Zahra Baseri’s Artist Talk Video

Video from Zahra Baseri’s artist talk, given on June 24th 2022.

 

“Tell All The Truth But Tell It Slant is a multi-media exhibition that addresses the atrocities of an oppressive ruling system in Iran that continually and deliberately uses socio-political suppression to control its citizens. From the viewpoint of an Iranian living in Canada, I create images, objects, and spaces that investigate power dynamics, means and instruments of power, omission, and censorship, among others. I employ allegory and representation of culturally significant imagery from Persian and Islamic art and architecture as my formal language. While accentuating the importance of materiality, my work questions the subject-object duality to more profoundly bring the political into the material realm.”

 

Zahra Baseri is an Iranian-Canadian artist who has a BFA Honors from the University of Manitoba (2016) and an MFA from the University of Waterloo (2019). She continued her research in Lisbon, Portugal, through Maumaus, an independent study program in 2020. Baseri was Manitoba’s provincial winner for BMO 1st Art! (2016), and received the University of Waterloo Fine Arts highest honour of achievement, the Sylvia Knight Award (2019). 

How do you project oppression?


How do you project oppression? by Reza Rezaï 
a written response to Tell All The Truth But Tell It Slant, a solo exhibition by Zahra Baseri

 


 

How do you project oppression?

By projecting I don’t mean the (cumbersome) act of calculating, nor directing something forward (with force) but rather the act of bringing a visual element onto a simple (or not so simple) surface.

Or rather a multitude of visual elements onto a multitude of simple (or not so simple) surfaces.

But within this simplicity (or multiplicity) of projection(s) in play, what does this construct (of oppression) even look like? 

Or sound like?  

Or smell like? 

Or even feel like?

How do you illustrate it?

Is there a specific hue, a shade, or tint?

Does it have a shape, a form, a pattern?

Is it jagged?

Is it stretched?

Is it never-ending?

Is there a commencement?

Where is the end?

Where is that line, I mean is there one (should I even be asking for one)?

That line of oppression.

That oppressive line.

That straight but potentially slanted line.

At a certain point in this feverish pursuit of “projecting oppression” to light, the incessant self-questioning (see doubting) of whether one can truly, artistically capture the totality of it will begin to set in. 

And with it, an unfortunate realization that however well intentioned, well informed one can be regarding this unwavering uninhabitable state (of oppression) there is only so much of it that can be shown. 

As one is not solely dealing with their own lived experience + by extension their Doxa but is simultaneously working within the confines of a prescribed framework, institution or simply stated: space.

 

Personal.

Virtual.

Actual.

 

Space.

 

This combination of inner knowns (+ unknowns) + external obstructions will in part begin to define the aesthetics of the art, or more aptly put, the artistic interpretation.

And here (and potentially elsewhere) interpretation becomes the groundwork for projection.

Which in this particular case is rooted, isolated to a singular compound.

An already expanding permeable (insatiable) compound.

A formulaic construct which the artist (this artist) reflects upon, projects upon both in the figurative + literal of senses.

In Tell All The Truth But Tell It Slant, Zahra Baseri uses oil as the symbolic personification for the Iranian regime’s oppression.

Thematically.

Conceptually.

Materiality.

One massive “O” which defines another more massive more problematic “O”.

O.

O.

“Oh”.

Now I don’t say that to slight the inherent truth at play nor the bodies of work (4, each distinct from the other) that make up this multi-media, multi-dimensional exhibition.

No.

There is merit, truth (however slanted it may be) + a sense of profound reflection on what has kept oppression alive + well in Iran to this day. 

Since (and even before) the revolution in 1979 that saw the end of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s monarchy (a man as reprehensible as the ayatollah(s) that succeeded him, i.e. SAVAK) the export of oil + natural gas has been paramount to the preservation of this oppressive system.

Without these two revenue streams, this despotic, theocratic + anachronistic regime would have not had the endless means to exert an unprecedented level of violence, censorship + suppression within Iran + even (to some extent) abroad over the course of the past 40 (or so) years.

Thus, the thematic premise is sound.

The “O”s are intertwined + have a causal relationship that cannot be denied.

But where things become a bit more intricate (say complicated) is in that material + conceptual relationship that exists within these bodies of work.

Which is what prompted the opening question – How do you project oppression?

Especially when the projection of oppression begins and ends with Oil?

Well, almost.

Of the 4 bodies of work, only 1 digresses from being completely, framed, enclosed + contained by oil itself. It separates itself in both the material sense as well as the conceptual by illustrating how censorship manifests through the power that the revenue (export) of oil provides without projecting explicitly that causal relationship.

It is much more subtle.

There is a lightness to it.

A breathability that the others (other bodies of work) (in some respect) are lacking.

But that “lackingness” isn’t so much a criticism but rather a byproduct of the frankness of bringing together the “O”s with another inescapable vowel – “I”.

Which this breathable piece seems to not be as defined by.

Well not so explicitly.

That “I” that I speak of came with the revolution in 1979, it landed with the very man who would go on to change the landscape of Iran + to a great extent the Middle East – a regressive, fundamentalist (mis)interpretation of “Islam”. 

Now Zahra doesn’t delve into Islamic fundamentalism as the aesthetic fundamentals of Islam are enough for her to clearly establish the interplay between the “I” + the “O”s.

Or rather between the eyes + the Ohs.

How the seen + unseen together frame the dilution of Islam from a once purely religious thought in Iran to that of a systemic oppressive one. 

Persian Oilatures, captures the directness (+ subtleness) of this regression through 8 ink and gouache drawings (drawing heavy inspiration from Persian miniatures). Each drawing examines a multitude of varying scenarios (an imam bathing in oil, a bound body hanging upside down, a woman with her severed arm being projected upon by barrels of oil). This directness is complemented by the subtlety of the laser cut acrylic frames in the shape of Mihrab which house each drawing. 

Mihrab being the niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca, which is the direction that Muslims pray to. 

Or at least ought to pray to.

Here the Mihrab(ian) frames no longer point to the sacred site of Islam but on the contrary to where it has been taken by the Ayatollahs.

The piston pump pumpjacks that have come to supersede even Allah.

As divinity is now seemingly synonymous with profits, not god nor god appointed prophets.

This enjeu between the divine “I” + complicated “O”s is further solidified with the installation of Petrocubical, an acrylic box stenciled with the chemical formulas of methane, ethane and propane + are surrounded by Islamic symbols typically found within the architecture + design of Iranian mosques. The ever-expanding C-H formula + various appropriated geometric (Islamic) forms found on the 4 equal sides of the cube are projected onto the walls with a fine LED double headed light source in both ochre + Persian turquoise. The former representing earth or khaak (the literal soil that these byproducts come from) with the latter denoting aseman or sky (not only where these byproducts ascend to but more importantly where divine rule of law descends from – both of which, as unfortunate as the other). The dichotomy between grounding + ascension that is defined clearly within Petrocubical is further examined, refined + expanded upon with the positional relationship of the last two bodies of work: Sacred Oil + A Bad-ass Dictionary (the breathable piece that I allude to above). Here there is no escaping or misinterpreting the incestuous unforgiving relationship between the “I” and the “O”s as 64 ceramic Persian turquoise eight point Islamic stars (Rub el Hizb) cover the middle of the gallery floor in 8 rows of 8. Each star partially filled with used engine oil that emits a familiar musk of mechanical pursuits all the while reaffirming the harmonious co-existence that the two together shape, form + define. It is here that A Bad-ass Dictionary becomes somewhat more understandable + relatable to the overall scope of the exhibition. Because if taken at face value, the censorship of “ass” in an online dictionary is trivial in the grand scheme of censorship + oppression in Iran. There is far worse to be said + shown in what true oppression or censorship looks like, feels like + even smells like. But in the reflection of these glazed green-ware stars, the thought that this regime would go out of its way to censor such an insignificant word speaks to the extent of censorship + oppression itself.
That there are no limitations to how far it can reach as it continues to seek the most egregious of places.
Thus, can the projection of oppression begin with oil + end with ass?

 

Well I guess in some sort of slanted truthful way, it can.

 


 

Reza Rezaï is an artist, writer + educator from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Predominantly photo based, his work has (slowly) transitioned into installation, sculpture + conceptual art. His forthcoming collection of poetry titled eshgh will be published by Les Éditions du Blé in 2022 + a second iteration of Mehmoon(originally shown at TRUCK Contemporary Arts, Fall 2019) will be exhibited at Neutral Ground in spring 2023. He is currently working on his first photo book louixlouislewis as well as a series of large scale paintings under the working title of a poor man’s wanda koop.

 

What’s the Value of a Dollar?

September 9th – October 15th 2022

A grid of six images showcasing each of the exhibiting artists' work. Clockwise from left: TJ Shin's Universal Skin Salvation 2.0, Sean Weisgerber's Price Per Square Inch, Patrice Renee Washington's Smear Campaign, Shellie Zhang's Means of Exchange, Chester Vincent Toye's Tesla Toucher, and GTA Collective's installation.

 

A group exhibition curated by Matthew Kyba, featuring work by Patrice Renee Washington, Chester Vincent Toye, Shellie Zhang, Sean Weisgerber, TJ Shin, and GTA Collective.

 

What’s the Value of a Dollar? invites 6 artists and collectives to examine how profit-driven entities have historically exploited and dominated societies, communities, and bodies. Using video, installation, photography, and painting, the exhibition enfolds complex matrices of racial politics, socio-economic (dis)parity, and political agency to argue that North American economies not only exist, but flourish through marginalizing their own consumers and workforce. Capitalist frameworks feed off of subjugated bodies to reinforce economically productive hierarchies of race, culture, gender, and affluence. The exhibition’s title questions how monetary capital is traded and valued against ethical, cultural, and physical sacrifice. Included works employ capitalistic visual language, which acts in protest against market-based economies. Research-based approaches are utilized to historically map capitalism’s reliance on the communities it targets and marginalizes. What’s the Value of a Dollar? argues that cannot be ethical consumption and production under capitalism, and offers ways to reclaim agency by co-opting corporate tactics and language historically used to disenfranchise.

 

 

 

Patrice Renee Washington (based in Newburgh, NY) has shown in solo and group exhibitions across the United States, including solo exhibitions at both Marinaro Gallery, Brooklyn; Underdonk Gallery in Brooklyn; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. Group exhibitions include shows at Jenkins Johnson Gallery, Brooklyn; We Buy Gold, Brooklyn; Sculpture Center, Queens; the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Denver; Zeitgeist, Nashville; Abrons Art Center, New York; 47 Canal, New York, and Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn. Residencies include Abrons Arts Center; Anderson Ranch Arts Center; Snowmass, CO; Lighthouse Works; Fishers Island, NY; the Museum of Art and Design, NY, and the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT.

 

Chester Vincent Toye is an award-winning filmmaker using horror and dark comedy to work through his realities of race, visibility, labor, and commodification. He received an MFA in Photography from UCLA and has studied improv at Upright Citizens Brigade Los Angeles. His debut short film I’m SO Sorry premiered on No Budge in March 2021 and was named to the 2021 No Budge Films of the Year list. I’m SO Sorry went on to be an Official Selection at the Indie Memphis Film Festival where it won “Best Short” in the After Dark category. Chester approaches his films with a background in portrait photography and has long been interested in the complexity of representation. Chester has worked closely with conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas (Hangtime Executive Producer) and experimental filmmaker Stanya Kahn. Growing up he was a standout athlete eventually playing Division 1 lacrosse at Lehigh University. His path to filmmaking has been far from traditional and he is grateful for the range of experiences, relationships, and perspectives that he is able to bring to his films.

 

Shellie Zhang (b. 1991, Beijing, China) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Tkaronto/Toronto, Canada. By uniting both past and present iconography with the techniques of mass communication, language and sign, Zhang explores the contexts and construction of a multicultural society by disassembling approaches to tradition, gender, history, migration and popular culture. She creates images, objects and projects in a wide range of media to explore how integration, diversity and assimilation is implemented and negotiated, and how manifestations of these ideas relate to lived experiences. Zhang is interested in how culture is learned and sustained, and how the objects and iconographies of culture are remembered and preserved.

 

TJ Shin is an interdisciplinary artist working at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and speciesism. Inspired by decentralized ecologies and queer sociality, they create living installations and imagine an ever-expanding self that exists beyond the boundaries of one’s skin. Shin is a 2020 New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellow and 2020 Visiting Artist Fellow at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn. Shin has exhibited internationally at the Queens Museum, Lewis Center for the Arts, Wave Hill, Recess, Doosan Gallery, Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery, Cuchifritos Gallery, Knockdown Center, and Cody Dock, London. 

 

 

 

 

 

GTA (Gentrification Tax Action) is a group of friends, artists, and architects (Kika Thorne, Jane Hutton, Sameer Farooq, Adrian Blackwell) who have formed a collective to fight the predatory real estate market in our neighborhoods. Their installation aims to build a campaign for a Gentrification Tax in Toronto – a declining percentage tax of the after-inflation increase in home prices over ten years. The income from the tax will be used to support local community-controlled housing initiatives such as land trusts and cooperatives.

 

Sean Weisgerber is an artist based in Toronto working in painting, sculpture, printmaking and installation. His work centres on the nexus of art and commerce with an interest in how art and labour are commodified. He studied at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design (Vancouver) and Chelsea College of Art (London). His work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions across Canada, exhibiting at The Plumb (Toronto), Open Studio Contemporary Printmaking Centre (Toronto), The New Gallery (Calgary), Wil Aballe Art Projects (Vancouver), the Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon), AKA Artist-Run (Saskatoon), Cooper Cole Gallery (Toronto) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa) as a finalist in the RBC Painting Competition. He has forthcoming exhibitions at Ace Art (Winnipeg) and The Foreman Gallery at Bishop’s University (Sherbrooke).

 

Matthew Kyba is the current Curator of Contemporary Art for the Ministry of Culture & Tourism (Columbus, OH). Recent curated exhibitions include both singular and touring projects at Museum London, The Ottawa Art Gallery, The Art Gallery of Hamilton, The Winnipeg Art Gallery, and multiple contemporary art spaces across Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell All The Truth But Tell It Slant


Opening + Artist Talk:
 June 24, 7 PM (ASL provided)

Run: June 24 – August 13

Gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12-5 PM (closed July 1-2, 30)

Tell All The Truth But Tell It Slant is a multi-media exhibition that addresses the atrocities of an oppressive ruling system in Iran that continually and deliberately uses socio-political suppression to control its citizens. From the viewpoint of an Iranian living in Canada, I create images, objects, and spaces that investigate power dynamics, means and instruments of power, omission, and censorship, among others. I employ allegory and representation of culturally significant imagery from Persian and Islamic art and architecture as my formal language. While accentuating the importance of materiality, my work questions the subject-object duality to more profoundly bring the political into the material realm.

Zahra Baseri is an Iranian-Canadian artist who has a BFA Honors from the University of Manitoba (2016) and an MFA from the University of Waterloo (2019). She continued her research in Lisbon, Portugal, through Maumaus, an independent study program in 2020. Baseri was Manitoba’s provincial winner for BMO 1st Art! (2016), and received the University of Waterloo Fine Arts highest honour of achievement, the Sylvia Knight Award (2019).


Tell All The Truth But Tell It Slant est une exposition multimédia qui adresse les atrocités d’un système de gouvernement oppressif en Iran qui se sert constamment et délibérément de la suppression sociopolitique pour contrôler ses citoyens. Du point de vue d’une Iranienne qui demeure au Canada, je crée des images, des objets et des espaces qui explorent les dynamiques du pouvoir, les moyens et les instruments du pouvoir, l’omission et la censure, entre autres. J’utilise l’allégorie et la représentation de l’imagerie culturelle de signification particulière provenant de l’art et de l’architecture persane et islamique, comme si c’était un langage formel pour moi. Tout en accentuant l’importance de la matérialité, mes œuvres contestent la dualité sujet-objet afin d’intégrer la politique plus profondément dans le domaine du matériel.

Zahra Baseri est une artiste iranienne canadienne qui a un baccalauréat en beaux-arts de l’Université du Manitoba (2016) et un diplôme d’études supérieures en beaux-arts de l’Université de Waterloo (2019). Elle a poursuivi sa recherche à Lisbonne au Portugal par l’entremise de Maumaus, un programme d’études indépendant, en 2020. Zahra Baseri a été choisi comme gagnante provinciale de BMO 1st Art! (2016) et a reçu la Sylvia Knight Award (2019), la plus haute marque de distinction des beaux-arts à l’Université de Waterloo. 

Traduction par : Simone Hébert Allard

Translation by: Simone Hébert Allard

This exhibition includes engine oil which may be hazardous to people with fragrance sensitivities, allergies, asthma or any other medical conditions. Please contact us if you have any concerns.

Mujer Artista: The Cure La Cura

A greyscale image of sparse branches in front of a white wall. Half of the image has a translucent mauve overlay. Text overtop reads: mujer artista, the cure, la cura. Friday May 20 - Saturday June 11, 2022. aceartinc. Winnnipeg, 206 Princess Street. Opening Friday May 20 at 7 pm. Artist talk and performances Saturday May 28 at 2 pm. mujerartista.ca. Adriana Alacron, Carolina Araneda, Beatriz Barahona, Francesca Carella Afrinengo, Caroline Dickie, Gabriele Garcia, Vanessa Harari, Monica Mercedez Martinez, MIchele Melendez-Gallegos, Yolanda Paulsen, Lucy Pavez, Esperanza Sanchez Espitia, Daniela Smith-Fernandez, Citali Solis. Program Manager: Cecilia Araneda. Image: The Big Symphony by Yolanda Paulsen. Presented in partnership with MAWA: Mentoring Artists for Women's Art. Funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.
Image: The Big Symphony by Yolanda Paulsen

May 20 – June 11, 2022

Opening: Friday, May 20 at 7 PM

Artist Talk + Performances: Saturday May 28 at 2 PM

Gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12-5 PM

  • Adriana Alarcon
  • Carolina Araneda
  • Beatriz Barahona
  • Francesca Carella Arfinengo
  • Caroline Dickie
  • Gabriela Garcia
  • Vanesa Harari
  • Monica Mercedez Martinez
  • Michele Melendez-Gallegos
  • Yolanda Paulsen
  • Lucy Pavez
  • Esperanza Sanchez Espitia
  • Daniela Smith-Fernandez
  • Citlali Solis

Program Manager: Cecilia Araneda
Program Coordinator: Francesca Carella Arfinengo
Program Mentors: Franci Duran + Alexandra Garrido

About Mujer Artista:

In 2014, after a series of conversations between Latin Canadian women artists Cecilia Araneda, Praba Pilar, and Monica Martinez, we came up with the idea of participating in an artistic process from the starting point of collective dialogue. We named this initiative Mujer Artista. From our core group of three, Mujer Artista has gradually expanded over the years to involve more artists.

Mujer Artista acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, MAWA: Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art and aceartinc.

Among the Falling Stars: Megwe-aya’iing anangoog gaa-bangishimowaad | Michel Dumont

A close up view of the mouth of a bear sculpture. The bear is covered in brightly coloured tiles.

April 1 – May 7, 2022

Opening: April 1, 7-10 pm 
Virtual Artist Talk: May 5, 7 pm via Zoom 

It began with a box of discarded vintage Italian tile. I made natural scenes in rough geometric shapes. With time, trial and error, stories took shape.

The tile speaks of the terrazzo floors built by my Italian neighbours. It tells of mining, asbestos, and the hazardous chemicals required to achieve vivid permanent colours. 

From these stories, I broke, smashed, and carved them into something new. I tell my own stories, and those of the animals of this region articulating the scars, chips, and scrapes we bear from survival in this colonial reality.

My disabilities pose unique challenges to my practice. I must rest my injured spine often. A heavy gas mask protects my hyper-sensitive immune system. 

My reality of being a disabled, queer, urban-Indigenous trauma survivor encompasses every inch of this work. The silver lining is the zen pain-free state I can achieve during high-focus work sessions. From this work comes both pain and medicine; beauty from the broken.

Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for their support with exhibition assistance.

Michel Dumont is a queer Metis two-spirited disabled artist, and survivor of intergenerational trauma stemming from Indian Day School. He currently resides in Thunder Bay. He works in wearable art, using packing tape, mylar, cellophane and LED lights.

Photos by Karen Asher | 2022

Click to open the virtual exhibition

This exhibition was originally selected for the 2020-2021 programming year, but postponed due to the closure of the gallery during the pandemic. The jury which selected these exhibitions included: Mariana Muñoz Gomez, Hassaan Ashraf, Annie Beach, Liam Zarillo, and Tani Miki.

Urban Art Biz 8- Artist:  Buffy Sainte-Marie

Image of self portrait black psychedelic image
Image: Self Portrait, 36″x36″ on Kodak Endura metallic paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Presented in partnership with Creative Manitoba

Wednesday, March 16, 2022, from 2pm – 3pm CST.

Join us in conversation with digital art innovator,  Buffy Sainte-Marie.

The Cree singer-songwriter has been an informative pathfinder and advocate for Indigenous rights, a continually evolving artist, and a contributor of positive thinking and resiliency amid difficult issues. She has spent her whole life creating, and her artistry, humanitarian efforts, and Indigenous leadership have made her a unique force in multi-disciplinary arts.

Registration link here:

https://creativemanitoba.ca/events/we-are-honoured-to-host-buffy-sainte-marie-in-conversation-about-her-most-recent-show-buffy-sainte-marie-pathfinder-a-retrospective-by-an-innovator-of-digital-art/

The workshop is offered Free. Please register online by 10:30 am CST March 16, 2022, the morning of the event, and a zoom link will be sent to your email address by noon!

We are honoured to host Buffy Sainte-Marie in conversation about her most recent show, BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE: PATHFINDER a retrospective by an innovator of digital art, curated by Natasha Desrochers Lowenthal, of Paquin Entertainment, and currently running at Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Gallery in partnership with aceartinc.

Pathfinder features Sainte-Marie’s full collection of large-scale digital paintings as well as never-before-seen personal sketches, artifacts, and behind-the-scenes photos that speak directly to this respected icon’s unique perspective of her own multi-disciplinary life and culture and the experiences that inspired her to create these pieces.

Sainte-Marie approached the digital medium as she has with every facet of her diverse career — with trailblazing ingenuity. Reflect back to 1984 — a time when the internet was almost unheard of and home computers were in their infancy — Sainte-Marie was there, building pieces of this collection within the confines of the very first versions of MacPaint on the earliest Macintosh models. The technology was nothing like the digital production resources we have today and was used primarily as tools for marketing and graphic design rather than for creating fine art with emotional impact. Being void of prefabricated filters or options for multiple layers, the process of creating artful images required dexterity and patience. Rising above the limitations of the software, she injected as much depth of tradition and attention to detail with pixels as one would with intricate beadwork or classic oils. Meticulously blending scanned images of her wet studio paintings and in-progress drawings and sketches with those of real fibers, feathers, and beads, Sainte-Marie crafted these digital tapestries with the precision and care of a natural-born storyteller. The visual and intellectual brilliance of this collection is undeniably ahead of its time.

image of Buffy smiling
Image: Buffy-Sainte-Marie-Medicine-Songs-Promo-Image-Photo-by-Matt-Barnes

About Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie is believed to have been born in 1941 on the Piapot First Nation reserve in Saskatchewan and taken from her biological parents when she was an infant. She was adopted by a visibly white couple and raised in Maine and Massachusetts. As a child, Buffy’s adoptive mother self-identified as part Mi’kmaq but knew little about Indigenous culture. She encouraged Buffy to find things out for herself when she grew up. By the age of four, Buffy had taught herself to play the piano by ear and was making up songs for fun. The gift of a guitar for her sixteenth birthday made her music portable.  She invented new tunings which would influence both her own unique sound and that of other future musicians, like Joni Mitchell.

At university, Buffy earned undergraduate degrees in both Oriental Philosophy and Education. Upon graduation, she began singing in coffee houses in New York’s Greenwich Village, leading to her first recording contract and the extensive touring that launched Buffy to international stardom. From the late 1960s through the 1970s, she expanded both her music and visual art into experimental technologies that evolved into what is now called digital art and electronic music. Since 1983, Buffy has been the recipient of fifteen honorary degrees from universities across Turtle Island including an honorary Ph.D. in Fine Art from the University of Massachusetts. Since her groundbreaking debut album, 1964’s It’s My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter has been an informative trailblazer and advocate for Indigenous rights, a continually evolving artist, and a contributor of positive thinking and resiliency amid difficult issues. With songs like “Universal Soldier” and “Until It’s Time for You to Go”, Buffy established herself among the ranks of songwriter greats.

Throughout her career, Buffy has devoted much of her time and resources to supporting Indigenous peoples through a variety of educational programs. Her Nihewan Foundation for Native American Education provided scholarships for Indigenous studies and students, two of whom became presidents of tribal colleges; and her Cradleboard Teaching Project provided accurate core curriculum including science, government, and geography-based in Native American cultural perspectives for all grade levels. In 1998, Buffy Sainte-Marie received the Native Americans in Philanthropy’s Louis T. Delgado Award for Native American Philanthropist of the Year and, for the next twelve years, combined her work in education with her writing, visual art, recording and touring.

Most recently, Buffy released two critically acclaimed albums, Power in the Blood (2015) and Medicine Songs (2017), collectively winning multiple JUNO Awards and the highly coveted Polaris Music Prize. In 2017, Buffy received the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award and she opened the JUNO Awards’ national telecast with a riveting introduction that went off-script when she acknowledged that Ottawa is on the “un-surrendered” territory of the Algonquin and Anishinaabe Nations who have been here “for thousands and thousands and thousands of years”. In 2019, Buffy was named a Companion of the Order of Canada – the nation’s highest civilian honour. In 2020, Buffy released her debut children’s book Hey Little Rockabye, while her 1964 album It’s My Way! won the Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize, awarded to albums that have remained culturally relevant decades after their release.

2021 celebrated Buffy’s 80th birthday with recognition for her lifetime of contribution as a musical and visual artist, as well as activist, educator, and philanthropist dedicated to Indigenous rights.  Still on the road performing, Buffy was recently celebrated at the National Arts Centre for Canada Post’s unveiling of her commemorative stamp, as well as appearing in Los Angeles for a special tribute from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ acknowledging Buffy Sainte-Marie as the first Indigenous person ever to win an Oscar for writing the hit song, “Up Where We Belong” from An Officer and a Gentleman.

Urban Art Biz is a series of online workshops focusing on the business side of art from an Indigenous perspective. Our goal is to provide insight into the professional world and work of Indigenous artists and Indigenous galleries.

We are very grateful to our co-presenters for contributing to this very special edition of Urban Art Biz:

Digital Anti-Matter Anti-Manifesto | gijiit | programming intervention

Stars swirling in space. At the centre is overlaid text which reads: digital anti-matter anti-manifesto

From March to August of 2021, aceartinc. hosted a programming intervention from the curatorial collective, gijiit. This intervention, Digital Anti-Matter Anti-Manifesto, consisted of a series of online events that featured digital artwork, performances, workshops, and talks by Indigenous artists from across Turtle Island.

Digital Anti-Matter Anti-Manifesto

We strive to consider the varying forms of matter, energy, and particles that exist around us. While Western notions of science-based knowledge hold the sole perspective of Truth, Indigenous cosmologies acknowledge the existence of multiple truths and realities that create diverse tapestries of life. Anti-matter works through the ways in which decolonial thinkers and makers deny colonial conceptions of Truths, ordering of space and temporality.

Through the lens of anti-matter, we aim to carve out a space for anti-colonial matter: as sound, particles, energy, and anti-colonial knowledge transmission.

Anti-manifesto derives from queer theory and the idea that there is no future for the queer and all those who aren’t afforded a potentiality of life on Man’s Earth. All that which is queer should resist, at all costs, a neoliberal fascination with the future and the manifesto, and prefer instead to lurk in the margins, the in-between spaces, of intelligibility and definition.

This programming will honour the types of matter and knowledge transference that takes place through digital spaces.

gijiit is a curatorial collective consisting of members Jas M. Morgan and Adrienne Huard, based in Tkaronto and Miiskwaagamiwiziibiing. The collective concentrates on community-engaged Indigenous art dealing with themes of gender, sex, and sexuality.

BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE: PATHFINDER a retrospective by an innovator of digital art

A digital portrait of Buffy Sainte-Marie with multi color stripes integrated into her face.
Self Portrait, Ilfordchrome, Pixel Paint and Adobe Photoshop, 1988-1992, size 36″ x 36″

Curated by Natasha Desrochers LowenthalPaquin Entertainment

Presented in partnership with Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art and Paquin Entertainment Group 

December 17, 2021- March 19, 2022

Location: Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art, 2nd Floor of 290 McDermot Ave

EXHIBITION ABSTRACT

Pathfinder features Buffy Sainte-Marie’s full collection of large-scale digital paintings as well as never-before-seen personal sketches, artifacts and behind-the-scenes photos that speak directly to this respected icon’s unique perspective of her own multi-disciplinary life and culture and the experiences that inspired her to create these pieces.

Sainte-Marie approached the digital medium as she has with every facet of her diverse career — with trailblazing ingenuity. Reflect back to 1984 — a time when the internet was almost unheard of and home computers were in their infancy — Sainte-Marie was there, building pieces of this collection within the confines of the very first versions of MacPaint on the earliest Macintosh models. The technology was nothing like the digital production resources we have today, and was used primarily as tools for marketing and graphic design rather than for creating fine art with emotional impact. Being void of prefabricated filters or options for multiple layers, the process of creating artful images required dexterity and patience. Rising above the limitations of the software, she injected as much depth of tradition and attention to detail with pixels as one would with intricate beadwork or classic oils. Meticulously blending scanned images of her wet studio paintings and in-progress drawings and sketches with those of real fibres, feathers and beads, Sainte-Marie crafted these digital tapestries with the precision and care of a natural-born storyteller. The visual and intellectual brilliance of this collection is undeniably ahead of its time.

kîkway kâ-nôkwahk ôta 

Buffy Sainte-Marie kî-ati-atoskâtasm naspitêyihtamowin âpacihcikana pêyakwan iai kâ-kî-pêatoskâtahk kahkiyaw osîhcikêwina – kî-tawatahikêw omamahtâwisiwin ohci. kiskisi 1984 askîwin – êkospîhk êkâ mwâsi ê-pêhtamihk misiwêskamik-ayapiy êkwa mîkiwâmihk ohci mamâhtâwi-âpacihcikana kêtisk awiyak ê-kî-âpacihtât – êkota Buffy kî-osîhtâw ôhi mâwacihcikêwina âta apisîs piko âpacihcikana ê-kî-ihtakohki tâpiskôc MacPaint anihi Macintosh. namôya mistahi kî-ihtakwan wîcihiwêwina mamâhtâwi-âpacihcikana ohci tâpiskôc anohc ôhi naspitêyihtamowina êkwa piko kî-âpatanwa ta-atâwâkêhk piko kîkway ohci namôya kî-âpatanwa naspitêyihtamowin tâpasinahikêwina ohci. nama kî-ihtakona kwayâc-wîcihiwêwin ahpô ka-asastâniwiki tâpasinahikêwina, ohcitaw piko pah-pêyahtak ta-osîhcikêt otâpasinahikêw, ta-sîpêyihtahkik. kî-sâkohtâw anihi kâ-wî-wanâhokot, êkâ cêskwa ê-kîihtakohk wîcihiwêwin, kî-kocîhtâw ta-tâpasinahikêt êkota mamâhtâwi-âpacihcikan ê-âpacihtât, tâpiskôc awiyak pêyahktak kâ-mîkisihkâcikêt ahpô awiyak pimiy ohci ê-masinipêhikâkêt. kîkakâyawâtisiw ê-kikinahk nanâtohk pîtos naspisîhcikana mîna tâpasinahikêwina, mîna asapâpak, pîwaya, mîkwanak, êkwa mîkisak, Buffy kî-osîhtâw ôhi naspitêyihtamowin tâpasinahikêwin ê-mamahtâwisihcikêt pêyakwan otâtayohkêw. êwakoni ôhi kâ-wâpahtamihk mîna kâ-mâmitonêyihtamihk mâmawihcikêwin kâ-miyonâkwahki mêtoni nîkânîstamâkêw.

ᑮᑿᐩᑳᓅᑿᕽᐆᑕ

Buffy Sainte-Marie ᑮ ᐊᑎ ᐊᑐᐢᑳᑕᐢᒼ ᓇᐢᐱᑌᔨᐦᑕᒧᐏᐣ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᒋᑲᓇ ᐯᔭᑿᐣ iai ᑳ ᑮ ᐯ ᐊᑐᐢᑳᑕᕽ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᐅᓰᐦᒋᑫᐏᓇ – ᑮ ᑕᐘᑕᐦᐃᑫᐤ ᐅᒪᒪᐦᑖᐏᓯᐏᐣ ᐅᐦᒋ᙮ ᑭᐢᑭᓯ 1984 ᐊᐢᑮᐏᐣ – ᐁᑯᐢᐲᕽ ᐁᑳ ᒹᓯ ᐁ ᐯᐦᑕᒥᕽ ᒥᓯᐍᐢᑲᒥᑲᔭᐱᐩ ᐁᑿ ᒦᑭᐚᒥᕽ ᐅᐦᒋᒪᒫᐦᑖᐏ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᒋᑲᓇ ᑫᑎᐢᐠ ᐊᐏᔭᐠ ᐁ ᑮ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᑖᐟ – ᐁᑯᑕ Buffy ᑮ ᐅᓰᐦᑖᐤ ᐆᐦᐃ ᒫᐘᒋᐦᒋᑫᐏᓇ ᐋᑕ ᐊᐱᓰᐢ ᐱᑯ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᒋᑲᓇᐁ ᑮ ᐃᐦᑕᑯᐦᑭ ᑖᐱᐢᑰᐨ MacPaint ᐊᓂᐦᐃ Macintosh. ᓇᒨᔭ ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᑮ ᐃᐦᑕᑿᐣ ᐑᒋᐦᐃᐍᐏᓇ ᒪᒫᐦᑖᐏ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᒋᑲᓇ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑖᐱᐢᑰᐨᐊᓄᐦᐨ ᐆᐦᐃ ᓇᐢᐱᑌᔨᐦᑕᒧᐏᓇ ᐁᑿ ᐱᑯ ᑮ ᐋᐸᑕᓌ ᑕ ᐊᑖᐚᑫᕽ ᐱᑯ ᑮᑿᐩ ᐅᐦᒋ ᓇᒨᔭ ᑮ ᐋᐸᑕᓌ ᓇᐢᐱᑌᔨᐦᑕᒧᐏᐣᑖᐸᓯᓇᐦᐃᑫᐏᓇ ᐅᐦᒋ᙮ ᓇᒪ ᑮ ᐃᐦᑕᑯᓇ ᑿᔮᐨ ᐑᒋᐦᐃᐍᐏᐣ ᐊᐦᐴ ᑲ ᐊᓴᐢᑖᓂᐏᑭ ᑖᐸᓯᓇᐦᐃᑫᐏᓇ, ᐅᐦᒋᑕᐤ ᐱᑯ ᐸᐦ ᐯᔭᐦᑕᐠᑕ ᐅᓰᐦᒋᑫᐟ ᐅᑖᐸᓯᓇᐦᐃᑫᐤ, ᑕ ᓰᐯᔨᐦᑕᐦᑭᐠ᙮ ᑮ ᓵᑯᐦᑖᐤ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑳ ᐑ ᐘᓈᐦᐅᑯᐟ, ᐁᑳ ᒉᐢᑿ ᐁ ᑮ ᐃᐦᑕᑯᕽ ᐑᒋᐦᐃᐍᐏᐣ, ᑮ ᑯᒌᐦᑖᐤᑕ ᑖᐸᓯᓇᐦᐃᑫᐟ ᐁᑯᑕ ᒪᒫᐦᑖᐏ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᒋᑲᐣ ᐁ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᑖᐟ, ᑖᐱᐢᑰᐨ ᐊᐏᔭᐠ pêyahktak ᑳ ᒦᑭᓯᐦᑳᒋᑫᐟ ᐊᐦᐴ ᐊᐏᔭᐠ ᐱᒥᐩ ᐅᐦᒋᐁ ᒪᓯᓂᐯᐦᐃᑳᑫᐟ᙮ ᑮ ᑲᑳᔭᐚᑎᓯᐤ ᐁ ᑭᑭᓇᕽ ᓇᓈᑐᕽ ᐲᑐᐢ ᓇᐢᐱᓰᐦᒋᑲᓇ ᒦᓇ ᑖᐸᓯᓇᐦᐃᑫᐏᓇ, ᒦᓇ ᐊᓴᐹᐸᐠ, ᐲᐘᔭ, ᒦᑿᓇᐠ, ᐁᑿ ᒦᑭᓴᐠ, Buffy ᑮ ᐅᓰᐦᑖᐤ ᐆᐦᐃ ᓇᐢᐱᑌᔨᐦᑕᒧᐏᐣ ᑖᐸᓯᓇᐦᐃᑫᐏᐣ ᐁ ᒪᒪᐦᑖᐏᓯᐦᒋᑫᐟ ᐯᔭᑿᐣ ᐅᑖᑕᔪᐦᑫᐤ᙮ ᐁᐘᑯᓂ ᐆᐦᐃᑳ ᐚᐸᐦᑕᒥᕽ ᒦᓇ ᑳ ᒫᒥᑐᓀᔨᐦᑕᒥᕽ ᒫᒪᐏᐦᒋᑫᐏᐣ ᑳ ᒥᔪᓈᑿᐦᑭ ᒣᑐᓂ ᓃᑳᓃᐢᑕᒫᑫᐤ᙮

RÉSUMÉ DE L’EXPOSITION

Buffy Sainte-Marie a exploré le monde numérique comme elle a su si bien le faire dans toutes les sphères de sa riche carrière, soit avec une créativité audacieuse. Dès 1984, à un moment où Internet et les ordinateurs personnels n’avaient pas encore pris leur envol, Buffy s’employait déjà à concevoir les œuvres de cette collection à l’aide des toutes premières versions de MacPaint des premiers ordinateurs Macintosh. Plus élémentaire, la technologie était alors sans commune mesure avec les outils numériques d’aujourd’hui et servait principalement à la mise en marché et au graphisme plutôt qu’à la création d’œuvres artistiques chargées d’émotion. Comme il n’y avait pas de fonctionnalités multicouches ni de filtres préconfigurés, il fallait faire preuve de dextérité et de patience pour arriver à créer de bonnes images artistiques. Malgré les limites des logiciels, elle a su insuffler à ses œuvres pixellisées un sens de la tradition et du détail à la hauteur de celui qu’on peut retrouver dans les peintures à l’huile classiques et les broderies perlées les plus fines. Par une méticuleuse fusion d’images numérisées de ses aquarelles produites en atelier et de ses dessins et esquisses avec celles de véritables tissus, plumes et perles, Buffy a confectionné ces tapisseries numériques avec la finesse et la minutie d’une conteuse née. La splendeur visuelle et intellectuelle de cette collection dénote assurément une vision résolument avant-gardiste.

WE ARE FOLLOWING MANITOBA GOVERNMENT PRECAUTIONS AS THEY HAPPEN – IF CHANGES OCCUR, URBAN SHAMAN WILL ADVISE BY EMAIL & UPDATES WILL BE ON THEIR WEBSITE ON HOW YOU CAN VISIT THEIR GALLERY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE AND SUPPORT.

 

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