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At The Gallery / a genocide laid bare by jaz whitford – with Soloman Chiniquay, Louise Bernice Halfe, Jónína Kirton, Karmella Benedito De Barros, and Smokii Sumac

May 23 @ 12:00 pm - July 20 @ 5:00 pm PDT

May 23rd 2023 – July 20th 2023, Massy Arts will host, a genocide laid bare, a new show by secwe̓pemc & mixed settler interdisciplinary artist jaz whitford that juxtaposes visual artworks with ekphrastic poetry, installed at the gallery as an invitation to discuss heritage, systemic aggressions, and Indigenous history between mediums.

For the show’s initial stage (March to May), parsing visual pieces from whitford’s work, Indigenous writers created poems exploring themes of genocide, decolonization, identity, land, and resurgence, which were enlarged and exhibited in contrast to whitford’s visual universe. Now, in partnership with artist Soloman Chiniquay, whitford brings a new set of works to the gallery, wishing to create new possible discussions/correlations between what image, and text.

Poets chosen to be part of this project are: Louise Bernice Halfe / Sky Dancer (Cree poet, appointed as Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate in 2021); Smokii Sumac (Ktunaxa poet and PhD Candidate in Indigenous Studies at Trent University); Jónína Kirton (Red River Métis/Icelandic poet, author, and facilitator); and Karmella Benedito De Barros (Mistawasis Nêhiyaw/Afro-Brazilian Poet, Artist, and Indigenous Brilliance Community Engagement Mentor within Room Magazine).

This project is supported by the Community Arts Council of Vancouver + First Peoples’ Cultural Council.

The Massy Arts Gallery is located at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.
The gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm to 5pm.
Entrance is free, and masks are mandatory.

To contact the gallery, send an email to: info@massyarts.com.

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The Artists

jaz whitford is a secwe̓pemc & mixed settler interdisciplinary artist who embodies anti-professionalism, and anti-colonialism, as a way to move toward a future where indigenous knowledge and ways of being are not only respected, but valued & revered. Using a range of materials, forms and mediums, they work to investigate and express their lived experience and understanding of spirituality, resistance, ancestral connections, and community care.

Soloman Chiniquay is a documentary photographer and filmmaker living between xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ territory and his homelands of Treaty 7 territory. His lens-based work explores the ways he is welcomed to witness expressions of Indigeneity, creating imagery that attempts to show, in sometimes raw ways, the land and the people on it, the ways people use and connect to the land, and the artifacts they leave on it.

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The Poets

Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer was raised on Saddle Lake Reserve and attended Blue Quills Residential School. Louise is married, has two adult children and three grandsons. She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Regina. She also completed two years of Addictions Counselor Training at St. Albert’s Nechi Institute where she also facilitated the program. She served as Saskatchewan’s Poet Laureate for two years. Her books include, Bear Bones and Feathers, Blue Marrow, The Crooked Good, Burning In This Midnight Dream, Sohkeyihta, and awasis-kinky and dishevelled.

Smokii Sumac (Ktunaxa) is a poet and PhD Candidate in Indigenous Studies at Trent University, where his work centers on the question: how do we come home? As an Indigenous adoptee, intergenerational residential school survivor, and two-spirit person, Smokii’s lived experiences are deeply embedded into his art and research. His first poetry collection, you are enough: love poems for the end of the world, (Kegedonce Press, 2018) won an Indigenous Voices Award for published poetry, and Smokii has recently been named as a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize.

Jónína Kirton, an Icelandic and Red River Métis poet was born in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, the traditional lands of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Anishinaabeg and the Métis. She was sixty-one when she received the 2016 Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for an Emerging Artist in the Literary Arts category. Her second collection of poetry, An Honest Woman, was a finalist in the 2018 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Her third book, Standing in a River of Time, was released in 2022. She is a citizen of the Métis Nation of BC and currently lives in New Westminster BC, the unceded territory of the Halkomelem speaking peoples.

Karmella Benedito De Barros is a 2S Mistawasis Nêhiyaw and Afro-Brazilian plant lover, community support worker, artist and organizer. They are born and raised in diaspora, as a guest on stolen & unceded Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh territories. Karmella is currently a Cultural Wellness Worker at Kilala Lelum Health Clinic. They are a Co-Founder of the Art Ecosystem Project, Member of the Indigenous Brilliance Collective, and Support the CRUW program at xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Indigenous Peoples Garden at the UBC Farm (Musqueam). Karmella’s most recent work is featured in Activations Of Solidarity with the Indigenous Curatorial Collective 2021, and Room Magazine issue 44.1 Growing Room.

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May 23 @ 12:00 pm PDT
July 20 @ 5:00 pm PDT


23 East Pender Street
Vancouver, BC Canada
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Massy Arts Society