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Plan it Indigenous at Planet IndigenUs

Worldwide Indigenous culture on display at galleries, museums and concerts throughout the GTA

TORONTO, August 9, 2004-A canvas of connected cultures emerges this summer at

Planet IndigenUs: An International Indigenous Arts Festival. 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. All events are free admission.

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. Details on 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 Argentinian guitarists 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, more than forty events are presented by the nine participating organizations featuring hundreds of contemporary and traditional works by Indigenous artists. A complete visual arts event listing is available at the end of this 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 7 to August 22)

Ilitaravingaa? (Do You Recognize Me?) - Installation (August 7 to October 31)

This Tauqsiijiit 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. The Ilitaravingaa? (Do You Recognize Me?) installation features contemporary work by Inuit media arts and artist-in-residence participants as well as sculptures from the AGO permanent collection

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 (on display 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 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 Harbourfront Centre from August 13-22. Both artists will be exhibited 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.

Masterclass: Includes slide talk, class and traditional smoke firing demonstration. Sun August 15, 9:30 - 5 pm. $65/$50 members, seniors and students. Slide lecture: Sun August 15, 1:30 pm. $7 general public/free members, seniors and students.

Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West, Toronto)

Info: 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 exhibition of narrative appliqué and embroidered textiles features Inuit women artists (Baker Lake, Nunavut, Canada) and Santali women artists (Dumka District, Jharkhand, India). More next page....

The Images Tell the Stories: Thread has a life of its own exhibition represents parallel textile traditions in two different cultures, both emphasizing narrative in their production. Inuit artists from Baker Lake have distinguished themselves by creating wall-hangings with wool depicting the myths, symbols and stories of their lives. Women artists from the NGO ADITHI in Bihar and Jharkhand, India have identified themselves through "khatwa" (appliqué and stitched wall hangings) incorporating the handwoven tussar silks of the Santali (tribal) women of Jharkhand. During Planet IndigenUs, an artistic exchange takes place when two artists from each community meet to create a collaborative piece in residence. Appliqué and stitched narrative utilizing materials from their respective locations are shared to make a new work.

Artists-in-residence include: Irene Avaalaaqiaq, Victoria Mamnguqsualuk, Teresa Hands and Salma Marandi. The project is facilitated by interpreters and volunteers. Curated by Dr. Skye Morrison with Inuit works selected by Judith Nasby (The MacDonald Stewart Art Centre at the University of Guelph). Artistic Producer for Planet IndigenUs is Denise Bolduc and Artistic Associate is Kristine Germann.

Takuminaqtut: Looking at the Beautiful

August 13 to September 19 - Uncommon Objects

Beth Biggs, Senior Instructor, Fine Arts and Crafts Programs at Nunavut Arctic College, curates this exhibition of work from the Nunavut Arctic College jewellery and metalwork collection. Artist Mathew Nuqingaq's work is represented in this exhibition. He has been invited for a week as part of the Metal Studio artist-in-residence programme. Biggs gives a curator's talk and Mathew Nuqingaq makes an artist's presentation on Saturday August 14th at 7:30 p.m. at York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West.

Possible Futures

July 10 to September 19 - Case Studies

In popular stereotypes, the future of Aboriginal peoples is in the past. Their cultures have either vanished irretrievably or are meticulously recovered from a time before European contact. In this one-sided view, value and authenticity are measured against a romantic idea of the past. This not only limits particular possibilities for Aboriginal people today, it closes down the idea of possibility itself, the hopeful, creative lure of the future. Poised between hope and fear, this exhibition is about the possibility of the future. Four Aboriginal artists- Skawennati Tricia Fragnito, Nadia Myre, David Hannan and Jeff Thomas - have been invited to create two new works about the future. Curated by Richard Hill.

Totem Hysteria

July 10 to September 19 - The Photo Passage

In a series of photographic diptychs, artist Arthur Renwick pairs large black & white photographs of traditional northwest coast First Nations totem poles alongside smaller pictures of various commercial representations of totems. In this photographic essay, by using visual puns, Renwick addresses ideas around cultural appropriation, representation and colonialism.

Open Archive: Brian Jungen & Zacharias Kunuk

August 13 to August 22 -The Power Plant

Open Archive showcases an artist edition in the form of A-frame signs by Vancouver artist Brian Jungen that advertise "authentic native arts". Entitled Bay of Spirits Gallery of Canadian Native Art, (2002) these free standing sign boards mimic and comment on the ubiquitous promotional sandwich boards of commercial Native art galleries that have proliferated across Canada. The sidewalk boards entice tourists and local citizens alike but ultimately reach beyond the commercial magnetism to act as reminders of the convoluted placement and promotion of native cultural forms within Canadian urban landscapes.

Open Archive also presents Qaggik (Gathering Place), one of Zacharias Kunuk's early films that pivot around a collective task or social rite essential to Inuit life. The film tells the story of four families who build a qaggiq, or large igloo used to celebrate the coming of spring. The film was screened at museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The film will run throughout the festival. Admission to the gallery is free both festival weekends: August 13 to 15 and August 20 to 22.

(un) marked

August 13-15 and August 20-22 - Marilyn Brewer Community Space

In reflection of the complexity of First Nations and Métis identiy in the urban experience, four emerging artists come together to negotiate their visibility. Through acts of reclamation and empowerment they construct a way of knowing that goes beyond surveillance of object and individual. Featured artists include Tannis Neilson, Josh Peltier, Lori Clement and Maria Hupfield. Curated by Maria Hupfield.

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 offers multidisciplinary programming including artist residencies, performances, hands-on art activities, an exhibition of photographs by Valerie Burton which document aspects of the Aboriginal cultures of Canada and Mexico, and the permanent collection show The Woodland School, featuring Norval Morrisseau and others.

In August 2004, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection presents a series of programs that are part of Planet IndigenUs. These programs include four weekends of Artist-in-Residencies with a parallel web site exhibition and a photography exhibit, Celebration and Change, featuring the work of Valerie Burton that runs the month of August. Since 1997 Burton has traveled through Canada, India, Mexico, New Zealand and China photographing indigenous communities and contemporary renewals of traditional cultural festivals and rituals. 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. Sunday August 29 features dymanic performances by the Moonstone Women's Big Drum Group, the Ehniagara Men's Big Drum Group, Erin Dickson (fancy shawl dancer) and more. Additional programming showcasing 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 (August 7 to September 5)

Contemporary Aboriginal Art from the Collection of the MacKenzie Art Gallery

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 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. Artists include: Bob Boyer, Dana Claxton, Ruth Cuthand, Edward Poitras, Faye HeavyShield, Ron Noganosh and Robet Houle. Guest curated by Lee-Ann Martin.

Royal Conservatory of Music

Info: 416-408-2824 or

Concert takes place at the Mazzoleni Concert Hall, 273 Bloor Street West

Workshop takes place at the Royal Conservatory of Music, 273 Bloor Street West

The Royal Conservatory of Music presents a unique sampling of Argentinian guitarristas from Sonatango featuring Cynthia Milani (first Toronto appearance) on August 7 and August 8.

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 31 - 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. Beads were imported into Africa as long ago as 200 BC and were also made locally using seeds and ostrich eggshells. Discover how beadwork communicates messages through different colour combinations and why this art form is an important aspect of South and East African cultures.

Image Factories: African Cloth About Culture and Politics

July 7 to September 25 - 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 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 UN, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Royal Ontario Museum, Thomas has also been commissioned by top designers, celebrities, and production companies.

Woodland Cultural Centre

184 Mohawk Street - Brantford, Ontario

Info: 519-759-2650 or

Natural Inclinations (August 19 to 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.

NATIV ity (August 19 to 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.

Street Wise - Gallery TPW (

Artists Lori Blondeau and 7th Generation Image Makers create two public posters that disrupt stereotypes of First Nations in urban spaces. Poster distribution will occur throughout the city.

Feheley Gallery (

A contemporary art gallery specializing in original Inuit art from across the Canadian Arctic. Feheley Fine Arts has become synonymous with excellence in the field of Inuit art for over 30 years.

Planet IndigenUs city-wide exhibitions:

Exhibitions, workshops and artist residencies

On display indefinitely - Art Gallery of Ontario - Inuit Art in Motion

On display to October - Bata Shoe Museum - Paths Across The Plains: Traditional Footwear from the Great 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. 31 - The Textile Museum of Canada - Patterns of Life: Beadwork from South and East Africa

July 7 to Sept. 25 - 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 - York Quay Gallery

July 10 to Sept.19 - Harbourfront Centre - Possible Futures - Case Studies

July 10 to Sept.19 - Harbourfront Centre - Totem Hysteria - The Photo Passage

Weekends in August - McMichael Canadian Art Collection - Artist residencies and performances

Month of August - McMichael Canadian Art Collection - Celebration and Change (Valerie Burton photographs)

Month of August - Gallery TPW - Streetwise public poster projects

August 7 to September 5 - Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art - A History Lesson

August 7 & 8 - Royal Conservatory of Music - Sonatango (Argentina) concert and workshop

August 7 to August 22 - Art Gallery of Ontario - Tauqsiijiit - Installation and Artists in Residence at the AGO!

August 7 to October 31 - Art Gallery of Ontario - Ilitaravingaa? (Do You Recognize Me?) installation

August 8 - McMichael Canadian Art Collection Family Sunday multidisciplinary events

August 13 to 22 - Harbourfront Centre - Bay of Spirits Gallery of Canadian Native Art, 2002 - The Power Plant

August 13 to 22 - Harbourfront Centre - Open Archive: Brian Jungen & Zacharias Kunuk - The Power Plant

August 13 to 22 - Harbourfront Centre -Images Tell the Stories: Thread has a life of its own artists-in-residence

August 13 to Sept.19 - Harbourfront Centre - Takuminaqtut: Looking at the Beautiful - Uncommon Objects

August 13-15 & August 20-22 - Harbourfront Centre - (un) marked - Marilyn Brewer Community Space

August 13 to 22 - Harbourfront Centre - Pueblo Potters artist exhibition

August 14 - Harbourfront Centre - Nunavut Arctic College Artist and Curator Presentation (7:30 p.m.)

August 14 &15 - Harbourfront Centre - Mathew Nuqiungaq metal artist demonstration and public Q&A

The Craft Studio (2:30 p.m.) - Part of the Takuminaqtut: Looking at the Beautiful exhibition

August 14 & 21-Harbourfront Centre- Images Tell the Stories: Thread has a life of its own artists talk (3:30 p.m.)

August 14 & 15 - The Textile Museum of Canada - Bead workshop by Samuel Thomas

August 15 - Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art - Pueblo Potters artist panel, talk and master class

August 16 & 17 - Harbourfront Centre - Mathew Nuqiungaq master class - The Craft Studio (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

August 19 to October 10 - Woodland Cultural Centre - Natural Inclinations

August 19 to November 7 - Woodland Cultural Centre - NATIV ity

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

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

Media Contacts:

Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655,

Linda Liontis, 416-973-4381,

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