Summer Institute Session II • BUSH gallery “Site/ation”

Summer Institute 2018 session 2 BUSH Gallery
Feasting on the Land, BUSH gallery, 2015. Photographer: Aaron Leon.

Introduction to Treaty 1 with Dr. Niigaan Sinclair
Tuesday, August 8 | 10:30am
Summer Institute Session II | Public Talk: Site/ation by BUSH gallery

Tuesday, August 14 | 6pm

For Session II of our Summer Institute, post-graduate research program, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art is excited to partner with BUSH gallery. Over three weeks, from August 6-24, Tania Willard, Peter Morin and Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill will lead Site/ation, pushing a radical approach to curating and art making, born from active engagements and lived experiences on the land, land marking, contemporary art, the reserve, and the gallery. Using Indigenous methodologies to build a transformational space, that is open to everyone, BUSH seeks to de-centre the gallery, and the city as epicentres of contemporary art.

BUSH gallery Project Statement:

BUSH gallery acknowledges the Indigenous Nations that have ancestral ties to the Treaty 1 Territory and the Métis Nation homeland. As uninvited guests,* we strive to connect what we are doing as Indigenous artists with valuing and circulating within local Indigenous economies and communities, while also creating space for conceptual, experimental and performative land-based Indigenous led contemporary art. By practicing reciprocity and value-based systems of Indigenous knowledges, centred by our specific cultural backgrounds, we make galleries of thought, colour, land, sky, text and interrelationality.

The 2018 summer intensive with Plug In ICA enacts ideas of site/ation. How are we influenced, challenged, changed and politically tied to the lands in our communities and in our orbits. Participants will camp on the land together, read relevant texts, go for walks on the land, dream new relationships, and will research and learn by making and doing.

Using art as strategy to guide resources and value Indigenous led spaces that acknowledge the land as the first gallery, as our gallery as BUSH gallery we will come together to laugh, to make, to eat and to conjure ideas and dreams that will feed the ancestors.

Artists, curators and writers from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply, but preference will go to QBIPOC (Queer, Black, Indigenous, People of Color) applicants. Deadline is March 10, 2018, 6pm Central Standard Time.

BUSH gallery functions as a space that allows for dialogue, experimental practice and community engaged work that contributes to an understanding of how gallery systems and art might be transfigured, translated and transformed by Indigenous customs, aesthetics, performance and land use systems. BUSH gallery is a trans-conceptual galleryspace. Trans-conceptual repositions ideas born within Indigenous and western epistemological conditions. The trans-conceptual space requires your body to be in a constant state of flux. Never settling like the flow of water in a river. One of the goals of BUSH gallery is to articulate Indigenous creative land practices, which are born out of a lived connection to the land.

* When we use ‘uninvited guest’ it means we acknowledge that due to dispossession of Indigenous lands and territories across Canada we operate outside of protocols that would make the local territory we are visiting within the authority of the traditional Indigenous land rights holder.


Lacie Burning is an emerging Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) and Onondaga queer, non-binary transmasculine artist and curator raised on Six Nations of the Grand River located in southern Ontario, Canada. They mainly practice as a multidisciplinary artist who works in photography, performance, installation, print, and sculpture. At the age of 18 Burning relocated from Six Nations to Vancouver, BC to finish their high school diploma and soon after began studying in the Visual Fine Arts program at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Having come from a culturally and politically grounded upbringing, their work focuses on politics of Indigeneity and identity from a queer, non-binary, and Haudenosaunee perspective.

Burning recently collaborated with Canadian Art Magazine’s Indigenous Editor-at-Large Lindsay Nixon on a feature article for their 2018 winter issue, titled LAND/BODY/RECIPROCITY. In 2017 Burning co-curated Unsettling Colonial Gender Boundaries with Métis scholar June Scudeler for Queer Arts Festival’s 2Spirit themed festival. Unsettling Colonial Gender Boundaries commissioned new media works by Thirza Cuthand and Chandra Melting Tallow and also included past work by Kent Monkman and Raven Davis. Burning currently serves on the board of directors for Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival (VIMAF) as Secretary and also sits on the programming committee.

In 2016 Burning was chosen to participate in the Mush Hole Project at the Mohawk Institute, the former residential school that their family attended. Their participation in the Mush Hole Project built on their 2012 mixed media installation Story Time which was the beginning of their foray into contemporary art and was critically acclaimed by Canadian Art in 2013 as part of the NE:ETH: Going Out of the Darkness exhibition.

Kevin Lee Burton (Swampy Cree) is an award-winning director. In 2007 his experimental film Nikamowin (Song) received the Best Experimental and Best Indigenous Language Production awards at the ImgineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto and went on to be named as part of the Toronto International Film Festival Group’s Top 10 list in 2008. Kevin has worked with the National Film Board of Canada; creating his short film Writing the Land, and co-creating Gods Lake Narrows Interactive which won a Webby award. Kevin was listed as Canada’s Top 20 to watch by the Victoria Film Festival in 2008.

Kevin has worked as program assistant for the Native and Indigenous Initiative at the Sundance Institute in Beverly Hills, California and is an associate programmer for Out On Screen’s IndigeQUEER program in Vancouver. He is also a founding member of the ITWĒ and Mamaweyas Collectives. Trained at an all-Aboriginal training Program (Indigenous Independent Digital Filmmaking Program) in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Kevin has been carving a niche in working with his ancestral language, Cree. Kevin is originally from God’s Lake Narrows First Nation in Manitoba, Canada.

Jane Harms
I am a white settler born and raised on Anishinaabe and Cree territory, the homeland of the Metis nation, now living on Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Sto:lo territory. Growing up in Winnipeg in a family and community valuing labour politics, socialist feminism, self publishing, art-based education and environmentalism shaped my self-directed studies and experimentation from a young age.

My early photocopied multiples, mixing didactic and absurd elements, were wheat pasted or distributed freely and anonymously. My 2012 mural decorating the foyer of the art space and music venue NGTV SPC, was a 3-wall black and white doodle page, depicting a woman eviscerating a cop and a person falling on their knees in religious rapture before a surveillance camera, surrounded by various pop and fantasy iconography. Moving to Montreal in 2012, I continued making posters and zines, and developed a solo electronic music project. In 2014 I toured a performance across the continent called ‘bag ritual’ in which I played my musical set from inside a tarpaulin bag my mother and I constructed, gradually emerging, extending sacraments of wine, corndog, and plastic rose to a large mirror.

In 2016 I edited and narrated Voice Recognition, for Art & Wonder, a semi-science fictional interview project in collaboration with 8 transfeminine experimental musicians addressing relationships to literal and figurative voice and the assimilation of our experiences into structures of recognition.

In Vancouver since 2016 I’ve been honing my drawing and music, doing design work for bands, and experimenting further with sculpture, sound art and painting.

Liz Ikiriko is an independent curator, photo editor and currently the art director for online media arts journal – The Ethnic Aisle. She has been immersed in the media arts community in Toronto for the past 12 years. Ikiriko has worked on national publications Toronto Life, Macleans, Canadian Business, AWAY magazine, among others. As a curator, she has organized exhibitions with BAND Gallery, Wedge Curatorial Projects, Sheridan College and the National Music Centre. She’s juried and reviewed portfolios at Ryerson University, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, Flash Forward Annual and the CAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography. Her curatorial work is centered on the practice of care, addressing hidden histories and foregrounding platforms for underprivileged artists. She is currently an MFA candidate in Criticism and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University in Toronto.

Audie Murray is a multi-disciplinary Métis artist  from Saskatchewan currently learning and creating on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples. She has completed a visual arts diploma at Camosun College in 2016 and her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Regina in 2017. She has studied traditional tattoo practices with the Earth Line Tattoo Collective in the summer of 2017 and continues to work with hand poke and skin stitching methods. Audie has shown her works at various events and spaces in Canada including Open Space, Victoria(B.C.);  the Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina (SK); the Alberta Art Gallery, Edmonton; the Clay and Glass Gallery, Waterloo (Ont); Hamilton Artist Inc (Ont); and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto (Ont).

To create is to learn, process, and go about embodying a presence in the world. For Murray creating work is a way of understanding the land, and her surroundings. It is a way to share these concepts with others. Creating is a way to foster consciousness under her own epistemology. She is an artist because she learns best from a way of knowing that is separate from the institutional constructs that are set in place. Themes of identity through culture and connections, both internally and externally, are present in her art practice.  Working with themes of contemporary Indigenous culture, and ideas of connectivity and duality, she believes that the concept and energy of her artworks informs their materiality and form.

Joseph Naytowhow is a gifted Plains/Woodland Cree (nehiyaw) singer/songwriter, storyteller, and voice, stage and film actor from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation Band in Saskatchewan. As a child, Joseph was influenced by his grandfather’s traditional and ceremonial chants as well as the sounds of the fiddle and guitar. Today he is renowned for his unique style of Cree/English storytelling, combined with original contemporary music and traditional First Nations drum and rattle songs.

An accomplished performer, Joseph is the recipient of the 2006 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award’s Keeper of the Tradition Award and he
2005 Commemorative Medal for the Saskatchewan Centennial. In 2009 Joseph also received a Gemini Award for Best Individual or Ensemble Performance in an Animated Program or Series for his role in the Wapos Bay series. That same year he was also awarded Best Emerging Male Actor at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival for his role in Run: Broken Yet Brave and won Best Traditional Male Dancer at John Arcand’s Fiddlefest in Saskatchewan. He has performed for the Prince of Wales, the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan and many other notables. His demanding schedule continues to take him to conferences, symposia, forums, festivals and film sets across Canada, North America and around the world.

Fifteen years of study with a Buddhist master, combined with his Nehiyo/Cree traditional knowledge and his experience as an interdisciplinary artist, has nurtured Joseph’s generosity and compassion for sharing cultural knowledge. He is a much sought after keynote speaker, counselor, and educator for children and adults alike. Joseph frequently enjoys opportunities to work as a resident artist and cultural advisor for various organizations including the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, and Polytechnic Institutes.

Joseph holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

Dana Qaddah describes her practice as an amalgamation of physical and social observations presented through means of critical discussion. Sculpture’s capacity to function in interdisciplinary ways generally accommodates these explorations, she does however make work between sculpture/installation, video/photo and mixed media.

For the past year, she has focused her research on the urban manifestations of contemporary sociopolitical conditions. Within her practice, remnants of capitalist endeavour are up-cycled to form new resources, objects and ideas- too much information exists to be neglected. The remixing of found and fabricated materials undermines the existing hierarchy between these two categories of artistic pursuit, highlighting the possibilities of circular economies.

Born in Lebanon with familial roots in Syria and Palestine, most of the ideas she engages with are informed by the socioeconomic effects of Arab expatriated or mandated statuses, within and outside the Arab world. Through recollection and continuous study of this state, she looks to embark on formal experimentations that stretch beyond identity politics towards a global conversation. Aiming to function within the realm of critical discussion that is relevant, her concern is for the work to be largely personal, but accessible.

She is currently completing her BFA at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. 

Christian Vistan is a Filipino Canadian artist originally from Bataan, a peninsular province in the Philippines. Currently based out of both Delta and Vancouver, BC, his movement living and working between in these places, informs his work. In transit, he observes his body with its particular set of histories and materials moving through a space with its own set of histories and materials: language, water, colonizations, industry, labours, migrations, displacements, personal and familial histories. His paintings and writings engages with these histories and materials as way to examine his own hybridity and the processes and experience of displacement and diaspora.

Daina Warren is a member of the Montana Cree Nation in Maskwacis (Bear Hills), Alberta. In 2000, she was awarded Canada Council’s Assistance to Aboriginal Curators for Residencies in the Visual Arts program to work with grunt gallery in Vancouver. This opportunity led to a permanent position with the artist-run centre as an associate curator and administrator until 2009. Warren completed the Canada Council’s Aboriginal Curatorial Residency at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, where she curated the group exhibition Don’t Stop Me Now. She has received her Bachelor’s degree in 2003, graduating from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Warren graduated from a Masters in Art History program, completing the Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of British Columbia (2012). Warren was awarded the 2015 Emily Award from Emily Carr University and was selected as one of six Indigenous women curators as part of the Canada Council for the Arts Delegation to participate in the International First Nations Curators Exchange that took place in Australia (2015), New Zealand (2016), and Canada (2017). She is currently the Director of Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Bo Yeung is a multidisciplinary artist threading and wrestling the complexities of cultural identity, diaspora, complicity and memory. Yeung immigrated to Canada in 1995 from Sha Tang district Tong lok village in Guangdong, China. She lives and work on the traditional territory of Tr’ondëk Hwëchin First Nations also known as Dawson City, Yukon. Yeung is currently researching and working on untold bitter herstories of women rice farmers in her village using visual narratives through embroidery.

Plug In ICA extends our heartfelt gratitude to our generous donors, artist, valued members, and dedicated volunteers. You make a difference.

We sincerely thank the RBC Foundation for the direct support of our Summer Institutes.

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.

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 Angela Forget: