INDIAN GIVER is a powerful platform and an exhibition of new works created by Indigenous women that addresses issues of cultural appropriation through fashion, textiles and wearable art with curatorial vision by Erika Iserhoff and Sage Paul, founders and directors of Setsuné.
The eight established and emerging Indigenous artists include J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth (Nuu-chah-nulth), Erika Iserhoff (Cree), Jodi Lynn Maracle (Kanien’kehá ne Kenhtè:ke – Mohawk of the Bay of Quinte), Jeneen Frei Njootli (Gwich’in) in collaboration with Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez (Nahua/Mestizo), Sage Paul (Dene), Lido Pimienta (Wayuu) and Louise Minowinsetchketkwe Solomon (Ojibway).
INDIAN GIVER opened in Toronto on June 8, 2016 to outstanding media reviews. Named by both Blog TO and Culture Trip as one of the must see exhibitions this year, it is a timely and powerful exhibition that is “happening against a backdrop of companies, sports teams and designers profiting off Indigenous imagery.” – Toronto Star
The media is regularly flooded with incidents of cultural appropriation: Urban Outfitter’s illegal usage of the Navajo Nation’s cultural trademarks, the Washington Red*kins logo and name, and Canadian designers Dsquared2’s fashion collection D*quaw, to name a few. While these cases have been recognized as derogatory or racist, there are initiatives in the mainstream that are Indigenous-led and truly share in celebrating our culture, history, aesthetic, and contributions to modern day. This seminal exhibition, Indian Giver, addresses the disjointed “appreciation” of our culture and the theft of intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, artifacts or traditional materials by reclaiming these ideas and placing voice and creation squarely back into the hands of Indigenous artists.
For information about touring please contact Heather Haynes at Culture Storm email@example.com
Indian Giver: Artist Bios
Jnet AyAy Qwa Yak Sheelth (Nuu-chah-nulth) is from the Ancestral Lands of the Nuu-chah-nulth on Vancouver Island. She is a cedar bark weaver and textile artist who re-creates oral story traditions on contemporary and re-cultured clothing. J’net has been awarded numerous Canada Council for the Arts grants to venture home to BC and learn cedar bark weaving from kindred weavers. J’net is devoted to retaining and sustaining her oral traditions through a variety of Indigenous textile art mediums for future generations to take pride in their heritage. Textile art using a combination of appliqué, bead work and cedar bark weaving. There is also use of a commercial sewing costume pattern from 1800’s for female dress, jacket and accessories and garment reconstruction on existing tuxedo jacket and pants for the gentleman’s outfit.
Erika Iserhoff (James Bay Cree) is a multi-disciplinary artist of Omushkego/Eeyou Cree heritage and is a member of Constance Lake First Nation. Erika works to collaborate with artists, communities, and revitalize traditional Indigenous cultural practices within her contemporary art and design work and community arts projects. She is a graduate from the Ontario College of Art & Design University with a Bachelor of Design. She is also the Artistic Producer for Native Women in the Arts, a member of the Chocolate Woman Collective and the Co-Artistic Director of the Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator. Professional Art Exhibitions include; Passages: First Peoples (OCADU University Professional Gallery), Ancestral Teachings Contemporary Perspectives curated by Vanessa Dion Fletcher (Thunderbird Centre, Gladstone Hotel Gallery). Not Forgetting curated by Lisa Myers (Harbourfront Centre, Planet IndigenUS), Catalyst (Arts Etobicoke), Hand Work Graduate Exhibit (John B. Aird Gallery). Erika is a recipient a Dora Mavor Moore award for Outstanding Costume Design for the play Agokwe by Waawaate Fobister (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre)
Jodi Lynn Maracle (Kanien’kehá ne Kenhtè:ke – Mohawk of the Bay of Quinte) is currently pursuing her PhD in American Studies at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). Scholar, activist, dancer, craftswoman and artist Jodi Lynn Maracle centers her research, practice and activism on creating a contemporary presence for Indigenous peoples through critical self-representation across disciplines and across geographies. Most recently she completed a collaborative installation of screen printed signs in the Tuscarora language at Artpark in Lewiston, NY and is in production with its complementary digital soundscape component.
Jeneen Frei Njootli & Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez peoples are both in the North and the South are renown for creating incredibly inventive and beautiful garments. Jeneen and Rodrigo are inspired by the wearable art made by their ancestors and families hands. They hope to honour their respective traditions by giving continuation to the values enacted in creating hand made, imaginative, playful and meaningful wearable pieces and adapting them to our particular circumstances. In this collaboration Jeneen and Rodrigo will create two full-body garments that are reflective of their individual Nahua, Mestizo and Gwich’in ancestry. Jeneen Frei Njootli is a member of the ReMatriate collective and has a performance-based art practice. Rodrigo works as a plurimedia artist, activist and picture framer. Both artists are currently based in unceded Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueam territory.
Sage Paul makes fashion, costume and craft. She is an urban Dene woman. Her most recent work, Re-Dress (Redress) is an act of cultural repatriation. Sage purchased a pair of full-sized caribou antlers back from a hipster furniture store. With her mom, she re-dresses the antlers in a beaded peyote stitch. This piece was exhibited as a part of Indian Giver: Truth Telling and Narratives of Representation (2016) at Gallery 1313 in Toronto. Her works have been displayed at The Royal Ontario Museum, The Woodland Cultural Centre and the Harbourfront Centre. Sage has completed three fashion collections and designed wardrobe for film and theatre including with Danis Goulet, Kent Monkman and Herbie Barnes. She is also the Co-Artistic Director of Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator.
Lido Pimienta (Wayuu) is a Toronto-based Colombian born interdisciplinary Indigenous Wayuu and Afro Colombian artist, curator and musician. She has performed, exhibited and curated around the world since 2002. Her work explores the politics of gender, race, motherhood, identity and the construct of the Canadian landscape in the Latinx American and Indigenous Diaspora and vernacular.
Louise Solomon (Ojibwe) is a multimedia artist and goldsmith that takes inspiration from Mother Earth and her cultural heritage. She likes to mix modern day techniques and forms while still incorporating or drawing inspiration from raw materials like claws, teeth, sweetgrass and other organic materials. Louise studied Studio Art at the University of Guelph where she received her Bachelor of Arts and then continued her studies at George Brown College for Goldsmithing. She has since opened up a successful Jewellery company, Hand of Solomon where she produces high-end engagement rings, wedding bands and statement jewellery art.
Curatorial Advisor, Heather Haynes of Culture Storm is a Senior International Programmer for Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival and a Programmer for imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. She is the founder of Culture Storm, a production and touring company for performance artists, theatre and visual arts that plays an important role in fostering social, political, community engagement and change. She has produced three International award winning documentaries; Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary, Super Amigos, and City Idol and is the former Artistic Director and Founder of Toronto Free Gallery.