News Release

REF NO.: 0

SUBJECT: Grenfell PSA: Imaging and Imagining: Expressing Aboriginal Identity and Experience

DATE: March 1, 2010

          The Imaging and Imagining: Expressing Aboriginal Identity and Experience forum is a unique event that provides context for the discussion of cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, inter-generational and community-based views. The forum involves significant local and regional representation, including student presentations. The Winter 2009-2010 forum coincides with the Shorelines exhibit and involves two related events: Part I: Student Presentations, and Part II: a Talking Circle. 
          Imaging and Imagining is a collaboration of the SWGC Art Gallery and Social/Cultural Studies (SWGC), and is sponsored by the Smallwood Foundation Conference Grant and the Office of Research at SWGC.
          Open to all and admission is free.
March 6, 2010, Part I: Student Presentations from 9:00-11:00am; Part II: Talking Circle I:00-4:00pm.
Atrium, SWGC Art Gallery and FA224 (The Fine Arts Lecture Theatre)
Background document

TITLE: “Imaging and Imagining: Expressing Aboriginal Identity and Experience”

DATE: March 06, 2010

LOCATION: Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Gallery, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Corner Brook, NL

Charlotte Jones, Acting Gallery Director, (SWGC/MUN),
Martha MacDonald, Associate Director, Education and Training, Labrador Institute (MUN)
Angela Robinson, Assistant Professor, Social/Cultural Studies, Anthropology,(SWGC/MUN)
In the Fall 2008-2009, a forum titled, Artistic Expression, Identity and the Aboriginal Experience in Western Newfoundland was held at the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Art Gallery. The forum followed the protocol of a Talking Circle and included representatives from the student body and Aboriginal participants throughout the region including Wampanoag, Blackfoot and Mi’kmaw representatives. Although significant scholarship on regional Aboriginal populations in Newfoundland and Labrador is ongoing, this forum was a unique event that provided a context for a discussion of cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, inter-generational and community-based views. Based on the success of the 2008-2009 Fall event, the proposed Winter 2009-2010 forum, with the modified title, Imaging and Imagining: Expressing Aboriginal Identity and Experience aims to expand on the 2008-2009 forum to include broader regional representation and student presentations. The Winter 2009-2010 forum will coincide with the Shorelines exhibit on March 06, 2010, and will involve two related events: Part I: Student Presentations, and Part II: a Talking Circle.
The Shorelines exhibit brings together artists working in diverse media to develop work grounded in the community and as a creative response to shoreline sites along the Port au Port Peninsula and the west coast of Ireland. The concept of 'shoreline' is used as a metaphor for social, philosophical, ecological, cultural and physical change, and at the same time, as metaphor for the brink of change. The project uses specific significant shorelines to explore how communities—human and otherwise—respond to change. These questions are particularly cogent in terms of the history and current situations of the Mi’kmaq, francophone and Irish-speaking populations resident in these regions. This year’s forum will focus on the general concepts behind the Shorelines exhibit but expanded to include all Aboriginal groups represented at the forum. Participants in both the Student Presentations and the Talking Circle will be encouraged to consider the theme of Shorelines in their presentations, but may include any issue, concern or feature of Aboriginal life and experience that they care to address.
The research area of the Forum involves areas of human creative expression through various mediums such as visual arts, sculpture, personal adornment, literature (fiction and non-fiction) and film. It will explore how cultural beliefs are manifested in these mediums and, to an extent, how these forms of expression create and sustain Aboriginal belief systems, values and social relations. The Forum will also facilitate an understanding of how social context is an inextricable facet of creative expression that illustrates: the construction of personal and group identity; the ways in which identity is communicated; and the deconstruction of identity, within Aboriginal contexts. In combination, the format and foci of the Forum is an innovative approach designed to promote and encourage research and scholarship on identity and its expression in Aboriginal populations with a specific focus on Newfoundland and Labrador.

Part I: Student Presentations: Aboriginal students will be invited to present creative materials pertaining to Aboriginal identity. The form of expression is open-ended; i.e. students will be encouraged to use any one or combination of, but not exclusive to, the following media: research papers, dramatic performances, traditional performances, visual arts, videos, poetry and creative writing.
Part II: a Talking Circle: a Talking circle will be conducted in consultation with regional Aboriginal Elders, SWGC students, and forum organizers, Charlotte Jones, Acting Gallery Director(SWGC), Martha MacDonald, Folklore, (Labrador Institute); and Angela Robinson Assistant Professor, Social/Cultural Studies, Anthropology,(SWGC), and will be expanded to include representation within the Atlantic region with invitations extended to faculty with expertise in the area of Aboriginal studies, including Dr. Rainer Baehre, (Historical Studies, Social/Cultural Studies, SWGC); Charlotte Jones, Acting Gallery Director (SWGC); Dr. Martha MacDonald, Folklore (Labrador Institute); Dr. Stephanie McKenzie, English (SWGC); Dr. Angela Robinson, Anthropology, Social/Cultural Studies (SWGC); five Newfoundland and Labrador Aboriginal representatives from within the visual and performing arts will be invited to attend including, Scott Butt, Stephenville; Jerry Evans, St. John’s; Jordan Bennett, Corner Brook/St. George’s Stan Hill, Conne River; and five Newfoundland and Labrador Aboriginal Elders from Conne River, Corner Brook, Flat Bay, Labrador, Port au Port and Stephenville. The forum will be open to local/regional communities and to all associated faculty, staff and students.

Invited guest speakers and affiliations:

Hart, Anne Mi’kmaw Elder/Program Co-ordinator, Southwestern Coalition to
End Violence
MacDonald, Martha Associate Director, Education and Training, Labrador Institute of
Memorial University
Wells, Linda Mi’kmaw Elder/ Project Manager, Newfoundland Aboriginal
Women's Network

White, Calvin Elder, former FNI President, former Saqamaw (Chief), Flat Bay,Newfoundland
Bennett, Jordan Visual Artist (multimedia), St. George’s/Corner Brook, NL,Mi’kmaw
Butt, Scott Visual Artist (carver), St. George’s, NL, Mi’kmaw
Evans, Jerry Visual Artist (printmaking, painting), St. John’s, NL, Mi’kmaw
Stan Hill Visual Artist (carver), Mohawk, Tuscarora

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