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Plan it Indigenous this summer at Planet IndigenUs
Worldwide Indigenous culture on display at galleries, museums and concerts throughout the GTA

TORONTO, April 22, 2004-A canvas of connected cultures emerges this summer at Planet IndigenUs. Beginning this May a crescendo of city-wide events climaxes with a ten day international multi-disciplinary arts festival occurring at Harbourfront Centre and at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ontario beginning August 13 through August 22, 2004.

Seven of Toronto's most prestigious cultural institutions are partnering with Planet IndigenUs with complementary innovative Indigenous art programming. These partners include: the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Bata Shoe Museum, the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, the Royal Conservatory of Music and The Textile Museum of Canada. One of the largest festivals of its kind ever staged in North America, Planet IndigenUs events at Harbourfront Centre and the Woodland Cultural Centre will be announced in May with a full festival schedule to be released in July. Exhibitions, concerts, artist residencies and workshops at each location listed below. For more information the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit

Planet IndigenUs city-wide exhibitions:
From African textiles and beadwork to Malaysian and Indonesian music to Aboriginal jewellery, footwear and mixed media works - Planet IndigenUs exhibitions, concerts, artist residencies and workshops convey the universality and diversity of worldwide Indigenous artistic expression. In total, 28 separate events will be presented by the nine participating organizations featuring hundreds of contemporary and traditional works by Indigneous artists. More events to be announced in May, 2004.
An abridged chronological event listing is available at the end of the press release.

Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas St. West, Toronto)
Info: 416-979-6648 or - Free with admission

Tauqsiijiit - Installation and Artists in Residence at the AGO!
August 8 to August 22
This program explores collaborative process, community video, and Inuit and Aboriginal representation. Camped in a temporary media production lab at the AGO, artists from Igloolik Isuma Productions – creators of the internationally acclaimed Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), Arnait Video, Siqiniq Productions, V tape, De-Ba-Jeh-Mu-Jig Theatre Group and 7th Generation Image Makers converge both physically and virtually with youth from Toronto, Iqaluit and Ottawa to generate performance, video and new media works. Gallery visitors will be invited to drop in, participate in regular broadcasts to and from the lab and engage with artists and young people in residence. The lab will be accompanied by an installation of contemporary video, sound and new media curated by Sarah Laakkuluk Williamson.

Inuit Art in Motion (ongoing)
Twenty sculptures from the AGO's permanent collection of Inuit art are choreographed into a grand drum dancing performance, with each sculpture marking a frozen moment of transformation between human and animal forms. As a celebration of the connection of all living beings, drum dancing carries the powerful message of the strength of nuna - the land lived in community.

Bata Shoe Museum (327 Bloor St. West, Toronto)
Info: 416-979-7799 or - Free with admission

Paths Across The Plains: Traditional Footwear from the Great Plains
On display now until October
The artistry of the beaded footwear produced by Plains women has long been admired for its intricate beauty. Each stitch was a reflection of the maker and it was through her skills that a woman gained respect and prestige within her own culture. From the age old traditions of porcupine quillwork to the late 19th century development of elaborately beaded prairie-style, this exhibition illustrates how Plains peoples embraced new ideas and struggled to ensure that traditional values endured.

Appeasing the Spirits: Alaskan Coastal Cultures
Opens May 12 until May 2005
The Bata Shoe Museum is pleased to announce this spectacular new exhibition. Alaska is a land of incredible diversity both environmentally and culturally; and for Alaska's Inuit peoples, this natural abundance has been at the center of their spiritual, cultural and material life for thousands of years. This exhibition explores their creative adaptation of the gifts of land and sea through a rich and nuanced material culture that continues to have meaning and purpose today.

Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art
The Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Arts permanent location at 111 Queen's Park is closed for renovations.
Please visit the temporary home of our Shop & School at 60 McCaul St, Toronto (just south of the AGO). Info: 416-586-8080 or Admission is free.

Pueblo Potters in Residence at the Gardiner Museum
August 13 to 22 - Artist exhibition at Harbourfront Centre
August 15 - Artist panel, talk and master class at the Gardiner Museum
The outstanding work of Hopi potter Preston Duwyenie and Santa Clara Tewa potter Debra Trujillo-Duwyenie will be on display at the Gardiner Museum from August 13-22. Both artists will also be working in residence at Harbourfront Centre. On Sunday August 15 the artists participate in panel discussions and offer a master class, slide talk, display of their work and a firing demonstration at the Gardiner Museum. To book for the August 15 event, phone the Gardiner Museum at 416-586-8080.

Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West, Toronto)
Ph: 416-973-4000 or
All exhibitions and events are free admission

Images Tell the Stories: Thread Has a Life of its Own
July 10 to September 19 - York Quay Gallery
This textile works and artist exchange brings together two distinctive textile traditions and cultures, emphasizing common narrative traditions in their production. Inuit women artists from Baker Lake, Nunavut, Canada and Santhali women artists of Bihar and Jarkhand, India present individual and collaborative works in this exhibition. In addition, a two-week workshop involving two Inuit artists and two Santhali artists will produce a combined textile work representing Planet IndigenUs festival themes and events. Co-curated by Dr. Skye Morrison, Denise Bolduc and Kristine Germann.

Nunavut Arctic College Jewellery & Metalwork Collection
August 13 to September 19 - Uncommon Objects
More than 30 works from Nunavut Arctic College Jewellery & Metalwork Collection will be on display. The use of new non-Indigenous materials by Nunavut Arctic College students and graduates has resulted in ultracontemporary designs utilizing traditional iconography. Beth Biggs (Senior Instructor for Fine Arts and Crafts) and metalworker/designer Mathew Nuqingaq will present talks on the program and its creations. Mathew Nuqingaq showcases his works in the exhibition as well as being an artist in residence at Harbourfront Centre's Metal Studio from August 13-20. Exhibition curated by Beth Biggs.

McMichael Canadian Art Collection
10365 Islington Avenue - Kleinburg, Ontario
Info: 905-893-1121 / 1-888-213-1121 or
Planet IndigenUs events included with the cost of admission

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection presents a series of programs in August 2004 that are part of Planet IndigenUs. These programs include four weekends of Artist-in-Residencies with a parallel Web site exhibition, along with a photography exhibit featuring the work of Valerie Burton that runs the month of August. In addition, Shannon Thunderbird, Coast Tsimshian singer and storyteller, performs on August 1. Family Sunday (August 8) is dedicated to Aboriginal Celebration, with multidisciplinary programming such as hands-on art activities and performances. Additional programming that showcases Aboriginal culture, including music and artifact-handling displays, also occurs on August Sundays.

An ongoing permanent collection-based exhibition will also be on display based on Norval Morrisseau and the Woodland School of artists, entitled Woodland School: Highlights from the Vault (May 15 – September 5, 2004). Artist residencies occur every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in August. Artists work in studio and visitors are encouraged to watch the artist at
work and ask questions. August 6-8: Rebecca Baird (mixed media) and Phillip Cote (sculpture); August 13-15: Christi Belcourt (painting); August 20-22: Greg Staats (photography and digital video); August 27-29: Kent Monkman (painting).

Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art
Toronto Centre for the Arts (5040 Yonge St., Toronto)
Info: 416-395-0067 or - Free Admission

A History Lesson - Contemporary Aboriginal Art from the Collection of the MacKenzie Art Gallery
August 7 to September 5, 2004
This exhibition of works from the MacKenzie Art Gallery collection invites an understanding of historical events that have been ignored or misinterpreted for too long through the perspectives of four Aboriginal artists from Saskatchewan. Installation works in mixed media and video combine with acrylic and oil paintings to highlight the cultural tensions that exist between two conflicting frameworks: the rights of Aboriginal peoples to self-determination and recognition versus the imposed structures of governments, churches, law enforcement agencies and the military. Guest curated by Lee-Ann Martin.

Royal Conservatory of Music
Info: 416-408-2824 or
All concerts take place at the Mazzoleni Concert Hall, 273 Bloor Street West
All workshops take place at the Royal Conservatory of Music, 273 Bloor Street West

The Royal Conservatory of Music presents a series of Planet IndigenUs inspired concerts and workshops by internationally acclaimed performers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Argentina. On June 28, the series begins with the first Toronto appearance by Indonesian Gamelan-Jazz-Pop fusionaries Krakatau. Since forming in 1986, this group's evolving blend of western and Indonesian rhythms has placed them in the upper echelon of Indonesian performers. On August 7 and August 8 concerts and workshops focus on the Malaysian lute instrument, Sape, through music by Orang Ulu Music and dance. Malaysian textile and Batik arts are also featured. Additional concerts and workshops present a unique sampling of Argentinian guitarristas from Sonatango featuring Cynthia Milani (first Toronto appearance).

Krakatau (Indonesia) - Concert - June 28 (8-9:30 p.m.) -- Workshop - June 29 (1:30 - 3 p.m.)
Orang Ulu Music (Malaysia) with dance, Batik, weaving and textile arts displays
Concert - August 7 (8 -10 p.m.) -- Workshop (Orang Ulu Cultural Display) - August 8 (1- 4 p.m)
Sonatango with Cinzia Milani (Argentina) - Concert - August 8 (8-10 p.m.) -- Workshop - August 7 (1-3 p.m.)

The Textile Museum of Canada (55 Centre Avenue, Toronto)
Info: 416-599-5321 or
Free with admission

Patterns of Life: Beadwork from South and East Africa
June 16 to October 17 - Curated by Roxane Shaughnessy
A selection of beadwork made by the Xhosa, Zulu and Bushmen from South Africa, and the Masai and Suk from Kenya in South Africa. Beads were imported into Africa as long ago as 200 BC and were also made locally using materials such as seeds and ostrich eggshells. Discover how beadwork communicates messages through different colour combinations and why this art form has become an important aspect of South and East African cultures.

Image Factories: African cloth about culture and politics
July 7 to September 5 - Curated by Max Allen
Come and explore the TMC's permanent collection of African commemorative cloths. Augmented by examples from private collections, the exhibit features cloths from 28 African countries. European exports and local factory-printed textiles of this type carry printed images of regional and international political campaigns, religious figures, national events and popular culture.

Bead workshop by Samuel Thomas (August 14 and 15 / 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
$65 members; $80 non- members; $55 full-time students; $20 materials fee.
Samuel Thomas, a Canadian Iroquois First Nations artist, leads participants in a two-day workshop combining various techniques borrowed from traditional Iroquois bead embroidery and structural African bead netting. In addition to conducting workshops at the United Nations, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Royal Ontario Museum, Thomas has also been commissioned by top designers, celebrities, and production companies to create a wide variety of items.

Woodland Cultural Centre
184 Mohawk Street - Brantford, Ontario
Info: 519-759-2650 or

Natural Inclinations (August 19 - October 10)
This outdoor exhibition of four artists invites viewers to consider how nature is perceived and manipulated within First Nations communities across Canada. Shelley Niro explores historical precedence and traditional culture with her figurative rest stops. Vince Bomberry pays homage to wampum and to cross-cultural relations. Michael Belmore constructs a “Bus Shelter” with an image of clear cut forest where one would usually see advertising. Maryanne Barkhouse presents “Wolves” as a metaphor, combined with a sharp sense of humour, for the existing relationship between native and non-native people. Mike MacDonald focuses on ecological issues with the creation of a “Butterfly and Medicine Garden” using threatened indigenous plants and insects as a metaphor for threatened Indigenous peoples.

Native "ity" (August 19 - November 7)
This exhibit presents the work of Alan Michelson. Born a Mohawk in Buffalo, New York and then adopted to Jewish parents in Boston - his distinctive body of work explores his new found cultural heritage. Contemporary critical theory has exposed many of the problems inherent in a shifting identity. Michelson has transformed those theories into a challenging conceptual practice that oscillates between public and personal, past and present, absence and presence, memory and amnesia. The works remind us of the displacements large and small that lie at the core of North America's history and identity.


Planet IndigenUs city-wide exhibitions:
Exhibition, workshop and concert schedule

On display now indefinitely - Art Gallery of Ontario - Inuit Art in Motion
On display now to October - Bata Shoe Museum - Paths Across The Plains
May 12 to May 2005 - Bata Shoe Museum - Appeasing the Spirits: Alaskan Coastal Cultures
May 15 to Sept. 5 - McMichael Canadian Art Collection - Woodland School: Highlights from the Vault
June 16 to Oct. 17 - The Textile Museum of Canada - Patterns of Life: Beadwork from South and East Africa
June 28 & 29 - Royal Conservatory of Music - Krakatau (Indonesia) concert and workshop
July 7 to Sept. 5 - The Textile Museum of Canada - Image Factories: African cloth about culture and politics
July 10 to Sept.19 - Harbourfront Centre - Images Tell the Stories: Thread Has a Life of its Own
Every weekend in August - McMichael Canadian Art Collection artist residencies and Sunday family events
August 7 to September 5 - Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art - A History Lesson
August 7 & 8 - Royal Conservatory of Music - Orang Ulu Music (Malaysia) concert and workshop
August 7 & 8 - Royal Conservatory of Music - Sonatango (Argentina) concert and workshop
August 8 to August 22 - Art Gallery of Ontario - Tauqsiijiit - Installation and Artists in Residence at the AGO!
August 8 - McMichael Canadian Art Collection Family Sunday multidisciplinary events
August 13 to Sept. 19 - Harbourfront Centre - Nunavut Arctic College Jewellery & Metalwork Collection
August 13 to 22 - Harbourfront Centre - Pueblo Potters artist exhibition
August 13 to 22 - Harbourfront Centre - Pueblo Potters artist residency
August 13 to 22 - Planet IndigenUs festival at Harbourfront Centre and the Woodland Cultural Centre - Events TBA
August 15 - Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art - Pueblo Potters artist panel, talk and master class
August 14 & 15 - The Textile Museum of Canada - Bead workshop by Samuel Thomas
August 19 to October 10 - Woodland Cultural Centre - Natural Inclinations
August 19 to November 7 - Woodland Cultural Centre - Native "ity"

Planet IndigenUs is an international multi-disciplinary Indigenous arts festival running from August 13 to August 22 at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West, Toronto) and at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ontario.

For further information the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit

Media Contact: Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655,
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