Announcing our programming schedule for September & October
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Image courtesy of Sara Mai Chitty

Towards Braiding: Dreaming of Anti-colonial Futures in the Forest City
September 14 - October 13, 2023

Opening reception September 14 at 7PM with Maryanne Kechego

As Forest City Gallery turns 50, we are thinking about what 50 more years looks like for us, and the roles and responsibilities we have as one of the longest running artist-run centres, located in Dish with One Spoon territory.
We invite you to join us, with open hearts and minds, in conversations about decolonizing arts, arts education, and institutions.

As an artist-run center that fosters and supports contemporary art, promoting dialogue among local, regional, and international arts communities, we believe it is important to come together as a community to collectively imagine decolonial futures for arts and arts education in our city. 

This is just a small beginning step. To prepare, let’s begin reading Towards Braiding by Vanessa Andreotti and Jimmy Elwood Smith together. Towards Braiding comes out of discussions and sharing between the authors and the Musgagetes Foundation, and this book will be our guide. Each week leading up to this series, we will post questions and quotes to inform the conversations that will emerge and take literal shape on our gallery walls in the Fall.

This interactive exhibit and conversation series invites Londoners to reflect on their roles and responsibilities as Treaty People, and collectively dream of anti-colonial futures, together using Towards Braiding as our guide. This series serves as an entry point for anyone curious—or actively working towards—decolonizing art, institutions, as well as arts and education, broadly. A highly participatory exhibition event, visitors to the gallery are invited to reflect and contribute to the conversation on the literal walls of our space. As panels and workshops occur between September and October, recordings and transcriptions will also be available for visitors to engage with.

Panel: Indigenous Art as Teacher
September 20, 1:30 - 3:30 PM at Forest City Gallery

With Jennifer Komorowski (Oneida, TMU), Summer Bressette (Anishinaabe, AEI) and Beth Hundey (Settler-Ally, Western University).

Workshop: Indigenous Perspectives in Media
September 26, 3:30 - 6:30 PM at Forest City Gallery

A screening of Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian (2009, 1:28:00), directed by Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond. This screening will be followed by a conversation with Sara Mai Chitty (Office of Indigenous Initiatives, Western University) and Sally Kewayosh (Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Western University).

Panel: Indigenizing Spaces
October 3, 12 - 2 PM, Location TBA

With Mike Cywink (Anishinaabe artist), Paula Hedgepeth (Office of Indigenous
Initiatives, Western University), Laura Ramirez (Office of Indigenous
Initiatives, Western University). Moderated by Sheri Osden Nault (Metis artist, Assistant Professor in Western University's Department of Visual Arts).

Indigenizing spaces can take on many forms, whether it is art, community relations or naturalizing green spaces. Join our esteemed panelists in conversation on what it means to integrate Indigenous culture into spaces.
Image courtesy of Leith Mahkewa

Art Now! Speaker Series: Leith Mahkewa
October 5, 7 PM, Western University

Presented in partnership with the Department of Visual Arts.

“I am a beadwork artist from the Oneida Nation of the Thames in Ontario. I have been living in the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) Territory of Kahnawake (Quebec) for 38 years. After graduating from university, I focused on learning Kanien’kéha (Mohawk language) and raising my children as first-language speakers. As a new mother, my passion grew for the Haudenosaunee beadwork that often adorned the clothing of newborns and some of the older people I met in the longhouse. In 2000, I became a member of a ladies’ beading circle which focuses on Kanien’kehá:ka style raised beadwork, a three-dimensional art form having its origins in the Victorian era. It is here that I became a mentee to these seasoned beadworkers.

"I created a niche unique to my Oneida/Chippewa/Hopi/Tewa family lineage. My personal style often juxtaposes the geometric shapes found in my Hopi family pottery patterns, and Haudenosaunee inspired floral designs. The complexity of both cultures and design styles, when combined and manipulated, create a one of a kind form of beadwork.

"My art makes a social statement that speaks to the current social realities of Indigenous life, whether the devastating lack of access to clean water or the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic. The beaded mask 'I am protecting you from me', a piece created to acknowledge the loss of life during the early stages of the Covid 19 pandemic, uses red monochromatic beads representing the blood that flows through us and how we are interconnected to each other and our environment. I am proud to be part of the revival of raised beadwork within the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. I will continue to create pieces that highlight my cultural values and the integrity I have as a strong Onkwehón:we woman.” 

All Art Now Speakers’ Series lectures are free and open to the public. This series is generously supported by The Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and this year's course is taught by artist and lecturer Liza Eurich.
Towards Braiding: Dreaming of Anti-colonial Futures in the Forest City is presented in partnership with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at Western University, Western University's Department of Visual Arts and the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, and supported by Public Humanities at Western.
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1025 Elias Street, London, Ontario, N5W 3P6, Canada

FCG's programs and exhibitions are free and accessible to all thanks to the
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