Curating moments of art-world inspiration
Urban Shaman gallery director shares journey in Art Talk
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/09/2020 (1006 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Sometimes a work of art can change your life.
In this month’s Art Talk — a monthly event held in partnership with First Fridays in the Exchange and hosted by Free Press contributor Alison Gillmor — Urban Shaman gallery director Daina Warren will go live on YouTube to talk about the artists and artworks that have inspired her during her career as an artist and curator in a conversation entitled The Art That Won’t Let Go.
Warren, who is a member of the Akamihk (Cree) Nation in Maskwacis, Alta., earned her BFA at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and holds an MA in critical and curatorial studies from the University of British Columbia.
She cites Kainai-Blood sculptor Faye HeavyShield as a major influence early in her training.
“She was kind of one of the first Indigenous women artists that I had ever come across,” says Warren. “I was still learning what the art world was all about. I love the fact that her stuff is so minimal.”
Warren will also be discussing her experience working with interdisciplinary Anishinaabe artist Rebecca Belmore, whose Trace, a blanket of hand-painted ceramic beads, hangs in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
“When she and her partner first moved to Vancouver in the early 2000s,” Warren says, “I was just starting to take on my curatorial profession. I got to work with her; I’d go with her on material runs to Home Depot. It was just so fun being able to see what her process was, how she chose different things, talking out ideas with her and stuff like that.”
Belmore eventually asked Warren to assist on some performance art pieces, including the 2008 work Victorious, in which Belmore decorated Warren — who was seated on a throne in the style of Queen Victoria — in honey and newspaper. The performance was a statement on the power of language and the written world, and the use of language in control and domination.
“It was great working with Rebecca,” Warren recalls, “but it was completely nerve-racking for me. I didn’t want to screw up her piece.”
Among other artworks and artists that have inspired Warren, including such pieces as Monet’s Water Lilies, she will also talk about Miskwaabik Animiiki / Copper Thunderbird, an upcoming exhibition featuring the work of Anishinaabe visual artist Norval Morrisseau, which runs at Urban Shaman from Sept. 11 to Oct. 30.
The exhibition is hosted in partnership with Buhler Gallery at St. Boniface Hospital, where it runs Sept. 1 to Dec. 13.
Beyond programming the work of established Indigenous artists, Warren hopes Urban Shaman can continue to support emerging Indigenous artists.
“What I really love is that a lot of local Indigenous artists have had solo shows here,” she says. “That’s been a stepping stone to them having larger careers.”
The Art That Won’t Let Go will be available to stream free at 7 p.m. today on YouTube at wfp.to/warren. For more information visit firstfridayswinnipeg.org.
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Frances Koncan (she/her) is a writer, theatre director, and failed musician of mixed Anishinaabe and Slovene descent. Originally from Couchiching First Nation, she is now based in Treaty 1 Territory right here in Winnipeg, Manitoba.