Courtesy Michelle LaVallee.

Curator talk with Michelle LaVallee | Curation as Agency, Transformation and Guardianship

July 28, 2016 – 10am to 12pm

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art is honoured to co-present a talk with Michelle LaVallee with Wood Land School. An accomplished artist, curator and educator, LaVallee is the Curator at the Mackenzie Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan. Activating and developing greater understanding of misrepresented or marginalized histories is of personal and political import for LaVallee whose critical thought is influenced from her experience working with Indigenous peoples in Canada, El Salvador, Australia and Aotearoa (New Zealand).   

LaVallee will speak about her research-oriented artistic and curatorial work as part of Wood Land School: Thunderbird Woman, this year’s iteration of Plug In ICA’s Summer Institute. WLS takes up the powerful imagery of Daphne Odjig’s Thunderbird Woman (1973) as a conceptual point of departure that articulates Indigenous agency, the roles of guardianship and protection, and the notion of transformation. Artist Duane Linklater and curator Jaimie Isaac lead a group of participants through a series of texts, films, field trips and studio time for three weeks in the city of Winnipeg. Other associated events included a talk and discussion by curator Cathy Mattas and screening of a film by Darryl Nipenak, and will include an artist and curator talk by Julie Nagam, as well as open studios and a wrap party on August 5, 2016.

LaVallee is an artist, curator and educator. She is of Ojibway ancestry, and a member of the Chippewas of Nawash Band, Cape Croker, Ontario. In 2011, she was sent to the Venice Biennale with the Canadian Aboriginal Curators Delegation; the 2010 and 2008 Biennale of Sydney and in 2006, she received the 2006 Canada Council for the Arts Assistance to Aboriginal Curators Grant for Residencies in the Visual Arts. As an artist, LaVallee uses a variety of media, provoking the expectations of stereotypical imagery and so-called traditional media. Her work has been shown in a range of international exhibitions including: Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 3 at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City; Combine, part of “Love, Saskatchewan” at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto; Flatlanders: Saskatchewan Artists on the Horizon at the Mendel in Saskatoon; and in Myths of the Land with members of the Canadian Group of Seven and their contemporaries, Norval Morrisseau and Ron Noganosh, at the Ottawa Art Gallery.

This talk is available in our online video archive.

Plug In ICA gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We thank the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for their support of our 2016 and 2017 program, and we extend gratitude to The Winnipeg Foundation and all our generous donors, valued members and dedicated volunteers.

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For media inquiries please contact: Sarah Nesbitt at or by telephone at (204) 942-1043 ext 27.