Natives Inspired: Activism and Empowerment in the Arts

Wednesday 29 September, 18.00 - 19.30

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Beyond the Binary banner with activist slogans behind white harmonium

Indigenous people have continually created works of art for function, cultural expression and meaningful connection for thousands of years. An underrepresented aspect of Indigenous creativity is art made as a catalyst for activism and empowerment. Whether the medium is traditional or contemporary, Indigenous artistry is inherently rooted in activism. To be Indigenous and share your identity today through art is revolutionary, when historically colonial laws have done the utmost to suppress and punish those cultural expressions of thought and memory. Featured in this webinar are several Indigenous artists who convey activism through their creations, both in and outside of the museum experience. Join them in a discussion about what inspires their work, how they incorporate activism into the artistic process and what museums and art collectors can do to create a respectful relationship with Indigenous artists. Curated by Beyond the Binary community curator and Métis artist, Dan Laurin. Dan will be joined by Lucy Fowler (she/her) from The Mamawi Collective and Manitoba Métis Federation's Two-Spirit Council, Cree beadworker and illustrator Nalakwsis (they/them) and mixed-media artist Sydney Pursell (she/her).


The Mamawi Project

The Mamawi Project is a Métis led organization that provides a platform for Métis youth across the homeland to contribute their voice, art and digital storytelling to express who they are and rebuild their connection to the community. Many of their Board of Collectives Members are connected to other Indigenous activist projects across Canada and the United States.

Find out more about The Mamawi Project.

Lucy Fowler

Lucy Fowler (pronouns she/her) is a Métis representative for the Métis-run Mamawi Project and can be reached at Lucy is a Métis educator and artist from from Red River/Treaty 1 Territory. A Collective Member of both The Mamawi Project and the Red Rising Magazine, she is currently a lecturer at the University of Winnipeg in the Native Studies Department. She has continually helped produce The Mamawi Project and enjoys teaching storytelling and writing as a form of artistic expression and youth activism.

Nalakwsis Mukash

Nalakwsis Mukash (they/them) is a Cree artist from Whapmagoostui, Quebec, who works in beadwork, photography and illustration. They have previously done webinar-style online events related to storytelling through artistry and have created an online community presence centred on artistry and connecting others through their Bead in Your Style, where they invite Indigenous crafters to bead their designs from templates to learn the craft. They can be found through Instagram as @Nalakwsis.

Sydney Jane Brooke Campbell Maybrier Pursel

Sydney Jane Brooke Campbell Maybrier Pursel (she/her) is an enrolled member of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas & Nebraska and creates performance art related to activism focused on language reclamation and mixed-media cultural art. Her work has been shown in a plethora of universities, art galleries and museums throughout the United States, often with a reflective theme related to Indigenous food sovereignty, language reclamation, cultural appropriation and history. Her work ranges from mural paintings, fashion, interactive performances and woodcuts - and even the occasional pin-ball machine.

Webinar supported by TORCH Oxford as part of the Humanities Cultural Programme.

This webinar is part of the Pitt RIvers Museum Radical Hope series. All talks will be recorded and are available to view after the event on the Radical Hope page.

Download the full Beyond the Binary events programme.

Download the Beyond the Binary exhibition booklet.

Read Oxford University's Statement on Freedom of Speech at Events here.

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