Sky Blanket Wireframe
Wrapped in the Cloud © Jaad Kuujus (Meghann O'Brien), 2018. Produced in collaboration with Conrad Sly, Hannah Turner, Reese Muntean, and Kate Hennessy. Video, 4 mins.

Group Exhibition | Sovereign Intimacies

September 26 – December 20, 2020

Partnership with Gallery 1C03, with support from Video Pool Media Arts Centre

Co-curated by Nasrin Himada and Jennifer Smith

*Reduced hours / by appointment

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art | 1, 460 Portage Ave | Winnipeg MB | Canada

Sovereign Intimacies is a group exhibition co-curated by Nasrin Himada and Jennifer Smith, in partnership with Gallery 1C03, with support from Video Pool Media Arts Centre. The exhibition takes place at Plug In ICA from September 26 – December 20, 2020, with extensive programming that consists of online talks, workshops, screenings, and poetry readings. Sovereign Intimacies explores themes of cultural and community exchange between Indigenous artists and artists from the diaspora, more specifically artists who are First Nations, Inuit and Métis collaborating with artists living in what is currently called Canada who came to this land and are not part of the settler/colonial history of the country. The group show consists of pairings of artists, as well as individuals, whose work is based on process and relationship building, and for those whose work is invested in active conceptualization around topics of friendship and intimacy, who are working to build collective vision of a sovereign future.

The curatorial intention is to present not only work in a gallery space, but to focus on an extensive online public program featuring readings, talks, workshops, screenings, and other local community engagements and encounters. The aim is to construct a space where these conversations highlight collaboration and exchange of knowledge. The community is centered, knowing that this exhibition cannot respond to and encompass all the needs of future discussions, but sets the goals for the community to continue these discussions to amplify our collective voice.

Featuring the work of Hassaan Ashraf, Annie Beach, Ayumi Goto, iris yirei hu, melannie monoceros, Peter Morin, Mariana Muñoz Gomez, Wanda Nanibush, M. NourbeSe Philip, Meghann O’Brien, Marie-Anne Redhead, Cheyenne Thomas, and David Thomas.

Programming Schedule

Friday, October 30 | 6 pm CT
Revealing & Understanding Sacred Roles Through Our Own Process | An artist Talk by Cheyenne Thomas and David Thomas

November 5 – 18
Un/spoken | Video Screening curated by Mariana Muñoz Gomez and Marie-Anne Redhead
Presented in partnership with Video Pool Media Arts Centre
Screening will be viewable on VUCAVU

Monday, November 9 | 7 pm CT
Discussion with Un/spoken filmmakers moderated by Mariana Muñoz Gomez and Marie-Anne Redhead
Presented by Video Pool Media Arts and Gallery 1C03

Monday, November 16 | 7 pm CT
Weaver girl limns two rainbows | An Artist Talk by iris yirei hu

Thursday, November 26 | 6 pm CT
Stitch-Kin | An Evening of Poetry with Poet, Filmmaker, and Textile Artist melannie monoceros

Thursday, December 3 | 6 pm CT
Making intimacy sovereign and sovereignty intimate | An Artist Talk by Wanda Nanibush

Wednesday, December 9 | 6 pm CT
Zong! unTelling the unTold, unDoing the unDone | Durational Reading with M. NourbeSe Philip

Performance with Peter Morin and Ayumi Goto featuring Nasrin Himada and Jennifer Smith

All public programming is free.

Artist Bios

Hassaan Ashraf is a multi-disciplinary artist who moved to Winnipeg in 2012 to pursue an MFA. Their work reflects on their journey as a displaced artist, dealing with diaspora, colonialism, politics and the west’s discomfort with alien cultures. Their work re-examines everyday experiences they had in Lahore, including rickshaws, kite flying, the Urdu language, and everyday life. Their practice has evolved in to conversations about race and gender politics, and possibilities of forming alliances with Indigenous artists and communities to fight colonisation and white supremacy. Their current practice involves Urdu and Punjabi calligraphy in different forms, sizes, mediums and performances.

Annie Beach is a visual artist, born and based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty One Territory. Beach is Cree/Saulteaux/Ukrainian, with relations from Peguis First Nation and Brokenhead First Nation. She is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (Honours) from the University of Manitoba’s School of Art, where she has sat on the School of Fine Art Student Association as Co-President for a number of years. Beach has curated, designed, and executed dozens of mural and community art projects throughout Manitoba and works as art instructor with a variety of youth, community arts and cultural-based organizations. Beach is also one of three recipients of the 2019 Hnatyshyn Foundation Emerging Artist prize.

Peter Morin and Ayumi Goto are best friends and performance artists. They sing together. They laugh together. They cry together. They debate ideas and plan for the destruction of the european colonization of canada. Morin and Goto have exhibited throughout canada and internationally. They also like to jump.

iris yirei hu (b. 1991, Los Angeles, CA) is an artist who works in painting, fibers, writing, and assemblage. In her work, one may encounter materials, stories, living organisms, and ecologies from Taiwan, California, Southern China, Mexico, and the American Southwest. She is interested in how people, places, and things are interconnected and networked, and how collaboration in the form of learning from, working with, and being in relation to can enable transformative futures and friendships. Her work has led her to form connections with historians, artists, scientists, keepers of traditions, and community organizers and stakeholders, and she centers learning and collaboration as methods of engagement. Her work is both research based and dependent on lived experience. hu has shown her work at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), OxyArts at Occidental College, John Michael Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan, WI), Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Women’s Center for Creative Work, Human Resources, Lenfest Center for the Arts (New York, NY), and Visitor Welcome Center. Public art commissions include mural wraps at California State University Dominguez Hills (2020) and bus and rail posters for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (2016). She has held residencies at the Women’s Center for Creative Work (2018), Carrizozo AIR (2020), and is currently in residence at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), where she will develop creative projects to reorient ourselves in the immediacy of the changing environment. Her work has been reviewed and featured in the LA Times, Artforum, Carla, CNN, Sinovision, KCET, X-TRA Online, and Artillery. She is working on her first book, and is currently teaching Fine Arts at Otis College of Art and Design. She earned her BA from UCLA and MFA from Columbia University in the City of New York.

melannie monoceros is a poet and interdisciplinary artist exploring polysensory production and somatic grief through text/ile. A Black, Taino-Arawak, queer and chronically ill creator, they live in Treaty 1/Winnipeg, MB; home of the Métis First Nation and the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Dene, Cree, Dakota and Oji-Cree Nations. In 2019, melannie was awarded the JRG Emerging Artist Award for their continued pursuit, integrating technology and accessibility through film via their series ancestoradio. In 2020 melannie’s work can be found at Gallery 1C03 (University of Winnipeg) the Window Gallery (Winnipeg) and the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (Brandon, MB).

Mariana Muñoz Gomez is an emerging artist, writer, and curator. She is a settler of colour based on Treaty 1 territory in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her work is concerned with language, representation, diaspora, displacement and identity within post- and settler colonial contexts. She is a coeditor of Carnation Zine and co-curator at window winnipeg. Mariana recently completed a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies: Curatorial Practices at the University of Winnipeg.

Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe image and word warrior, curator and community organizer from Beausoleil First Nation. Currently Nanibush is the inaugural curator of Indigenous art and co-head of the Indigenous + Canadian Art department at Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Her current AGO exhibition, Rebecca Belmore Facing the Monumental is touring internationally as well as two independent projects Nanabozho’s sisters (Dalhousie) and Sovereign Acts (JMB). Nanibush has a Masters of Visual Studies from University of Toronto where she has taught graduate courses. On top of many catalogue essays Nanibush has published widely on Indigenous art, politics, history and feminism and sexuality.

Born in Tobago, M. NourbeSe Philip is an unembedded poet, essayist, novelist, playwright and independent scholar who lives in the space-time of the City of Toronto where she practised law for seven years before becoming a poet and writer. Among her published works are the seminal She Tries Her Tongue; Her Silence Softly Breaks; the speculative prose poem Looking for Livingston: An Odyssey of Silence; the young adult novel, Harriet’s Daughter; the play, Coups and Calypsos, and four collections of essays including her most recent collection, BlanK. Her book-length poem, Zong!, is a conceptually innovative, genre-breaking epic, which explodes the legal archive as it relates to slavery. Among her awards are numerous Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council grants, including the prestigious Chalmers Award (Ontario Arts Council), the Canada Council’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award (Outstanding mid-career artist), as well as the Pushcart Prize (USA), the Casa de las AmericasPrize (Cuba), the Lawrence FoundationPrize (USA), the Arts Foundation of TorontoWriting and PublishingAward (Toronto), and DoraAward finalist (drama). Her fellowships include Guggenheim, McDowell, and Rockefeller (Bellagio). She is an awardee of both the YWCA Woman of Distinction (Arts) and the Elizabeth Fry Rebels for a Cause awards. She has been Writer-in-Residence at several universities and a guest at writers’ retreats. M. NourbeSe Philip is the 2020 recipient of PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.

Jaad Kuujus (Meghann O’Brien) (b. 1982) is a Northwest Coast weaver from the community of Alert Bay, BC. Her innovative approach to the traditional art forms of basketry, Yelth Koo (Raven’s Tail) and Naaxiin (Chilkat) textiles connects to the rhythms and patterns of the natural world, and creates a continuity between herself and her ancestors. O’Brien, who left the world of professional snowboarding to work full time as a weaver in 2010, employs materials such as hand-spun mountain goat wool and cedar bark in her meticulous weavings and baskets. She has apprenticed with master weavers Kerri Dick, Sherri Dick, and William White. Meghann now lives in Vancouver, B.C, and is currently exploring the intersection of Indigenous materials and techniques with the world of fashion and 3D Printing. She travels globally to lecture and demonstrate, yet emphasizes the value of contributing to the contemporary ceremonial practices of the Haida and Kwakwakw’wakw people.

Marie-Anne Redhead is Ininiw and francophone, as well as an emerging curator, writer and member of Fox Lake Cree Nation. She is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree at the University of Winnipeg with the intent to pursue an MA in the curatorial stream of the Cultural Studies program. Her research and creative practice is interested in decolonial art forms, contemporary Indigenous art, futurisms, language, and relationship-based identities.

Cheyenne Thomas is an Anishinaabe designer from Peguis and Sagkeeng First Nations. She graduated in 2013 from the Faculty of Architecture with an Environmental Design degree. She has worked on numerous Indigenous architecture, landscape, and installations across Canada. She has been a facilitator and designer for the Indigenous Gardens at the Assiniboine Park and presented in the UK, New Zealand, and across Canada. Currently, Thomas is a board member for the Forks and North Portage Partnership, and passionate about bringing her peoples visions and values into her work.

David Thomas is Anishinaabe, a member of Peguis First Nation, He is currently involved in the development of the Indigenous People’s Garden at Assiniboine Park part of Canada’s Diversity Garden. Along with Indigenous architecture projects throughout Canada, David has presented in New Zealand and the UK. David was also part of UNCEDED, Canada’s entry of Indigenous Architects for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. David’s practice, process and research focus on identity and lived experiences as an Indigenous person.

Curator Bios

Jennifer Smith is a Métis curator, writer and arts administrator in from Treaty One territory. She works at Video Pool Media Arts Centre as the Distribution Manager. Jennifer is the President of the board for the Coalition of Canadian Independent Media Art Distributors that runs and sits on the board of the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition and Platform Centre for Photographic + Digital Arts. Jennifer has curated exhibits and video programs for the Manitoba Craft Council, Video Pool Media Arts Centre, Open City Cinema, MAWA, the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library, and in 2018 was the Indigenous Curator in Residence at aceartinc.

Nasrin Himada is a Palestinian writer and curator. Their writing on contemporary art has appeared in Canadian Art, C Magazine, Critical Signals, The Funambulist, Fuse, and MICE, among others. They currently hold the position of Curator at Plug In ICA.


We are on Treaty 1 Territory. Plug In ICA is located on the territories of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.

Plug In ICA extends our heartfelt gratitude to our generous donors, valued members, and dedicated volunteers. We acknowledge the sustaining support of our Director’s Circle. You all make a difference.

Our sincere thanks go out to Collective Broadcast Co. for coordinating all of our online events.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We could not operate without their continued financial investment and lobbying efforts. For this exhibition and program we’d like to acknowledge the support of the Manitoba 150.

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 or by contacting Erin Josephson-Laidlaw at

For more information on public programming and exhibitions contact Nasrin Himada at

For general information, please contact: or call 1.204.942.1043

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