Wood Land School

For the 2016 Summer Institute the Wood Land School was invited to Plug In ICA. Artist Duane Linklater and curator Jaimie Isaac lead a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants through a series of texts, films, field trips and studio time for three weeks in the city of Winnipeg. These included:

Curatorial tour of Qua’yuk tchi’gae’win: Making Good with Jaimie Isaac, at the Winipeg Art Gallery 

Manitoba Museum vault visit with Sherry Farrell Racette

Visit to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Curator talk with Michelle LaVallee. Link to a video of the talk here  

Open Studio, reception and exhibition

Curator talk with Julie Nagam (on canoing as Indigenous methodology)

Screening of The Exiles (1961) by Kent MacKenzie

Curator Talk with Cathy Mattes (Curating as kitchen Table Talk)
(Video of talk can be seen here)

Curator talk with Daniel Jewesbury (Art and its Publics in ‘Post-Conflict’ Belfast). Link to video of talk here

For this iteration of Wood Land School, Isaac and Linklater have chosen a single artwork as a conceptual point of departure for the school, Daphne Odjig’sThunderbird Woman (1973), featured in We are on Treaty Land, a group exhibition curated by Isaac at the Winnipeg Art Gallery from their permanent collection.  

The powerful imagery of Daphne Odjig’s Thunderbird Woman is used as an icon and a symbolic starting point for this iteration of Wood Land School.   It articulates Indigenous agency, the roles of guardianship and protection, and the notion of transformation. Isaac and Linklater will posit this agency in moving between rural and urban spaces, institutions, ideas, forms, and within an articulation of their respective contemporary art practices.  

“We see Thunderbird Woman as a conceptual site of tremendous potential for our work at the Wood Land School. Over three weeks, we will read texts and watch films that complement the ideas situated in Thunderbird Woman. We hope the engagement with these materials and ideas will spur critical dialogues, long discursive situations, long takes, and artworks that culminate in an exhibition at its end.”

Wood Land School is an ongoing project with no fixed location or form. It seeks critical engagements within the realms of representation, film, contemporary art, land and politics in Turtle Island and beyond. Each iteration of Wood Land School carries forth with it a commitment to address the lack of structural inclusion, both historically and in the now, in a multiplicity of institutional spaces. It is a conceptual and physical space for Indigenous people, with Indigenous people deciding its directions, structures and functions. An important and vital component of the structure of Wood Land School since its beginning is the inclusion of non-Indigenous people into its fabric, as the faculty wants to include and not exclude those that wish to engage with the complexities of these aforementioned issues. Wood Land School was started in 2011 with the making of a small exhibition of works selected by Duane Linklater in a small studio space located above a store on the Nipissing First Nations in Ontario. Since then it has taken many forms such as residencies, seminars, film screenings and discursive happenings, in places such as The Banff Center for the Arts, Art Metropole, and Simon Fraser University. Currently there is a book of criticism being made with the support of Or Gallery Vancouver and SFU Galleries.  

Daphne Odjig is an internationally renowned artist. Born September 11, 1919 and raised on the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island (Lake Huron), Ontario Canada.  She has long been recognized as an influential painter and one of the key attributors to the Woodland style.  Her work is in key art collection across Canada and abroad. A retrospective of her work was exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada and she has had solo exhibition at the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, Santa Fe and the McKenzie Art Gallery, Regina. She has received Honorary Degrees from seven universities including the university of Toronto, Western Ontario and Laurentian University, Sudbury.  Numerous documentaries have focused on her life and work, Including The Life and Work of Woodland Artists (2003); Spirits Speaking Through (1981) and Colours of Pride (1973).

Faculty:  Jaimie Isaac is an artist and curator. In 2015 she was awarded the Aboriginal Curatorial Resident position at the Winnipeg Art Gallery through the Canada Council for the Arts. As part of this position (as a collaboration between the WAG and Plug In ICA), Isaac will work with Duane Linklater to lead the Wood Land School as Plug In’s 2016 Summer Institute.  Isaac holds a BA in Art History as well as an Arts and Cultural Management Certificate from the University of Winnipeg. Her Masters thesis from the University of British Columbia Okanagan focused on decolonizing curatorial praxis; mapping the agency and aesthetics of Indigenous Curatorial Praxis within contemporary Canadian art. Isaac’s work experience includes the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, and the Arts and Cultural Industries of Manitoba as the Aboriginal programs and outreach manager. She has worked in art collections management, arts education and workshops, and held various roles in art administration. Isaac has worked collaboratively with projects as an artist, curator and writer. She most recently curated, We Are On Treaty Land an exhibition of work from the WAG’s collection and artifacts from the Manitoba Museum.  She will launch a major group exhibition, Border X at the WAG in the Fall of 2016.

Duane Linklater is Omaskêko Cree, from Moose Cree First Nation in Northern Ontario and is currently based in North Bay, Ontario. Linklater attended the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College in upstate New York, USA, completing his Master of Fine Arts in Film and Video. He has exhibited and screened his work nationally and internationally at the Vancouver Art Gallery; Family Business Gallery in New York City; Te Tuhi Centre for Arts, Auckland; New Zealand, City Arts Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland; Institute of Contemporary Arts Philadelphia and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City. His collaborative film project with Brian Jungen, Modest Livelihood, was originally presented at the Walter Phillips Gallery at The Banff Centre as a part of dOCUMENTA (13) with subsequent exhibitions of this work at the Logan Centre Gallery at the University of Chicago and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Linklater was also the recipient of the 2013 Sobey Art Award. He is currently represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver.

Wood Land School at Plug In ICA: July 18th to August 5th, 2016
To read the bio’s of the 2016 participants click here