Sovereign Acts

November 30, 2019 to March 1, 2020

Guest curator Wanda Nanibush’s touring exhibition will showcase photography, video, and installation works by eight well known Indigenous contemporary artists: Rebecca Belmore, Lori Blondeau, Dayna Danger, Robert Houle, James Luna, Shelley Niro, Adrian Stimson, and Jeff Thomas.

The history of Indigenous Peoples performing cultural dances and practices for international and colonial audiences is an important part of Indigenous art generally, and performance art specifically. Drawing on the depiction of the “imaginary Indian”—the ahistorical, pre-contact ‘primitivism’ in popular and mass culture—they recover and construct new ways of performing the complexity of Indigenous cultures for a contemporary art audience. Their work returns to the multi-levelled history of ‘Performing Indian’ to recuperate the erased and objectified performer as an ancestor, an artist, and an Indigenous subject.

Sovereign Acts is curated by Wanda Nanibush and is organized and circulated by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto with the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.

Opening Reception
Friday, November 29, 6 to 8 pm
Join curator Wanda Nanibush for an exhibition tour and talk at 6 pm.
This is a free event, open to members and guests by invitation.


In the Making: CBC Episode Screenings
Thursday, January 30, from 6 to 8 pm
Join us for an evening of great art and conversation. Starting at 6 pm we will be screening three episodes from the CBC series In the Making, which is an immersive journey inside the creative process of some of Canada’s leading artists. The episodes will provide a deeper look at three artists showcased in the current exhibition Sovereign Acts, including Rebecca Belmore, Adrian Stimson, and Shelley Niro.


Sovereign Acts: Panel Discussion
Saturday February 22, from 2 to 4 pm | Free
Join us for an engaging conversation with three guest speakers, who will share their own personal interpretations of Sovereign Acts. Mariel Belanger, Cori Derickson, and Margo Tamez will each present in a lecture-style format, which will then be followed by an open discussion. This event is free and open to the public to attend. Click here for more information.


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