September 14 – November 3, 2018
Autumn Chacon, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Melissa General and Suzanne Morrissette
Curated by Lisa Myers
Performance by Jeneen Frei Njootli
Friday, October 5, 2018 @7PM
Co-presented with Contemporary Calgary and Trinity Square Video
Performance co-presented with M:ST Performative Art Biennial
wnoondwaamin | we hear them calls for the occupation of sound waves, exploring the capacity of these energies to access knowledge and memory. Through performance, Jeneen Frei Njootli turns an ear to materials, such as caribou antlers, to sound the transmission of embedded and layered ancestral knowledge. Utilizing low wattage radio transmission, Autumn Chacon’s in-gallery installation receives audio broadcasts from borders, dividing lines and barriers, overcoming physical and perceived obstructions between otherwise regulated spaces. From medicine baths to running rivers, Melissa General accesses sounds shared across time and through memory, constructing water compositions that encourage deep listening. Focusing on the subtle and often unnoticed sounds of landscapes, Suzanne Morrissette blends microcosmic sound and images to reveal how human activity and land intertwine. Together these artworks create a chorus and conversation about the resonances that sound carries beyond the merely audible.
Sound has material and physical form, and many frequencies resonate beyond our human aural register. These sound works realize and build on the value of song and sound that transfers knowledge through generations, and recalls how sound experiences create connections between different times and spaces. Each of these artists brings a personal voice to sound. wnoondwaamin | we hear them investigates and builds discourse around Indigenous women’s sound projects by providing dedicated time and space for the artists to develop work. The artists, curator and project mentor, Cheryl l’Hirondelle, have been engaged in extensive discussions about song and sound, sharing their perspectives with each other as they develop the artwork and curatorial writing presented in this exhibition.
AUTUMN CHACON is a Dine/Chicana, multimedia and performance artist from the southwestern United States. Using new media, Chacon considers herself a traditional storyteller—not because she tells traditional stories but because she strives to find traditional philosophy in all contemporary stories and experiences. Often using electronic sound and unconventional use of radio frequencies Chacon creates environments where an interactive audience is free to control how much of her art they would like to receive. Chacon is also a farmer/ agriculturist who uses food as a living medium.
JENEEN FREI NJOOTLI is a Vuntut Gwitchin artist, a core member of the ReMatriate Collective and sits on the board of directors for grunt gallery in Vancouver. Frei Njootli has been based in these unceded territories of the Musqueam, the Squamish, Tsleiwatuth and Stolo peoples for nearly a decade while pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Emily Carr University (2012) and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of British Columbia (2017). Frei Njootli’s practice concerns itself with Indigeneity-in-politics, community engagement and productive disruptions. She has worked as a performance artist, workshop facilitator, crime prevention youth coordinator, and has exhibited in the last year at the Ottawa Art Gallery, Gallery 44 (Toronto), gallery 1313 (Toronto), ace art (Winnipeg), and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery (Vancouver).
MELISSA GENERAL is Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design and completed a Masters of Fine Arts degree at York University. Working in photography, installation and video, the focus of her practice has been on concepts involving memory, history, land and her Indigenous identity. Her work has been exhibited at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, Art Gallery of Peterborough, Gallery 101, Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography and has been included in the 2016 Contemporary Native Art Biennial in Montréal.
CHERYL L’HIRONDELLE (project mentor) is a community-engaged Indigenous (Cree/Metis/German) artist and singer/songwriter originally from the land now known as Canada, whose creative practice is an investigation of the junction of a Cree worldview (nêhiyawin) in contemporary time space. Since the early 1980s, L’Hirondelle has created, performed and presented work in a variety of artistic disciplines, including music, performance art, theatre, spoken word and storytelling, through redundant and new media. In the early 1990s, she began a parallel career as an arts consultant/advisor and programmer, cultural strategist/activist and director/producer. L’Hirondelle’s various activities have also found her working in the Canadian independent music industry, national artist-run centres, educational institutions, the Canadian prison system, First Nations bands, and tribal councils and governmental funding agencies at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.
SUZANNE MORRISSETTE is a Cree-Metis artist, curator and scholar from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She received her BFA in 2009 from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and completed her MFA at OCAD University in 2011. She is currently a PhD student in the department of Social and Political Thought at York University. Morrissette has been invited to present her research at conferences organized by institutions such as the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian in New York (2011), the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and OCAD University (2011), and the University of Lyon in France (2013). As an artist Morrissette has been included in national and international exhibitions including Noodagun Beacons for NAISA (2015), Owning with the Gaze at Gallery 101 (2015), and North of Here at Harbourfront Centre (2014).
LISA MYERS is an independent curator and artist with a keen interest in interdisciplinary collaboration. She grew up in southern Ontario and is of Anishinaabe ancestry from Shawanaga and Beausoleil First Nations. In 2011, she earned an MFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from OCAD University. Her current research focuses on both media art and concepts of value related to the life of materials and techniques passed on through generations. She has curated exhibitions at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie, The Robert Mclaughlin Gallery in Oshawa and the York Quay Centre at Harbourfront in Toronto. Her writing has been published in Senses and Society, C Magazine and FUSE Magazine. Myers works in Port Severn and Toronto, Ontario.
Stride Gallery gratefully acknowledge that we stand on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuu T’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. The City of Calgary is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.