July 27, 2016

Curator talk and workshop with Julie Nagam

Screenshot from Julie Nagam's online project white pines lay over the water, see: http://www.vozavoz.ca/artists/#julienagam

This morning we were honoured to have Julie Nagam present a talk on her curatorial practice and writing. She lead an informal discussion with the faculty and participants of the Wood Land School on her research, which takes up the canoe as Indigenous methodology. Believing in the importance of embodied knowledge, Nagam had planned to take the group out on the water for a paddle. Unfortunately the water levels made this impermissible. 

The talk took an intimate format, beginning with introductions around the table, where we were joined by other members of the arts community including artist Dayna Danger who stopped in during her visit from Montreal. After introductions, Nagam shared how she developed her research around the canoe while attending university in Toronto as a way to connect with the territory there, and a response to the relative lack of Indigenous visibility in the dense urban space. She spoke of the canoe as transforming and transformative, putting Indigenous peoples at the forefront of conversations about colonialism and sovereignty: without the canoe no one could get around. Furthermore, the canoe can be understood as a metaphor for sovereignty because we can all be together in a canoe, but Indigenous people are leading the procession. This, she explained is very different from reconciliation.

After presenting her rich work with the canoe, Nagam asked those present to share any methodologies they drew inspiration from. This engendered meaningful conversation and knowledge exchange, including some discussion about how Indigenous methodologies are still heavily underrepresented in university methodology courses. 

Following the workshop with Julie Nagam, the Wood Land School was joined by other members of the Winnipeg arts community, including artist KC Adams, and artist-curator Niki Little. Everyone shared lunch provided by Feast, and enjoyed the sun and conversation on the Plug In rooftop patio. It was lovely to have so many people come be a part of the Wood Land School!

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