Concealed Geographiesis an exhibition focused on Indigenous stories of place as told by artists KC Adams, Jason Baerg, Merritt Johnson, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Justine McGrath, and Nigit’stil Norbert. Each artwork establishes a sense of place, as something which is envisioned and experienced in highly individualized ways. Collectively, these artworks bring to light the stories and relationships that are part of their embodied knowledge and have a strong connection to the land.
KC Adams is a Winnipeg-based artist with a BFA from Concordia University. The focus of her practice has been the investigation of the relationship between nature (the living) and technology (progress). She has had several solo exhibitions, group exhibitions and was included in the PHOTOQUAI: Biennale des images du monde in Paris, France. Her work is in many permanent collections both nationally and internationally. Twenty pieces from the Cyborg Hybrid series are in the permanent collection of the National Art Gallery in Ottawa. Adams’ installation Birch Bark Ltd is in the collection of the Canadian Consulate of Australia, New South Wales.
Jason Baerg is a Métis Visual Artist. He has presented at such international art events as the Luminato Festival, the Toronto International Art Fair, and Art Basel Miami. Baerg has given formal artist talks at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, New York City’s Parsons School of Design, and the University of Toronto. He has received awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and The Toronto Arts Council. Dedicated to community development, Baerg is a board member for the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition and the Independent Media Arts Alliance.
Merritt Johnson is a multidisciplinary artist, working across performance, object and image. Her work explores subjection to division, material and physical limitation, clumsiness of being, and the meanness of survival. She earned her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art. Johnson is of mixed Indigenous (Mohawk, Blackfoot) and non-Indigenous heritage. She lives and works in Brooklyn, exhibiting and performing in traditional and nontraditional venues throughout North America. Her work was recently included in the anthology Salish Seas, published by Talon Books, and Antennae: the Journal of Nature in Visual Culture.
Cheryl L’Hirondelle (aka Waynohtew, Cheryl Koprek) is an award winning nomadic mixed-blood multi/interdisciplinary artist, singer/songwriter and curator/programmer. Her creative practice is an investigation of the junction of a Cree worldview (nehiyawin) in contemporary time and space. L’Hirondelle was one of the first Aboriginal artists from this land now known as Canada to be invited to present her work at DAK’ART Lab during the 2004 Dakar Biennale for Contemporary African Art in Senegal. L’Hirondelle is a two time recipent of the imagineNATIVE New Media Art Award for her online net.art projects: treatycard and 17:TELL and wepinasowina.
Justine McGrath is a Toronto based artist who recently received a BFA from OCAD University. Her art practices include using found objects and scavenged materials to make wearable sculptures. From these materials she constructs strange beings that combine human, plant, and animal characteristics. Many of her installations deal with representations of her mixed heritage and concepts of hybridity. The result is a series of work that is dark, soft, natural and fantastical. She was recently awarded the Anne Adler Kagan Award.
Nigit’stil Norbert is a photo-based artist from Yellowknife and recently received a BFA from OCAD University. Her art practices are rooted in her interest in the convergence of old and new ideas, as a place for considering the formation of new traditions. Her most recent explorations have involved stop-motion photography, unique beaded photographs and focuses on the historical and contemporary representation of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Norbert’s work has been exhibited in Canada and the United States. Her piece Representation was included in the recent exhibition Decolonize Me, at the Ottawa Art Gallery.
Suzanne Morrissette is Curatorial Resident at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery with support from the Canada Council for the Arts. She received a BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design University in Vancouver. In 2011 Morrissette received an MFA from OCAD University in Toronto with a focus in Criticism and Curatorial Practice. Morrissette has contributed to co-curated projects in Canada including: You Are Here at the Art Gallery of Ontario and past now at the Graduate Gallery in Toronto which later travelled to the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie, Ontario.
Julie Nagam PhD. is an Assistant Professor at OCAD University in the Aboriginal Visual Culture program. She has conducted research on site-specific locations on the Indigenous history of Toronto for the Visible Cities Project + Archive in Toronto and Inuit artists in Pangnirtung, Nunavut. Her creative practices include working in mixed media, such as drawing, photography, painting, sound, projections, new and digital media. She has recently published the article, “(Re)Mapping the Colonized Body: The Creative Interventions of Rebecca Belmore in the Cityscape” with UCLA, American Indian Culture and Research Journal.