Exploring Two-Spirit Identity
The annual Queer Arts Festival (QAF) begins on June 17 with the opening of UnSettled and the Art Party: Gala Opening Reception in the Roundhouse Exhibition Hall.
Exploring issues through art addresses the historical extermination of two-spirit people and the lack of alternative aboriginal sexuality and gender in contemporary western culture and media.
Visual art curator, Adrian Stimson curates an exhibition of Indigenous work that explores two-spirit identity. Stimson is a member of the Siksika Nation (Blackfoot Reserve, Alberta). He served as a tribal councilor for eight years and has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan.
Stimson’s works incorporate history, gender and identity. His previous works include Buffalo Boy, Old Sun and Transformation. In 2003 he received the QE II Golden Jubilee Metal. In 2006 he served as artist in residence at the famous Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon.
The British Museum in London recently purchased two of Stimson’s paintings featuring the bison as a metaphorical presence in First Nations histories.
UnSettled will be open from June 17 to 29 and feature works from Ahasiw Maskegon-Iskwew • Aiyyana Maracle • Barry Ace • Beric Manywounds • Cease Wyss • Dayna Danger • George Littlechild • Jessie Short • John Powell • Michelle Sylliboy • Mike MacDonald • Raven John • Richard Emery Duck Chief • Richard Heikkilä-Sawan • Robert Houle • Rosalie Favell • Thirza Cuthand • Ursula Johnson • Vanessa Dion Fletcher • Wanda Nanibu
The Queer Arts Festival will host a Curator Panel on June 18, Adrian Stimson and artists Wanda Nanibush, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, John Powell, and George Littlechild discuss their art and the curated exhibition.
Poetry, Dance and Music Elements at QAF
With 13 full days of exhibits and performances, here are a few highlighted events. Check out the QAF website for full schedule of events. Most of the events are FREE to attend.
Cris Derksen’s Orchestral Powwow | June 24 | 7pm | Roundhouse Turntable Plaza 21 performers including Cris Derksen, The Chippewa Travellers, hoop dancer Nimkii Osawamick & Allegra Chamber Orchestra.
Technical Knockouts | June 26 | 7pm | Roundhouse Performance Centre Poetry & electronic music: Kinnie Starr, DJ O Show and Tiffany Moses, performing with guests from QAF’s young artist program.
Pride In Art Community Art Show | June 17–29 | Roundhouse Great Hall From the roots of the Queer Arts Festival, this open visual art exhibition honours our founder, Two-Spirit artist Robbie Hong.
Technical Knockouts: QAF Young Artist Program | June 22–25 | 7pm with BYRC, Directions, Qmunity, UNYA | Roundhouse Room C A female-centred music production drop-in lab for queer Indigenous and allied youth led by Kinnie Starr, DJ O Show and Tiffany Moses.
*Main image by George Littlechild