The Aboriginal Curatorial Collective / Collectif des commissaires autochtones works to support, activate and engage on behalf of Indigenous curators through its expansive programming.
Creating visibility and gathering together as Indigenous artists, curators and writers from across Quebec and Canada is the main purpose of the Tiohtià:ke Project, a two-year cycle of programming which includes exhibitions, a curatorial delegation tour, panels and community gathering. “Tiohtiá’ke” [“Joe-ja-ghe”], the Kanien’kéha name for the city of Montreal, translates to: “where many nations gather”. Oral history tells us this place is an ancient site for creating, sustaining and celebrating nation-to-nation relationships through ceremony and protocol. This project proposes to revisit the ancestral role of Tiohtià:ke, utilizing it as the paradigm within which to establish frameworks of creative production and engagement with community: Indigenous and non-Indigenous, urban and rural, Anglophone and Francophone. This project’s methodology is based in the ancestral ceremony of trade; as when Indigenous Nations traveled across this land, now known as Canada, and built relationships and stewardship despite language barriers. This is an act of resistance and decolonization today in this context of colonized land.
The ACC/CCA’s Gatherings have served as one of the primary means of creating networks between Indigenous curators, artists and organizations. Since the initial Round Table discussion in Ottawa (2005), the ACC/CCA has produced a number of successful national gatherings.
EMERGING CURATORS TRAINING PROGRAM
The emerging curatorial training program provides mentorship opportunities for Indigenous youth across Canada to deepen their experiences in curatorial practice. Each year, the emerging curatorial training program will host a national gathering that brings together these emerging curators from across the country to share their experiences within this program while also engaging with established Indigenous curators and host communities in which these gatherings will take place. These gatherings are youth-driven, with direction collaboratively emanating from program participants with the overarching goal of creating a space for mentorship, building networks across place and career phases, and cultivating strategies that allow emerging curators to be adequately supported.
A core function of the ACC/CCA is to connect artists, curators and institutions. We exist to create a network, both actual and virtual, that strengthens and expands understanding of Indigenous art. The ACC/CCA has played a vital role in ensuring that there is more Aboriginal art being presented, documented and critically reviewed than ever before. The distribution of critical research in the field of Aboriginal art and curation forms an important part of our outreach to the non-Aboriginal community by narrowing the gap in our understanding of each other through our artistic practices.
The Aboriginal Curatorial Collective in partnership with Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance and Muskrat Magazine are holding a regional round table and panel discussions as part of their “This Land, Ontario” project. With presentations by Susan Blight, Sage Paul and the ACC-CCA recently hired Executive Director, Clayton Windatt including a community forum to explore our collective futures.