I have always identified with native culture. As a kid, when other girls wanted to dress like Barbie, I wanted a jingle dress. So I feel privileged to live here in Nogojiwanong on the banks of a river used for centuries by our First Nations. Where the water and earth meet.
William Kingfisher has done an outstanding job of curating a very subtle show for the Art Gallery of Peterborough. jiigbiig: at the edge where the water and the earth meet is a fitting prelude to the Ode’min Giizis Festival, now in its 5th year of bringing us the best of contemporary indigenous culture.
The first thing I became aware of in jiigbiig was a methodical but arrhythmic clacking sound – a sound that, oddly enough, was strangely soothing. It drew me into the video by Vanessa Dion Fletcher of a woman walking the rocky shore of a lake; upon closer investigation, one realizes the sound is coming from sheets of copper that have been strapped to her feet as sandals. Every contact with the land left marks on the copper – a wordless communication between man and land. The two sheets of copper were framed as part of the show; prints taken from the copper sheets were also on display. Our impact on the earth and its impact on us was further amplified by texts and stories by elders, no less visual than the prints, and demonstrating the many faces of literacy. This installation quietly moved me with its clarity, timelessness and dimension.
This year’s Ode’min Giizis Festival opens Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 at 5:30 pm at the Art Gallery of Peterborough with:
- jiigbiig: at the edge where the water and the earth meet
- Longing and Belonging, a video and photographic work by Melissa General from the Six Nations of Grand River Territory
- Gaabinjigabaa’aang: where we came ashore, following the flood at the end of the first world, a site specific performance by Santa Fe choreographer Rulan Tangen which explores the time and place following the flood at the end of the first world.
But the festival offers so much more, in public places and venues around town – theatre productions by Tomson Highway, Paul Sherman and Cliff Cardinal, guerilla art by Jimson Bowler, music by Sean Conway, Grupo Granma and A Tribe Called Red, workshops by Glenna Matoush, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, James Luna, Lori Blondeau and Carlos Rivera Martínez to mention a few. Presented by O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk (OKW) and Public Energy, we are indeed lucky to have this unique window on contemporary indigenous culture taking place in the Strawberry Moon, June 20th-June 24th, right here in this town with a river that flows through its heart.