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The Power Plant announces major exhibition curated by Professor Dr. Gerald McMaster

A photo of a person in a body of water with their skin painted white wearing head and neck pieces made of green fronds..

Image: Uýra, Untitled (Série elementar: Lama), 2017. Photograph printed on fine art paper, 100 x 150 cm. Courtesy the artist. 

Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity to open this fall

Today, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery announced the major upcoming exhibition Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity, curated by Dr. Gerald McMaster, Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University. 

The exhibition will be on view from October 1 to December 31, 2022 and will feature the works of 12 artists from across three continents from the circumpolar Arctic to the Amazon. Painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, video and performance pieces will take on issues of climate change and globalized Indigeneity during a time of crisis.  

The show is co-curated with researcher at Brazil’s National Institute for Historical and Artistic Heritage Dr. Nina Vincent, who has worked with Dr. McMaster since 2019 on the broader Arctic/Amazon project, which has included a symposium, workshops and a range of research activities. The Arctic/Amazon initiative has been carried out within the auspices of the Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge, of which Dr. McMaster is the Director. The Centre fosters dialogue and conversation about Indigenous issues through academic, art and culture research and is an extension of OCAD U’s greater mission to recentre Indigenous voices and perspectives in scholarship, practice and critical discussions at local, national and international levels.   

For the exhibition itself, The Power Plant’s Associate Curator Noor Alé also acted as co-curator. Director and Artistic Director of The Power Plant Gaëtane Verna notes, “At a time when Canada is striving toward reconciliation, this exhibition platforms contemporary Indigenous culture across borders and continents. We are grateful for the dedication and expertise Gerald McMaster and Nina Vincent bring to this project and are confident that the accompanying publication will contribute invaluable insights to the study of Indigenous contemporary art.” 

Artworks include an installation using duodji, a Sámi craft tradition by Outi Pieski, who is based in Finland, a large-scale photographic work by Uýra that will be displayed on the exterior of the gallery and a selection of sculptures throughout the city as part of Nuit Blanche by Ontario-based Couzyn van Heuvelen. 

The additional participating artists are Tanya Lukin Linklater (United States/Canada), Máret Ánne Sara (Norway), Morzaniel Iramari (Brazil), Leandro Lima and Gisela Motta (Brazil), Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe (Venezuela), Sonya Kelliher-Combs (United States) and Pia Arke (Greenland/Denmark). 

This exhibition is the culmination of a series of major projects carried out the Wapatah Centre including a spring 2022 workshop series The Arctic/Amazon Knowledge Exchange Workshop virtual series, where Dr. McMaster and Dr. Vincent were joined by leading voices in global Indigenous art, performance and scholarship, to examine themes of land relations, contact zones, traditional knowledge and Indigenous ontologies. Each Knowledge Exchange workshop featured Indigenous activists and cultural leaders from the circumpolar arctic and amazon regions and was hosted with support from a SSHRC Connections Grant, The Appleton Foundation, Nancy McCain and Bill Morneau, and Michael Audain, in collaboration with the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. 

In 2019, The Power Plant hosted the Arctic/Amazon Symposium, which supported the development of interconnections between Amazonian, Indigenous and Inuit thinkers, artists and activists whose works address climate change amidst shifting political times. The purpose of this initial Symposium was to foster and facilitate a collaborative framework in which participants from Inuit and primarily Brazilian-based Amazonian communities could share their knowledges and consider future work together. This symposium was the first of its kind to provide an in-depth artistic and Indigenous-led exploration of these geographies. 

A major publication titled Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity by Dr. McMaster and Dr. Vincent that encapsulates this work is also forthcoming. 

About The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery 

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery is Canada’s leading public gallery devoted exclusively to contemporary visual art. It is a vital forum for the advanced artistic culture of our time and offers an exceptional facility and professional support to diverse living artists, while also engaging equally diverse audiences. The Power Plant pursues its activities through exhibitions, publications, and public programming that incorporate other areas of culture when they intersect with visual art. 

About the Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge

The Wapatah Centre emerges from the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair of Dr. Gerald McMaster and provides nuanced and uniquely art-focused insight into relations between North America’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.