THE COUNTER/SELF exhibition investigates artistic strategies of creating alter-egos to challenge hegemonic discourse and ingrained oppressive attitudes. Foregrounding absented perspectives and counteracting colonial narratives, these personas articulate forms of resistance or gesture to alternative ways of being counterparts in genuine dialogue. In an informal conversation, Meryl McMaster, Adrian Stimson, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and Jamie Griffiths will discuss the ways in which they position themselves in relation, confrontation or opposition to dominant socio-political forces and mind frames through the characters they embody.
This event is free and is open to the public.
Meryl McMaster (b. 1988) creates dreamlike photographic self-portraiture that crosses timescales, blending moments, lifetimes, generations, and geological eras. Drawing from her nēhiyaw (Plains Cree) and Euro-Canadian ancestry she constructs site-specific scenes with labour-intensive garments. McMaster’s work reinforces the intersections between actual and imagined experiences, in hopes of better understanding oneself, our histories, lineage and a more-than-human world.
Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory
Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory is a multi-award-winning Inuk poet and performance artist, working across issues of indigenous cultural politics, de-colonisation, social activism, climate change and language reclamation. She uses uaajeerneq (Greenlandic mask dancing), poetry, theatre, film, and performance art to tackle topics ranging from colonization, sexuality, intergenerational strength, fear, boundaries, and love.
Adrian Stimson is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation, Treaty 7 Territory, in southern Alberta, Canada. He graduated with a BFA (with distinction) from the Alberta University for the Arts, and an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. He is an interdisciplinary artist and exhibits nationally and internationally. Stimson’s paintings are primarily monochromatic, depicting bison in imagined landscapes. They evoke ideas cultural fragility, resilience and nostalgia. Stimson’s performance art looks at identity construction, specifically the hybridization of the Indian, the cowboy, the shaman and Two Spirit being. His installation work primarily examines the residential school experience. He has used the material culture from Old Sun Residential School on his Nation to create works that speak to genocide, loss, and resilience.
Jamie Griffiths is a digital artist, performer, and filmmaker. Jamie emigrated to British Columbia in 1989 from the UK, travelling widely with projects before moving to Nunavut in 2015.
Early hardcore photography in the LGBTQI cultures of the 1980s and 90s morphed into experimental film installations and projections in theatre, opera, new music, and dance. Jamie uses custom and hacked technologies to dig into humanity’s failings and triumphs on topics of identity, colonialism, transparency, and displacement.
Projects with Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory include Silaup Putunga (Tunnirrusiangit) at the Art Gallery of Ontario (permanent collection), Timiga Nunalu, Sikulu (exhibiting in #CallResponse and Among All These Tundras, Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery). Solo projects include White Liar (De La Warr Pavilion, UK) and Wild New Territories (Foundling Museum, UK, Berlin Botanical Gardens, Simon Fraser Gallery, BC). Projection designs include The Edward Curtis Project and The Road Forward by Marie Clements (Ottawa & Vancouver), Language is a Virus from Outer Space by Gavin Bryars/Richard Strange (Queen Elisabeth Hall, UK) and Kiviuq Returns by Qaggiavuut (National Arts Centre, Ottawa).