Share your knowledge about Indigenous Artworks through living documents.
from around the world through a single point of access.
Edit and Revive
institutional records through your contributions
Connect and Share
knowledge with other community members
The Entangled Gaze frames VPIA’s collection and focuses on two principal questions:
“how do we represent people who are different from ourselves, and what are the consequences that arise from such representation?”
Encourages and practises an embodied connection to the Land by reflecting on its role in an Indigenous-led digital space.
Commitment to an ongoing revision of and discussion on the vernacular surrounding Indigenous artwork
Facilitates meaningful engagement with the community in our practices, values, and the work that we do.
Prioritizes and maintains a respect for Indigenous knowledge and the ways in which it is shared and interacted with.
Help support VPIA by contributing knowledge about unidentified artworks!
From time to time we come across a work with little or no information about where it came from, where it is currently located, and whether it may be in a private or public collection. The images below are selected artworks from the greater Entangled Gaze project collection.
For more information on the Entangled Gaze please refer to Entangled Gaze Page
What knowledge can you share about these artworks? Your response will help us broaden the VPIA’s reach and community access to these objects. We welcome any information: let us know if you have seen them, recognize their symbols and features, or whether their style and aesthetic can be connected to a family, cultural group, or historical period.
Do you have knowledge or information about an artwork that can be shared? If so, please fill out the form and a member of the VPIA team will be in contact with you.
The information you provide will help VPIA and its growing research community of Knowledge Keepers, community members, and museum professionals. We welcome any knowledge you would like to share with us.
Meegwetch! Haawa! Nya:weh! Ay-ay! Nakurmiik! Thank you! To all the communities who support us.
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. 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.
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.
Brittany Bergin is an undergraduate student studying Aerospace Engineering. She is a research assistant at the Wapatah Centre and a researcher with York University’s Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage (MICH) program. Brittany’s maternal lineage is from Cape Dorset, related to the Ashoona family line. Raised in Ottawa, She is interested in engaging with Inuit art and culture as a way to connect with her heritage and family. Brittany’s work is inspired to bridge Inuit technologies with her aerospace research.
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.
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.
Maya’s speciality lies in open source software and working with emerging technologies. She has worked extensively with international developers on various projects and has even been invited to present one of her projects at Mozfest in London, England.
She brings traditional software industry knowledge to the Academic world. Her passion lies in building unique software that brings knowledge to others and re-decentralizing the Internet.
She is currently the lead developer on the Virtual Platform for Indigenous Art (VPIA).
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).
Brendan Griebel is a researcher and curator of Inuit material culture, focused on the intricate relationships that exist between history, materiality, and collective identity. He specializes in facilitating the documentation of community knowledge surrounding the making, use and interpretation of cultural objects ranging from archaeological artifacts and traditional technologies, to architecture, museum collections, and digital media. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Toronto, and has spent over a decade engaged in land-based and experiential research with Inuit scholars and knowledge holders throughout the Canadian Arctic. Brendan is a long-term collaborator with Nunavut’s Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq (Kitikmeot Heritage Society), and a member of Carleton University’s Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre. He is also the Co-Founder and Director of The Museum of Fear and Wonder, an Alberta-based institution dedicated to the emotional and psychological properties of objects.
Tak is an architectural historian, and currently he is assistant curator at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina. He holds a BA Hons. in History and Theory of Architecture from Carleton University, and a MFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from OCAD University. Tak has curated exhibitions and public programming at OCADU’s galleries, Montgomery’s Inn, Art Toronto 2015, Y+ Contemporary, Riverdale Gallery and Xpace Cultural Centre. He has contributed writings to Espace Art Actuel, 8eleven gallery, and Xpace Cultural Centre. For Wapatah, Tak was responsible for database and research on the Indigenous Views of the Other: North West Coast project.
Madeleine Heaven is an aboriginal multidisciplinary artist. She holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting from Ontario College of Art & Design University where she experimented and expanded her practice to various forms of media and technologies. Under the direction of Dr. Gerald McMaster, Heaven currently works on Indigenous Views of the Other project. She is responsible for digitizing and cataloging indigenous works, and building network opportunities with institutions throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe.
Jevi is a Business Informatics B.ASc. McMaster University graduate, and studied Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (Prof. Certification) at MIT. She has worked in the IT industry over the years as an Analyst, an Ethical Hacker, Software Programmer, Research Assistant and DevOps Engineer. Hailed from a family of scribophiles, she enjoys photography, poetry and prose, and completed the study of Art & Design at the GBC School of Design graduating with honours, and Digital Media at OCAD University. Jevi is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Art in Digital Futures at OCAD University. At Wapatah, she worked on the graphic design and development of the digital and print promotional material, including posters, newsletters, flyers, business cards, website development, and event management. (jevi.me)
Julia Lum is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art at the University of Toronto. She is co-editor, with Gerald McMaster and Kaitlin McCormick, of a special issue of ab-Original: Journal of Indigenous Studies and First Nations and First Peoples’ Cultures on the theme of “The Entangled Gaze: Indigenous and European Views of Each Other.” She is also co-investigator (with Dr. McMaster and Jisgang Nika Collison of the Haida Gwaii Museum) on a SSHRC Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation Connection Grant to develop a knowledge-exchange workshop on digital collections and the art of the colonial “contact zone.” Dr. Lum earned her PhD in Art History from Yale University in 2018. In the fall of 2019 she will be Assistant Professor, Art History, Scripps College (Claremont, USA).