were more than capable of representing themselves in articulate, eloquent ways.

Over the past 20 years, he has continued to refine the idea of voice, leading him to ask: How can Indigenous voices continue providing new perspectives on well-researched subjects such as art, history and anthropology? Throughout his career, his championing of the mainstream value of Indigenous art, among other things, has led to his being chosen to represent Canada at a number of prestigious international events. These include his serving as Canadian Commissioner for the 1995 Venice Biennale, and as artistic director of the 2012 Biennale of Sydney, and curator for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. 

Dr. Gerald McMaster

Director, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair

Dr. McMaster has over 30 years international work and expertise...

Dr. Michael Rattray

Position: Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Rattray is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Wapatah under the supervision of Dr. McMaster. Before joining the centre, he was the executive editor and associate publisher at the Art Canada Institute, and the senior editor at Adbusters Magazine. He completed his PhD at Concordia University in Montreal, under the direction of Dr. Johanne Sloan. His PhD dissertation, “Functional Anarchism(s) and the Theory of Global Contemporary Art,” evaluates globalized art within an anarchist philosophical trajectory. An exhibiting artist, curator, and critic, his work on contemporary art and art history has been published or exhibited in a variety of forms. 

Dr. Michael Rattray

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Rattray is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Wapatah under the...

Natalja Chestopalova

Position: Research Project Coordinator

Natalja Chestopalova is part of the Ph.D. in Communication and Culture Program at York and Ryerson Universities in Toronto. Her research is informed by the study of digital media, archival aesthetics, phenomenology, and psychoanalysis, and focuses on the transformative sensory experience and multimodality in film, graphic novel medium, and theatrical site-specific performances. With the support from the Social Science and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC), she has presented at multiple Canadian and International events, including roundtables & panels on new media archives, visual storytelling, and preservation of ephemeral cultural narratives. Her recent works include papers and multimodal installations on archives-of-trauma in non-fiction graphic narratives and theoretical developments in the Lacanian concept of the voice and voicelessness. Her publications appear in the White Wall Review, Canadian Journal of Communication, Dialogue, The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Sound Effects: The Object Voice in Fiction, and an essay volume on the Freudian theory of afterwardness and archives-of-feeling in comics of Alison Bechdel.
Currently Natalja is working as a researcher at the Ontario College of Art and Design University with Gerald McMaster. As part of the Indigenous Visual Culture Research Centre she is contributing to projects that actively support Indigenous talent, and promote meaningful research exchange, and contribute to the creation of living digital archives that can mobilize and centralize Indigenous knowledge.

Natalja Chestopalova

Research Project Coordinator

Natalja Chestopalova is part of the Ph.D. in Communication and...

Jananda Lima

Position: Research Assistant

Jananda Lima has recently completed a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCADU. With a background in graphic design, Jananda works in social innovation with marginalized communities through co-design. Her practice also includes exploring possible futures by systemically shifting focus away from entrenched social biases.

Jananda Lima

Research Assistant

Jananda Lima has recently completed a Master of Design in...

Mariah Meawasige

Position: Research Assistant

Mariah (Makoose) is an Anishinaabe/settler and creative from the northern shores of Lake Huron. Her practice specializes in graphic design but questions the bounds of communication through illustration, sculpture, video, and performance. She created the logo for the Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge and is currently working on the centre’s visual identity. Through her love of stories and storytelling, Mariah’s body of work aims to explore temporalities and place, map memories, and build relationships.

Mariah Meawasige

Research Assistant

Mariah (Makoose) is an Anishinaabe/settler and creative from the northern...

Rezvan Boostani

Position: UX Designer

Rezvan Boostani graduated from Master of Design in Inclusive Design at OCAD University with concentration on improving user experience and service delivery. Her passion to support social engagement of a larger population motivates her to engage in projects that are focused on improving experience for all.

Over the past three years, she worked with people with lived experiences of disability to improve design and produce guidelines in the area of inclusion. She worked with Akimbo Art Promotions and AccesTO on Access Visual Art project to develop an information resource platform on accessibility of art venues for users of mobility assistive devices and produce accessibility resource guide for creative spaces. Her work includes collaborations with Kawartha Centre-Redefining healthy aging to improve restaurant dining with people experiencing mild dementia and their loved ones. She also collaborated with Bridgepoint Active Healthcare Rehabilitation Hospital, where she created and facilitated co-design sessions with family members of stroke patients, healthcare providers, administrators and volunteers. The outcome of the collaboration was a proposal of design interventions and the co-creation of a streamlined Stroke transition service.

Rezvan is working as user experience designer with Wapatah Centre to facilitate and use processes that allows for contribution of diverse stakeholders.

Rezvan Boostani

UX Designer

Rezvan Boostani graduated from Master of Design in Inclusive Design...

Yiyi Shao

Position: Developer

Yiyi Shao has recently completed a Master of Design in Digital Futures at OCADU. Her research focuses on combining wearable technology, Augmented Reality, game design and IoT to improve shared social awareness in Mixed Reality experiences. At Wapatah, Yiyi is working as a front-end developer and contributes to deliver the Virtual Platform for Indigenous Art (VPIA).

Yiyi Shao

Developer

Yiyi Shao has recently completed a Master of Design in...

       
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