OCAD U celebrates National Indigenous History Month with

Toronto, June 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As part of ArtWorxTO and coinciding with National Indigenous History Month, a large-scale outdoor mural by Mi’kmaq visual artist Jordan Bennett will be unveiled June 15 at 3 p.m. on the south wall of the iconic OCAD University building at 100 McCaul St. in Toronto, Ontario.

pi’tawita’iek: we go up the river deepens a vital conversation about the survival and joy of Indigenous peoples. Its vivid colors in bold and elegant shapes reference the atmosphere and the Earth, helping to complicate and humanize our understanding of Indigenous peoples, demonstrating that they are ancestrally rooted and constantly changing,” explains the curator of the mural, Lisa Deanne Smith, who is also a curator at OCAD U. On-site gallery.

Bennett is originally from Stephenville Crossing, Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland) in Canada. Her ongoing practice uses painting, sculpture, video, installation and sound to explore land, language, the act of visiting, family histories and difficult colonial perceptions of Indigenous histories and presence by putting emphasis on exploring Ktaqamkuk’s Mi’kmaq and Beothuk visual culture.

“As a visitor to this land, I recognize that these designs are not of this particular land, but have been and continue to be present here from time immemorial through nation-to-nation trade, visitation and collecting in the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat, says Bennett. “This new work will be a growing extension of the Aboriginal presence and history, acting as an invitation to come together in a safe and bright space and to continue this tradition of nation-to-nation relations.”

The mural, which measures approximately 144 feet wide by 48 feet high, is a partnership project of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021-2022, a year-long celebration of art projects that reflects Toronto’s diversity and creates more opportunities for the public to engage with art in their daily lives.

Because much of Bennett’s work challenges colonial perceptions of Indigenous histories and presence and lends itself to discussions of contemporary Indigenous realities within urban and rural communities, her visit will be a powerful moment of contemplation. during National Indigenous History Month at OCAD U. The University continues to make strides in decolonizing its institution and fostering a community that recognizes and respects art, stories, culture , Indigenous teachings and ways of knowing.

“By seeking to understand Indigenous histories and traditional knowledge systems through art, each of us can take a step closer to greater reconciliation and understanding,” said Ana Serrano, President and Vice-Chancellor of the ‘OCAD U.

Bennett’s new solo exhibition also opens June 15

June 15 also marks the opening of Bennett’s solo exhibition, Memoryat OCAD U’s on-site gallery. This exhibition brings together new site-specific works by Bennett that celebrate the design, symbolism, and history of the complex quillwork art form of the Mi’kmaq culture.

Ryan Rice, curator of Memoryhighlights the complexities of Bennett’s relationship to the heritage of visual and material Mi’kmaq culture: “The customary and innovative practices and complex technologies that Bennett responds to are those employed by generations of Mi’kmaq artists, mostly women , who have addressed and enhanced their claimed stories, told through the agency of art and design.

“Bennett is committed to recreating the heritage of Mi’kmaq visual language and its processes so that the medium is received, endured, and continues to be distinct from a culture, ecology, and geography,” said said Rice, who is also curator of Indigenous culture at the Onsite Gallery. Art and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at OCAD University.

The exhibition opens June 15 at 5 p.m. and will be on view until December 10, 2022 at the Onsite Gallery, 199 Richmond St. W. in downtown Toronto, Ontario. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Information about Jordan Bennett

Over the past 10 years, Jordan has participated in more than 75 group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally at venues such as the Smithsonian-National Museum of the American Indian, New York; MAC-VAL, Paris; The New York Museum of Art and Design; Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Project Space Gallery, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia; The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, The Winnipeg Art Gallery, The Power Plant, Toronto; Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art; Arab World Institute, Paris; and was one of two artists to represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2015 Venice Biennale at the Galleria Ca’Rezzonico as part of the official collateral events.

He is the recipient of several awards and accolades, including one of the 2020 Sobey Art Award winners, shortlisted for the 2018, 2016, and 2015 Sobey Art Award. He was also a recipient of the Hnatyshan Foundation REVEAL Award and Artist of the Year 2014 from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.

Learn more about Jordan Bennett’s visit to OCAD U.

About OCAD University (OCAD U):

OCAD University is the largest and oldest university of art and design in Canada. We are a world-renowned hub for art, design, digital media, research, innovation and creativity. Our students benefit from hands-on studio learning in small classrooms and have access to state-of-the-art shops and studios for traditional and digital creation. Alongside a diverse and supportive team of instructors and peers, our students learn employable skills. Our graduates work in different sectors such as urban planning, environmental design, games, film, animation, publishing, illustration, graphic design, visual arts and arts administration.

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