Re-Joyce: Wieland for a New Millennium
April 4 – 6, 2019
TMAC (32 Lisgar St, Toronto)
Joyce Wieland is best remembered as a symbol of the Canadian Feminist Avant-Garde. She is cherished nationally for her visual arts practice and respected internationally for her experimental film works. In both streams, her works responded to the socio-political issues of her time, from localized labour strikes to a resistance to American Imperialism. Her undying love for this country hinged heavily on the “two-founding nations” ideology, a framework that has always negated Indigenous Nationhood and resulted in the erasure and marginalization of non-Anglo and non-Franco perspectives.
Re-Joyce: Wieland for a New Millennium is a reframing and a reckoning of the politics and ideas of lineage, nationhood, and protest from the late 1960s to present-day. As organizers, we believe Wieland remains one of the most important artists in Canadian history, and that her work deserves to be continually engaged with through contemporary complications and conversations. In doing so, we may need to dismantle our sense of Canadian society as we know it. Taking up reoccurring themes and strategies inherent in Wieland’s body of work, Re-Joyce is above all a reimagining of Wieland’s indomitable spirit in a deeply fractured time.
“A corrective” event.
Co-curators: Christina Battle, Amy Fung, Allyson Mitchell, and Ariel Smith
Artists and Presenters: Kiera Boult, Aylan Couchie, Thirza Cuthand, Russ Diabo, Brette Gabel, Lee Maracle, Ryan McMahon, Hazel Meyer, MICE Magazine, Kirsty Robertson, Lisa Robertson, Aram Han Sifuentes, and Indu Vashist
Presented by Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts
Re-Joyce Schedule of Events
All events are free and take place within the fully accessible Gallery Spaces of TMAC (32 Lisgar St) unless otherwise noted.
Thursday, April 4
6PM – 9PM
Opening Reception featuring
The Truth Booth Presents: Invest and Protect
Conceived by Kiera Boult, The Truth Booth in its latest iteration addresses land ownership. By using the trope of the therapy booth, Truth Booth: Invest and Protect will feature the artist as facilitator for members of the general public who wish to hold private, shame-free conversations about land ownership in relation to race politics, class and intersectional feminism.
Readings by Lee Maracle and Lisa Robertson
Lee Maracle will be reading from Hope Matters, a new collection of poems written with her daughters Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter, focusing on the journey of Indigenous people from colonial beginnings to reconciliation. Maracle states that the book "is also about the journey of myself and my two daughters."
During their youth, Bobb and Carter wrote poetry with their mother, and they all decided that one day they would write a book together. This book is the result of that dream. Written collaboratively by all three women, the poems in Hope Matters blend their voices together into a shared song of hope and reconciliation. (From Book*hug Press)
Lisa Robertson’s Wide Rime is a lyric sequence opening a space of rhyme and echo between Joyce Wieland’s film Birds at Sunrise, and birds in the dawn poems of the troubadours, in 12th C Aquitaine. The film traces a vulnerable space for survival in the face of suffering; so too do the poems. The lyric lens insists that the daily celebration of minor, collective joy is an urgent resistance.
Friday, April 5
Noon – 2PM
Moving Image Culture Etc. (MICE) Collective looks to Joyce Wieland’s 1964 work Peggy’s Blue Skylight as a starting point to recreate a leisurely afternoon of friends visiting. Thinking around ideas of collaborative time, and the politics of “taking time,” they are interested in exploring and critiquing themes of patriotism and relationship to land present within and outside of Wieland’s work. This workshop/residency will include screening selected works from the CFMDC catalog interspersed with writing exercises and selected readings. In this way, they will investigate forms of collaboration, consultation, and collective writing, resulting in a forthcoming editorial project by MICE collective.
This new installation by Brette Gabel has been researched and developed based around surveillance, domesticity, paranoia and militarized camouflage. Evoking the politicization of the domestic sphere and Joyce Wieland’s textile aesthetic, this new body of work can be seen less as a reference and more as a theoretical succession to Wieland’s impact and legacy.
An hour-long artist conversation between Brette Gabel and curator Allyson Mitchellwill take place inside the installation, which will be up for the duration of Re-Joyce.
Aram Han Sifuentes developed the Protest Banner Lending Library in response to the US 2016 election as a way to strengthen community—especially for those who might be vulnerable to actively protesting Trump’s exceedingly anti-immigrant and xenophobic agenda. In the spirit of Wieland’s activism and craftwork, Sifuentes will lead a banner making workshop (on Saturday at noon) and help to construct a space where we can come together in solidarity through making—in and of itself, a form of resistance. Prior to the workshop, Aram Han Sifuentes will join Toronto-based artist, writer, curator and activist Indu Vashist in a conversation about her work, activism in art, and the current political climate.
I Hope Today Was Worthwhile and the Weather Was Pleasant/Tracking Joyce Wieland in the Tar Sands
Kirsty Robertson presents an illustrated lecture inspired by the discovery of letters Joyce Wieland wrote to Petro Canada in the early 1980s about a new body of work she planned to develop. From incomplete archival evidence documenting a planned trip to the Alberta tar sands, Robertson presents her attempts to find the resulting paintings as she imagines Wieland’s visit to Alberta and how she might have approached the site given her feminism, politics and concerns with the environment. Weaving a narrative that documents the project, Robertson offers the chance to imagine Wieland’s practice from the space of active potential, transporting the illusive paintings into the current ecological and political realities of 21stcentury extraction practices.
The Weight of Inheritance
Upon making a pilgrimage to what was once Joyce Wieland’s house in Toronto’s Queen East neighbourhood, Hazel Meyer met its then occupant and owner Jane Rowland. Being a fan of Wieland, Rowland had kept many of Wieland’s old things, including the pink moiré flounce hanging above where Wieland’s bed once was, hand-painted wallpaper trim that circled Wieland’s bedroom, wooden cassette tape racks, and a ton of marble scattered throughout the house and piled high in the basement. Inheriting these objects that were otherwise deemed “invaluable,” and with no archival value, Meyer revisits these items in this work in progress that will have its exhibition premiere at The Western Front in 2020.
Video and performance artist Thirza Cuthand presents a new hybrid moving image performance work that resists Canada's championing of resource extraction colonization through repetitious images of stock videos intercut with gestural motions of survival.
Saturday, April 6
Noon – 3PM
Aram Han Sifuentes workshop
In the spirit of Wieland’s activism and craftwork, Sifuentes will lead a banner-making workshop and help to construct a space where we can come together in solidarity through making—in and of itself a form of resistance. Participants are welcome to take their banners home. After the workshop, a lending library will be permanently housed at CFMDC, creating a space where handmade banners can be borrowed for use in future protests. The workshop is free. All materials will be provided. Plan to attend the entire length of the workshop (no late drop-ins!) Registration is not required, but please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
3pm – 5PM
Reason Over Passion: Roundtable discussion on Trudeaus’ policies from the White Paper of 1969 to present-day with participants Aylan Couchie, Russ Diabo, Lee Maracle, and moderator Ryan McMahon
Positioning Joyce Wieland’s body of work as a jumping off point to talk about the social politics of our current times in this country we call Canada, this esteemed panel of speakers will be elucidating Indigenous policies between the Trudeaus and reflecting on how much (and how little) has changed in terms of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Nations.
Originally from Edmonton (Canada), Christina Battle’s research and artistic work consider the parameters of disaster; looking to it as action, as more than mere event and instead as a framework operating within larger systems of power. Strategies for actively working through this research at times manifests through the organizing and curating of film/video screenings, exhibitions and events, seen as a way to facilitate conversation and bring people together to engage in shared experiences.
Kiera Boult is an interdisciplinary artist and administrator with a BFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from OCAD University. Boult’s practices are playfully reliant on camp, comedy, and approachability. By using the trope of the therapy booth, she posits the artist as facilitator; opening conversations surrounding race politics, class, intersectional feminism, and relational aesthetics, all the while skeptically addressing issues that surround the role and/or identity of the artist and the institution.
Aylan Couchie is an Anishinaabekwe interdisciplinary artist and writer hailing from Nipissing First Nation. She is a NSCAD University alumna and received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design at OCAD University where she focused her thesis on reconciliation and its relationship to monument and public art. Her written, gallery and public works explore the intersections of colonial/First Nations histories of place, culture and Indigenous erasure as well as issues of (mis)representation and cultural appropriation. She serves as the Chair of Native Women in the Arts and currently lives and works from her home community of Nipissing First Nation in Northern Ontario.
Thirza Jean Cuthand was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1978. Since 1995 she’s made experimental narrative videos and performances which have exhibited in festivals and galleries internationally. Her most recent performance was “Love Is The Only Socially Acceptable Psychosis” which she performed at 7a*11d in Toronto and Performatorium in Regina. She is showing in the 2019 Whitney Biennial and has created a short doc for CBC. She is Plains Cree and Scots, and resides in Toronto.
Russell Diabo is a First Nations Policy Advisor, he is also Editor and Publisher of an online newsletter on First Nations political and legal issues, First Nations Strategic Bulletin. Mr. Diabo is a member of the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake, Quebec, and has been an activist on First Nation issues since the age of 16.
Amy Fung is a writer, researcher and curator born in Kowloon, Hong Kong, and spent her formative years in and around Edmonton on Treaty 6 Territory. Her writing has been published and commissioned by national and international publications, galleries, museums, festivals, and journals since 2007. Her multifarious curatorial projects have spanned exhibitions, cinematic and live presentations, as well as discursive events across Canada and abroad. Most recently she has written her first book, Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being (Bookhug Press).
Brette Gabel’s work spans a variety of media as she strives to carry out an ongoing investigation of the boundaries of comfort and discomfort experienced during seemingly quotidian moments in time. Gabel recently completed an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies at OCAD University. While her practice engages with performance, video, drawing and sculpture, her work is primarily situated in textile and craft practices.
Lee Maracle is the author of a number of award-winning and critically acclaimed literary works and published in anthologies and scholarly journals worldwide. Born in North Vancouver, Maracle is a member of the Sto: Loh nation. The mother of four and grandmother of seven, Maracle is currently an instructor at the University of Toronto, the recipient of the 2014 Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and the 2016 recipient of the Ann Green Award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and awarded the Officer of the Order of Canada. Her book, My Conversations With Canadians was short listed for the Toronto Book award 2018.
Ryan McMahon is an Anishinaabe comedian, writer, media maker and community activator from Couchiching First Nation in Treaty 3 Territory. As the founder & CEO of Makoons Media Group, Ryan brings Indigenous stories to light through conversations, research & investigation. He provides audiences with an in-depth, challenging analysis of the Indigenous experience & the reconciliation movement. Ryan inspires audiences to play their part in building a more equitable country.
Hazel Meyer is an interdisciplinary artist who works with installation, performance, and text to investigate the relationships between movement, sexuality, feminism, and material culture. Hazel’s work aims to recover the queer aesthetics, politics, and bodies often effaced within histories of sports and recreation. She often works collaboratively with her partner, media historian Cait McKinney. Together they explore their shared attachments to queer histories and accessibility politics through research, writing, video and archival interventions. Hazel lives and works between Toronto and Los Angeles.
MICE Collective formed in response to a dearth of sustained engagement with the vicissitudes, vagaries, and victories of contemporary media arts practice.
Allyson Mitchell’s individual and collaborative art practice uses sculpture, performance, installation and film to explore feminist and queer ideas. These articulations have resulted in a coven of lesbian feminist Sasquatch monsters and a room-sized Vagina Dentata. She is based in the area known as Tkaronto within the territory subject to the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant and the treaty currently held by the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. This area has been care taken by the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Huron-Wendat, and the Métis. Mitchell is an Associate Professor in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University (whose campuses are located in this territory).
Kirsty Robertson is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Museum Studies at Western University, Canada (London, Ontario). Her pedagogy involves curating large-scale speculative and experimental exhibitions with students, work that she has extended into a number of independent curatorial projects. She has published widely on activism, visual culture and museums, and her book Tear Gas Epiphanies: Protest, Museums, Culture is forthcoming in May, 2019. Robertson is also a founding member of the Synthetic Collective, a group of artists, scientists and cultural researchers working on plastics pollution in the Great Lakes Region.
Poet and essayist Lisa Robertson started collaborating and publishing in Vancouver in the early 90s, as part of the intensely interdisciplinary community around Kootenay School of Writing, Artspeak Gallery and the Western Front, and with that community, she concerned herself with experimental culture in relation to feminism and the critique of capital. She teaches and lectures in art schools and universities across Canada, the US and Europe, but has remained resolutely freelance, and unaffiliated. In 2018 she was awarded the inaugural CD Wright Award for Poetry, by the FCA in New York, and Emily Carr University awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2017. A novel, The Baudelaire Fractal, is forthcoming from Coach House in 2020. She lives in rural France.
Aram Han Sifuentes is a fiber, social practice, and performance artist who works to claim spaces for immigrant and disenfranchised communities. Her work often revolves around skill sharing, specifically sewing techniques, to create multiethnic and intergenerational sewing circles, which become a place for empowerment, subversion and protest. Aram is a 2016 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow, 2016 3Arts Awardee, and 2017 Sustainable Arts Foundation Awardee. She earned her BA in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Ariel Smith is an award-winning nêhiyaw and Jewish filmmaker, video artist, curator, writer, and cultural worker, currently based in Dish With One Spoon Treaty Territory on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit River aka Toronto Ontario. Having created independent media art since 2001, much of her work has shown at festivals and galleries across Canada and internationally. Ariel is largely self-taught, but honed many of her skills by becoming heavily involved in artist-run centres in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. Ariel is currently the Artistic Director of Native Women in The Arts (NWIA), and is completing an MFA in film production at York University.
Indu Vashist has served as the Executive Director of SAVAC since 2013. She is interested in art that is not precious and words that are precise.