Wapatah and TMU Celebrate the Release of The Language that Lies Between documentary featuring Niap and Olinda Reshinjabe Silvano.
Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge is thrilled to announce the official release of the The Language that Lies Between – an evocative documentary exploring the collaboration between Indigenous artists Niap (Nancy Saunders) and Olinda Reshinjabe Silvano, from the Arctic and Amazon regions, as they create a large-scale mural at Toronto Metropolitan University. 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.
Brought together as part of Arctic/Amazon, a multi-year interdisciplinary project spearheaded by the Wapatah Centre, The Language that Lies Between tracks the various ways in which contemporary Indigenous artists integrate notions of spirituality, ancestral respect and traditional knowledge into their work. Niap and Olinda Reshinjabe Silvano evoke the rich imagery and iconography of their respective regions in creating a sprawling landscape piece titled Paisajes de Nosotros (Landscapes of Us) that now sits at Gould St. and Nelson Mandela Walk. A major milestone for Wapatah Centre and TMU, this large-scale artwork was curated by Gerald McMaster and was made possible with the support from Paul Roth, Director of the Image Centre at TMU.
Arctic/Amazon 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.
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
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).