James Peters, “Half Breed Ladies, Fish Creek, 1885”, Library and Archives Canada.

Respondent Series | A Talk with Sherry Farrell Racette |
From Colonialism to Visual Sovereignty: Indigenous Bodies and the Camera

October 17, 2017 – 7pm

In response to our current exhibition Entering the Landscape, on Tuesday, October 17th at 7pm, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art presents “From Colonialism to Visual Sovereignty: Indigenous Bodies and the Camera” by beloved scholar, artist and educator, Sherry Farrell Racette as part of our Respondent Series.

Considering the extensive representation of Indigenous women employing video or photography in Entering the Landscape, Racette will contextualize the impact of these technologies historically and their contemporary uses. She will speak to the fraught history of visual representation as an early tool of colonization, with particular focus on lens-based media. Recognizing its contemporary use as an apparatus of resistance and reclamation, Racette will trace a trajectory that sees a transition from the camera as a colonial instrument used to fetishize, and sexualize Indigenous peoples, to its empowered use by Indigenous women beginning in the mid-twentieth century. Coming full circle, Racette posits the camera as “now enable[ing] powerful acts of the imaginary to affirm our stories, reclaim our sovereign bodies and assert our enduring relationship to land”.

Sherry Farrell Racette is an interdisciplinary scholar and artist. As a researcher, educator, writer and artist, Racette’s influence on advancing Indigenous art histories in the Canadian context has been profound. She is interested in Indigenous understandings and uses of archival practices, material culture, and photography. In addition to authoring several books, Racette’s essays appear in numerous scholarly publications including, Sources and Methods in Indigenous Studies (2016), The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada (2012), and Manifestations: New Native Art Criticism (2011). As an artist, Racette works in a range of media, with a particular affection for beading. In 2012, she notably collaborated with Urban Shaman Gallery to bring the traveling exhibition Walking with our Sisters, a community arts project honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women, to Winnipeg. In 2016-2017, she was the inaugural resident “Distinguished Visiting Indigenous Faculty Fellow” at the Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto and is currently teaching at the Faculty of Media, Art and Performance at the University of Regina.

This talk is programmed in conjunction with Entering the Landscape (October 1 to December 31, 2017) 

Pia Arke • Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory  • Jaime Black • Lori Blondeau • A.K. Burns • The Ephemerals • Melissa General • Rebecca Horn • Katherine Hubbard • Maria Hupfield • Simone Jones •  Tau Lewis • Amy Malbeuf  • Meryl McMaster  •  Ana Mendieta • Natalie Purschwitz • Dominique Rey • Jamie Ross • Xaviera Simmons • Ming Wong • Alize Zorlutuna

Entering the Landscape is a contemplative group exhibition featuring twenty-one artists from Canada, the USA, Denmark, and Berlin. Working in film and video, photography, sculpture, and performance these artists represent a breadth of politicized contemporary and iconic historical works that place the female or queer body in the landscape. Bringing together artworks that conceptually and aesthetically overlap, this exhibition identifies and considers a persistent motif in contemporary art.

All public programming is free and open to the public. Everyone welcome!


Clay Figure Building Workshop with Jaime Black | Monday, October 23, 5:30-8:30pm
Clay Figure Building Workshop with Jaime Black | Wednesday October 25, 5:30-8:30pm
Respondent Series talk with Lori Blondeau | Thursday, November 16, 7pm
Premier screening of After Birth, 2017 by The Ephermerals with discussion moderated by Jenifer Papararo | Thursday, November 23, 7pm
Guided tours | tournée guidée en français:
Curatorial Tour with Sarah Nesbitt | Saturday, October 21, 3pm
Tournée guidée en française avec Janelle Tougas | samedi 28 Octobre, 15h
Curatorial Tour with Jenifer Papararo | Saturday, December 09, 3pm

Plug In ICA extends our gratitude to our generous donors, valued members and dedicated volunteers. With special thanks to our Director’s Circle.

We gratefully acknowledge 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, as well as Payworks and Wawanesa Insurance for the direct support of our youth programs.

Plug In ICA relies on community support to remain free and accessible to all, and enable us to continue to present excellent programs. Please consider becoming a member of Plug In ICA and a donor at by contacting Angela Forget:

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