SYMPOSIUM BACKGROUND

A public symposium on Indigenous monuments and counter-monuments in Calgary and Saskatoon.

Stronger Than Stone: (Re)Inventing the Indigenous Monument brings together world-renowned Indigenous and non-Indigenous speakers to deliver presentations and performances, and to engage in conversations that will constitute an original public dialogue about land, language and the creation of public sites of memory. Participants will explore Indigenous ways of knowing and their implications for the fields of contemporary art, urban planning, and education.

Much of the conversation taking place at Stronger Than Stone will be necessarily speculative. However, we hope that the proceedings will lead to the establishment of a new, “Indigenized” framework or set of best practices for the commissioning of public art, urban design projects and community-led artworks – including memorials and monuments – that have the power to renew or reinvent relationships between people, land and place, and cultural memory/histories.

The event will generate an informative and thought-provoking resource for artists, curators, museums, public art commissioners, urban planners, architects, academics, policy makers, educators and others working across Canada and internationally. It will be relevant not only to practitioners dealing explicitly with Indigenous histories, but to all whose investigations concern relationships with land, language and history in the 21st century.

Stronger Than Stone: (Re)Inventing the Indigenous Monument is conceived by independent curator Jen Budney, with artists Maria Thereza Alves, Jimmie Durham and Jeff Thomas. Confirmed participants include Maria Thereza Alves, Rebecca Belmore, Dana Claxton, Jimmie Durham, Jeffrey Gibson, Tanya Harnett, James (Sákéj) Youngblood Henderson, Richard William Hill, Linda Hogan, Geir Tore Holm, Candice Hopkins, Zacharias Kunuk, Cathy Mattes, Marianne Nicolson, Manuel Piña Baldoquin, Paul Chaat Smith, Michael Taussig, Jeff Thomas, Luke Willis Thompson, Laurel Reuter, Gregory Scofield, Sandra Semchuk and Adrian Stimson. Moderators include Ashok Mathur, Head, Creative Studies, University of British Columbia-Okanagan and Neal McLeod, Professor of Indigenous Studies, Trent University. Additional participants to be announced.

The symposium is organized by Wayne Baerwaldt, Director/Curator, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art + Design; Kent Archer, Director/Curator, Kenderdine Art Gallery, University of Saskatchewan; Haema Sivanesan, Associate Curator, Mendel Art Gallery; and Jen Budney, independent curator.