Mi’kwite’tmn (Do You Remember) Opens tomorrow!!

After 4 years of development and endless hours and soo much support from some really amazing people, the show finally opens tomorrow at 8pm in Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery!!!

Here are a couple of really nice articles about the show..

Weaving Mi’kmaq History

Q+A: Of Craft and Cultural Survival


Mi’kwite’tmn (Do You Remember) opens June 6th at 8pm

Prototype Vitrine 2010 uajohnson

Mi’kwite’tmn (Do You Remember) curated by Robin Metcalfe from Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery has begun it’s install and is set to open on June 6th at 8pm. With a live durational performance on site.

Early this winter I had a conversation with ME Luka about my practice for an article she prepared for No More Potlucks the interview is for an online publication and includes video links and images of previous works, all the while engaging in a open conversation about art, culture, life, etc. We spoke at length about some of the many layers in the exhibition of Mi’kwite’tmn.

Also for more info on my ideas on the evolution of the Mi’kmaw basket and it’s role and function in today’s society check out my TedX talk where I speak about how the form has changed within that museological context that is address in the show.

Below are a couple images from various stages in the making if one of the vitrines.



Just an update

It’s been a busy spring so far and summer and fall are going to be super busy.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to sit on a panel titled Curating Aboriginal Art Today at Saint Mary’s University as a part of the Beat Nation programming. Had some awesome conversations about responsibility vs. protocol, authentic/traditional vs. customary with some pretty swell folks (Tania Williard co-curator of Beat Nation, Greg Hill Audain Curator of Indigneous Art from the National Gallery and Dr.Carla Taunton Associate Professor NSCAD University moderated by SMU Director/Curator Robin Metcalfe).

This week I am in Cape Breton and about to enter into a Studio Lockdown to finish up a few projects for my upcoming Solo Exhibition Mi’kwite’tmn at Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery in Halifax.
I am soo excited!! This will be my first major solo exhibition that will be touring across Canada for the next couple years! I would like to thank everyone for their support in helping me to make this happen (I will be posting a formal list of supporters soon). This exhibition at SMUAG will open on June 6th at 8pm and I will be performing in a durational performance LIVE at the opening and then for 10 consecutive days afterwards.

Also if your in Ottawa ON next week go to Carleton University Art Gallery where I will have pieces from the L’nuwelti’k Bust Portrait Series as a part of Making Otherwise curated by Heather Anderson. Making Otherwise opens on May 12th and will make its way to Halifax NS in the Fall and a couple more stops around Canada as well.
There will be a performance date announced in the Summer. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend the Carleton Opening due to the need to finish up things for the solo at SMUAG.

Then in July I will be in NS for the Pictou Island Portages Project curated by Eryn Foster.
August holds a variety of events from a traditional basketry workshop at the Tatamagouche Centre (I believe spaces are still available for sign up).

In mid August is the Petapan:First Light Symposium hosted by the four Atlantic Public Art Funders and will be taking place in Millbrook NS (some spaces still available) and towards the end of August is Art In The Open 2014 in Charlottetown PEI.

And after that I will be beginning my national site visit tour. Where I will visit the galleries that will host Mi’kwite’tmn and the neighbouring Aboriginal communities from NFLD to BC. I will be requesting permission from tribal groups to enter into their territories as a stranger and to inquire about proper protocols to come to the community and to encourage participation in the development of the educational programming and performance and workshop series that will accompany Mi’kwite’tmn .

In September, Urban Shaman in Winnipeg MB will be hosting Memory Keepers curated by Dr.Carla Taunton and Erin Sutherland various pieces from the L’nuwelti’k Bust Portrait Series will be in this exhibition.

Art and Indigenous Resistance at Mayworks Halifax 2014

Last night was the Mayworks Festival Halifax where a film by Martha Stiegman and Kerry Propser titled ‘Seeking Netikulimk’ was screened and I had the opportunity to sit on a panel with Sherry Pictou and Martha Steigman. We had some very interesting chats about Art and Indigenous Resistance at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.
The conversation lead to some interesting points about the power of social media in bringing attention to various socio-political movements such as the recent #inm (idle no more) movement and other social uprisings.
How has social media changed your life?

Studio day


Working in the studio…lots to update about, but will get to it eventually. Thanks for checking in folks and sorry for not having a chance to make more posts.

Check out an article/interview about my processes on No More Potlucks written by the fabulous ME Luka

Ideal Law Conference 2014

(She Protects)

Throughout time music has been used by cultures as a expression of emotion.

It has also been used as a tool to express political stances.

On January 25th, from 9am to 1pm in Halifax at the Schulich School of Law for the Ideal Law Conference hosted by the Social Activist Law Student Association of Dalhousie Law School, I will join the many artists, individuals, communities and nations in expressing my political stance of resistance by engaging in a durational vocal performance of a song that was shared with me by a strong woman elder from my Mi’kmaw community.

This elder that has taken part in many political movements towards Indigenous Sovereignty and has taught me throughout the years of knowing her, along with the other strong women in her family, to honour and respect my role in society as a Mi’kmaw Woman.

A Mi’kmaw Woman who has the voice to create dialogue which can result in change. I appreciate her and her family for this gift.

In many lifetimes there have been several interactions between Indigenous communities and the various political powers that be.

Oka, Ipperwash, Victoria Island, Grand River, Burnt Church, Elsipogtog. These are some of the places of which these interactions have take place and come to my mind.

In many of these “stand-offs” Indigenous Women have often been the peacekeepers, the caring mothers and often the song deliverers that help people to rest easy in-between negotiations, in-between gunfire, in-between periods of immense despair and immense pride.

The voices of these women not only carries in the early mornings or late nights of those encampments to aid allies in resting but it also regenerates pride and honour of why the initial “blockade” was first created.

The “blockade” that is set up to protect. To protect the land, the water, the ceremonial grounds, the burial grounds, the community. This action of protecting, is the initial role that an Indigenous Woman plays in our societies.

This 4 hour song that I present is my act of unity with all of those protectors from our communities. Call them what you will; Grandmothers, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Warriors.

I sing this song for you.

We must also not forget all of those Indigenous Women who’s pride and honour has been silenced; which has subsequently resulted in their voices being silenced, being lost, being forgotten.

I too sing this song for you.

I will open the space in the performance for participation at Noon. Where you may join me in solidarity, either to sing with me or to stand with me.

For I too sing this song for you.

*note: experiencing technical difficulties, there will be a minor delay and a break once music equipment rental store opens and they deliver the power cords to equipment! Check in later. Broadcasting live.

Love, Compassion and Understanding

These are the words that come to mind.

These are the words that best explain the way in which my beautiful, loving, kind and caring wife lives by in this world.

2 hours after my last post, I received a phone call that no one wants to receive.

A call from the hospital notifying that my wife has just been in a pedestrian versus vehicle accident, she was the pedestrian.

The next 6 hours it took me to drive from my studio to the hospital (mainly due to distance by also due to weather) was the most horrible feeling I have ever experienced.

Thankfully, she is going to be ok!

It is going to be a very long and difficult journey to recovery of which we all (our family and friends) are going to have to adopt these words and their values, that my wife lives by, to get us through this together.

Thank you to everyone for their outpouring of love, support, food and offers of assistance.

And a very big thank you from the bottom of my heart to the beautiful spirits in those people such as the firefighters, first responders, emergency rescue technicians, various doctors, nurses, surgeons and specialists of which have assisting us with their very special skills that have saved my wife.

Thank You, thank you, thank you, thank you!