Back to All Events


S O V E R E I G N   A C T S
Curated by Wanda Nanibush

Rebecca Belmore
Lori Blondeau
Dayna Danger
James Luna
Shelley Niro
Adrian Stimson
Jeff Thomas

January 11–March 10, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday January 11, 5:00–8:00 pm
Curator’s Talk: Wednesday February 7, 12:00 pm in ECH 1219

The history of Indigenous Peoples performing cultural dances and practices for international and colonial audiences is an important part of Indigenous art generally, and performance art specifically. The Indigenous performers known as ‘Indians’ faced the conundrum of maintaining traditional cultural practices by performing them on stage while also having that performance fulfill the desires of a colonial imaginary. In Sovereign Acts, the artists Rebecca Belmore, Lori Blondeau, Dayna Danger, James Luna, Shelley Niro, Adrian Stimson, and Jeff Thomas, contend with the legacy of colonial representations. Drawing on the depiction of the imaginary Indian–the ahistorical, pre-contact 'primitivism' in popular and mass culture–they recover and construct new ways of performing the complexity of Indigenous cultures for a contemporary art audience. Their work returns to the multi-leveled history of ‘Performing Indian’ to recuperate the erased and objectified performer as an ancestor, an artist, and an Indigenous subject.

Organized and circulated by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, with the support of the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery.

Please join us for this thoughtful and timely exhibition
Exhibition is free and open to the public

University of Waterloo Art Gallery
East Campus Hall 1239
519.888.4567 ext. 33575

Earlier Event: January 4
The Face to Face Project
Later Event: January 14