The Power Plant

Arctic/Amazon Symposium

Thu Sep 19 – Fri Sep 20 2019

5:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Brigantine Room
Harbourfront Centre

Gerald McMaster, Yube Huni Kuin, Lee Maracle, and Heather Igloliorte. Courtesy of the speakers. 

The Arctic/Amazon two-day symposium is co-presented by The Power Plant and OCAD University’s Wapatah: Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge. The aim is to nurture dialogical engagement between Arctic and Amazonian Indigenous ontologies while being cognizant of balancing regional knowledges of land/human relations within a globally Indigenous epistemic framework. It also kicks off year-long programming leading up to a larger conference and exhibition organized by Dr. Gerald McMaster in Fall 2020.

At first glance, the two regions seem incongruous, yet they share many commonalities.This symposium will address key questions pertaining to both locales and their respective inhabitants: how might the centralizing of Indigenous cosmologies, traditional knowledges, and the everyday practicalities of living, protecting, and being in relation to respective lands transform Eurocentric artistic and scientific disciplinary approaches to understanding climate change?; furthermore, what are some of the shared concerns that reveal a globalized sense of indigeneity?

On each day, in the morning and early afternoon, a large discussion circle will be facilitated by Indigenous artist-scholars who are part of the OCAD U faculty. Each afternoon, the symposium will break into smaller group discussions. Artists from the Arctic and Amazon will be paired up so that they can provide a more in-depth accounting of their practice and begin to imagine ways in which their practices reach toward and support one another. The symposium will be interwoven with performative responses.

On Day 1, the large discussion circle will focus on shared perspectives about addressing land/human relations in times of political and environmental upheaval. After a break for lunch, small group discussions will focus on artworks and practices that speak to land relations and other crucial topics. A keynote dialogue between Dr. Heather Igloliorte and Yube Huni Kuin, facilitated by Lee Maracle, will wrap up the day’s activities.

On Day 2, the large group discussion circle will focus on ways in which Indigenous artists can support one another through shifts in socio-political duress, future objectives, environmental directives, and land/human relations. After a break for lunch, small group discussions will focus on collaborative frameworks for anticipating the future. Remarks by Dr. Gerald McMaster and Elder Tom Cowie will close the symposium, followed by a dance party with music by DJ Geronimo Inutiq.

At the end of Day 2 of the Symposium, participants are invited to attend The Power Plant’s Fall 2019 Opening Party!