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Unravelling the braids of colonialism, gender and the body

Gallery 1C03


A Panel Discussion with Julie Nagam, The Ephemerals, Danishka Esterhazy and Freya Björg Olafson
Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, The University of Winnipeg


As part of the Moving Images exhibition, this panel bring together a diverse group of artists that grapple with the body, violence, gender and performance. Each artist/filmmaker proposes a critical investigation of the ways in which the body both performs and records experiences of gender, voice, and stereotypes. Here, we will explore how performativity can reveal and mobilize particular histories of colonialism, violence against women and their ongoing impacts on peoples in Canada and the larger global community. As such, the panelists will investigate the politics of forgetting and the resistance of remembrance articulated, evoked, and represented by these selected women artists.

Dr. Julie Nagam is Chair in the History of Indigenous Art in North America, a joint appointment between the University of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Her current SSHRC projects include The Transactive Memory Keepers: Indigenous Public Engagement in Digital and New Media Labs and Exhibitions and The Kanata Indigenous Performance, New and Digital Media Art. She is a co-applicant in the partnership grant “Initiative for Indigenous Futures” and will be hosting its first public symposium at the Winnipeg Art Gallery entitled “Radically Shifting Our Indigenous Future(s) Through Art, Scholarship and Technology.” Nagam recently co-edited PUBLIC journal’s special issue “Indigenous Art: New Media and the Digital.” Other recent publications include “Traveling soles: Tracing the footprints of our stolen sisters” (2017) and “Deciphering the refusal of the digital and binary codes of sovereignty/self- determination and civilized/savage” (2016). Curatorial projects include a public art installation for a Reconciliation walk at the Forks in Winnipeg, leading a team to create an Indigenous app for Winnipeg’s art, architectural and place-based history, and co-curation of a major Indigenous contemporary exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in fall 2017. Previously, she has curated and exhibited in ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and her artworks where white pines lay over the water and singing our bones home have been shown shown in in Canada, Brazil, England, France and New Zealand.

The Ephemerals are a collective of Indigenous women from Winnipeg interested in curatorial and creative based research. Collective members Jaimie Isaac, Niki Little and Jenny Western established The Ephemerals to function as an outlet to foster and motivate artistic production both within their individual practices as well as to engage collaborative projects that revolve around Indigenous contemporary art. Their focus is on Indigenous culture within a political and social context responding to contemporary issues. The Ephemerals draw inspiration from their combined curatorial, multidisciplinary art practices, and mixed cultural backgrounds. The collective’s projects are fueled by collaborative interventions and ephemeral affairs in order to the push the boundaries of perceived Indigeneity. Their interdisciplinary work exhibits an ethereal aesthetic that is transformative and often fleeting, based on their current interests, the spirit of the times, and what compels them to respond to contemporary visual and material culture.

Celebrated for her female-driven stories, director Danishka Esterhazy is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Directors’ Lab, the National Screen Institute, Women in the Director’s Chair and the TIFF Talent Lab. Her debut feature, Black Field, won the Best Feature Drama award at Vancouver’s Women in Film Festival and the Best Canadian Feature award at Toronto’s Female Eye Film Festival. Danishka’s films have screened in festivals, theaters and galleries around the world including the Rome International Film Festival, the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea, the Short Film Festival of India, La Maison Rouge in Paris, Kölner Filmhaus in Germany and the Reel Women International Film Festival in Hollywood. Her films have been broadcast on CBC, Bravo, Super Channel and Movie Central. Danishka is also a recipient of the prestigious Kodak New Vision Award – awarded by Women in Film and Television. Esterhazy was part of the pUNK Films Femmes Lab – a screenwriting initiative founded by filmmaker Ingrid Veninger and funded by Oscar-winning actress Melissa Leo. Esterhazy is a current member of Film Fatales - a collective of female feature directors dedicated to breaking down gender barriers in the film industry.

Freya Björg Olafson is an intermedia artist who works with video, audio, painting and performance. Her praxis engages with identity and the body, as informed by technology and the Internet. Her creations have been presented and exhibited internationally at venues such as SECCA – South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art (North Carolina), OchoYmedio / Alas de la Danza (Quito, Guayaquil and Manta in Ecuador),The National Arts Center (Ottawa), Tangente – Laboratoire des Movements Contemporains (Montreal), Sequences Real Time Media Arts Festival (Iceland) and Medea Electronique / Onassis Cultural Center (Athens, Greece).  Freya’s solo performance AVATAR received the “Buddies In Bad Times Vanguard Award” at the Summerworks Theatre Festival in Toronto and toured across seven provinces in Canada, four states in the USA, three cities in Ecuador, Reykjavík in Iceland and Germany. Freya’s videos have screened in festivals across the globe with recent dates in Serbia and France. To develop her work, Freya has benefitted from residencies: most recently through EMPAC - Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center (New York) and Counter Pulse (California).  Freya holds a MFA in New Media from the Transart Institute / Donau Universität in Krems, Austria.


Admission is free and everyone is welcome. Wheelchair accessible.

For more information contact:
Jennifer Gibson, Director/Curator, Gallery 1C03
1st floor, Centennial Hall, The University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Ave, Winnipeg MB R3B 2E9
Phone: 204.786.9253