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WAG to Host Symposium on Indigenous Futures

by pmnationtalk on November 24, 20171141 Views

Speakers coming to Winnipeg from around the globe Nov 28-Dec 2 to discuss Indigenous art, media, scholarship, and cultural innovation

Winnipeg, Manitoba, November 23, 2017: The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) is pleased to be a host for the third annual Symposium on the Future Imaginary, bringing together a critical mass of artists, community activists, curators, and academics to present their visions of the future of Indigenous people. This year’s symposium, subtitled “The Future is Indigenous,” runs November 28 to December 2, 2017 and will offer three exciting days of multidisciplinary conversations about Indigenous art and media, scholarship, and cultural innovation.

Registration is almost full for day-time panel discussions, the symposium extends into the evenings and weekend with free programming open to the public, featuring art, engaging media, cultural performances, and VR and video games:

  • Thursday: 8:00pm-11:00pm – CBC Unreserved host Rosanna Deerchild with live performances at the WAG from: Rylee Sandberg and Southern Thunderbird Medicine Drum Group, Spence Tradition, Nikki Komaksiutiksak, Tara Williamson, Shanley Spence, Boogey the Beat, Yakaskwan Mihkiwap “Light Tipi”. Families are welcome.
  • Friday: 8:00pm-11:00pm – Opening Event at Urban Shaman Gallery – InDigiNous Aotearoa: Virtual Histories, Augmented Futures and Inuit Art Quarterly FUTURES issue Launch.
  • Saturday: 11:00am-2:00pm – Game day at the WAG that includes an Indigenous Video Game Arcade and Virtual Reality (VR) Stations showcasing games from the IIF Skins workshops, Elizabeth LaPensée’s Thunderbird Strikes and Upper One Games’ Never Alone videogames, the 2167 VR projects, and the Art Alive VR experience from Pinnguaq, and more. Hands-on Makerspace activities such as a Scratch workshop hosted by VideoPool Media Arts. Families are welcome.

The symposium is part of the Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF) and the Transactive Memory Keepers Digital and New Media Mobile Laboratories Project (TMK), working in partnership with the University of Winnipeg, Concordia University and with funding support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canada Council for the Arts. With Poet, Elder and Visionary Dr. Duke Redbird as the keynote speaker, panel discussions will explore themes of Dreaming of Our Future Seven Generations Ahead, IndigeFem and the Future, Games and Design as Resurgence and Presence, Land-Based Knowledge and Creative Interventions, Technology as (De)Colonial Tools, and Arctic Futurisms.

KC Adams (Winnipeg, CND), Joi Arcand (Ottawa, CND), Scott Benesiinaabandan (Montreal, CND), Heather Campbell (Nunatsiavut, CND), Karl Chitham (Tauranga, NZ), Siku Allooloo (Yellowknife, CND), Jarita Greyeyes (Winnipeg, CND), Candice Hopkins (Albuquerque, USA), Heather Igloliorte (Montreal, CND), Jaimie Isaac (Winnipeg, CND), Rilla Khaled (Montreal, CND), Owioskon Lahache (Kahnawake, CND), Michelle LaVallee (Regina, CND), Jason Lewis (Montreal, CND), Mandee McDonald (Yellowknife, CND), Keith Munro (Brisbane, AU), Wanda Nanibush (Toronto, CND), Jolene Rickard (Ithaca, USA), Tasha Spillett (Winnipeg, CND), Megan Tamati-Quennell (Wellington, NZ), and more.

There is no better moment to focus on Indigenous innovation and digital media. Indigenous artists/designers are leading the way in this digital revolution and creating some of the most cutting edge work in the world. I am thrilled to host and organize this event at the same time as hosting the international Indigenous curators exchange with New Zealand, Australia and Norway. The opportunity to have this critical mass of artists, designers, scholars and curators reflecting on the future of Indigenous peoples in Winnipeg will hopefully inspire new generations to create, explore and imagine ourselves into the future and beyond.
-Dr. Julie Nagam – Host and Organizer of the symposium – Associate Professor and Chair in the History of Indigenous Art in North America, a joint appointment between the UWinnipeg and the WAG.

We started the Future Imaginary Symposia in order to explore narratives, artworks, frameworks and technologies that help us articulate a continuum between our histories, our present, the seventh generation—and beyond. Dr. Nagam has put together a program that will not only do that, but also promises to be one of the most important events in Indigenous media arts this century. I look forward to three days of the playful and the serious, the fantastical and the pragmatic, the traditional and the contemporary, all from an Indigenous viewpoint. The future is now, and the future is Indigenous.
-Professor Jason Edward Lewis – IIF Director and University Research Chair in Computational Media and the Indigenous Future Imaginary, Concordia University

A symposium highlight is INSURGENCE/RESURGENCE, the WAG’s largest-ever exhibition of contemporary Indigenous art, featuring 29 emerging to established Indigenous artists from across Canada who are pushing boundaries with their work. Open until April 22, this groundbreaking exhibition includes tufting, tattooing, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, sound, beading, media, and performances.

To learn more about the symposium, visit

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For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Catherine Maksymiuk
Manager, Media & Marketing
Winnipeg Art Gallery

Tammy Sawatzky
Public Relations Coordinator
Winnipeg Art Gallery

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a cultural advocate – a lens and forum – helping people see and experience more through art. Playing a vital role in the community, engaging and enriching people of all ages and backgrounds through art and culture, the Winnipeg Art Gallery thrives as a creative, innovative, and accessible place for learning, discovery, and inspiration.

The WAG holds in trust the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. Breaking ground soon, the WAG is creating an Inuit Art Centre to celebrate the art and to honour the Inuit. The Centre will bridge Canada’s North and South through exhibitions, research, education, and art making. It will also house the WAG’s nationally recognized Studio art and learning program.


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