John Wood and Paul Harrison, installation view from ‘I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW IT’, Contemporary Art Gallery, February 12 – April 24, 2016. Photography by SITE Photography

Hello again! Meet Emily | FPCC Indigenous Curatorial Intern

Hello! My name is Emily and I am excited to be a returning staff member to CAG as the Indigenous Curatorial Assistant, a position funded through the generous support of the First People’s Cultural Council. Throughout my position here, I will be making use of the CAG Blog as a site to make public some reflections as I work with the gallery and a community mentor towards a number of projects and programming.

Last year, I was fortunate to work alongside the CAG Curatorial team and its community – which includes  artists, volunteers, community partners and groups – and contribute to general programming and publications with particular focus on Jeneen Frei Njootli’s solo exhibition and accompanying monograph my auntie bought all her skidoos with bead money. Through my 2018 internship, I learned heaps, including complexities and possibilities for building entry ways into understanding and accessing contemporary art. I wrote a short reflection about my time that you are welcome to read here.

Jeneen Frei Njootli, installation view from ‘my auntie bought all her skidoos with bead money’, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, July 13 – September 16, 2018. Photography by Michael Love

My independent curatorial and artistic practice was also supported by learning acquired during my internship. During my time away from CAG between work terms, I was able to further draw outlines of inquiry related to embodiment, territorial negotiations and the archive during a residency at the Nida Art Colony. Working between writing, curating and making, I continue to explore how we share and transmit our understanding of the history of specific lands. I’m also grateful to have been welcomed into the Room Magazine community as organizer and co-curator of Indigenous Brilliance along with jaye simpson, Jessica Johns and Patricia Massy. Indigenous Brilliance is a site of resurgence realized through highlighting the work of Indigenous women, Two-Spirit, trans and queer artists, through a regular reading series hosted at Massy Books. Through community building and the radical act of living and loving, we make space and centre storytelling in all its wonderful and complex forms. You can witness and contribute to this important moment by attending one of our events and following us on Instagram and Twitter where we continue to uplift artists by sharing their books, words, art, stories and events. Our May 24 event was recorded by CJSF radio and you are welcome to listen to it here.


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Arielle Twist’s DISINTEGRATE/DISSOCIATE is a poetic rapture. It is the debut book from this powerhouse nehiyaw poet, artist, and sex educator. Released earlier this year by @arsenalpulp, it weaves together pain, desire, pleasure, ancestral connection, admiration, and nehiyawin into an immensely forceful text. Each poem manages to be exquisitely thoughtful yet remains uninhibited. Beauty is spread across the pages as Twist’s gift of bringing form to words creates breath when it’s needed most. It is a work that demands our attention, remains rooted in truth, and will certainly need to be revisited time and time again. The stunning cover work is by @nalakwasis. Hiy hiy to @arielletwist for bringing this into our world. #ndnreadz. . [ID: a photo of Arielle Twist’s “DISINTEGRATE/DISSOCIATE”. The book is resting on the grass among little daisies and clover. The cover features an illustration of a white figure looking away, it’s long hair swirling upwards into the title in red font. Strawberry plants grow outwards from the figure. The cover art is by nalakwsis. / end ID]

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“If we want to live in a different present, we have to centre Indigeneity and allow it to change us.”

  • Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, As We Have Always Done, 2017

I look forward to working at CAG and continuing to learn through relationality and contemporary concerns and practices. I hope you will feel comfortable getting in touch and visiting me while I’m here. Groups are more than welcome to reach out for tours or workshops and can find Gallery contact information here.