Kaya Joan, Natalie King, Nicole Neidhardt, Celeste Pedri-Spade
Performances by Danielle Boissoneau and Chyler Sewell
Curated by Alex Jacobs-Blum
June 10 – August 13, 2022
Opening Reception: June 23 from 7:00-9:00 pm
Hamilton Artists Inc. is pleased to present Born Celestial, an exhibition curated by our Indigenous Curator in Residence, Alex Jacobs-Blum. Featured artists include Kaya Joan, Natalie King, Nicole Neidhardt and Celeste Pedri-Spade, as well as performances by Danielle Boissoneau and Chyler Sewell on July 20th.
The deep impact of colonial harms on Indigenous communities necessitates the emergence of new potentialities.
By using storytelling to collapse the future into the present, Born Celestial imagines unearthed futures beyond settler colonialism where Indigenous knowledge systems thrive. Born Celestial embodies futurities, drawing from human and other-than-human relations, community and familial knowledge, star systems, and Creation stories. Empowering a (re)connection to self and an uplifting of community, Born Celestial inspires healing and hopeful pathways for the seven generations to come.
Artists Danielle Boissonneau, Kaya Joan, Natalie King, Nicole Neidhardt, Celeste Pedri-Spade, and Chyler Sewell access love, memory and knowledge from ancestor relatives unbound by material form and linear notions of space and time. Navigating between worlds and constellations, the artists activate the dreams of ancestors, contemporary kin, and future relatives in a present temporality.
Born Celestial Performance Night
Wednesday, July 20, 7:00-9:00 pm
Kaya Joan is a multi-disciplinary Afro-Indigenous artist, born, raised and living in T’karonto, Dish with One Spoon treaty territory. Kaya’s work focuses on exploring relationships and responsibility to place and storytelling. Black and Indigenous futurisms and speculative fiction are themes central to Kaya’s practice, as they map towards futures of abundance and joy for their kin. Kaya has been working in community arts for 7 years as a facilitator and artist, and is a member of Milkweed Collective.
Natalie King is a queer interdisciplinary Anishinaabe (Algonquin) artist, facilitator, and member of Timiskaming First Nation. King’s arts practice ranges from video, painting, sculpture, and installation as well as community engagement, curation, and arts administration. Often involving portrayals of queer femmes, King’s works are about embracing the ambiguity and multiplicities of identity within the Anishinaabe queer femme experience(s). King’s practice operates from a firmly critical, anti-colonial, non-oppressive, and future-bound perspective, reclaiming the realities of lived lives through frameworks of desire and survivance.
Nicole Neidhardt is Diné (Navajo) of Kiiyaa’áanii Clan on her mother’s side, a blend of European ancestry on her father’s side and is currently based in Santa Fe, NM. She received her MFA from OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario, and a bachelor of fine arts with a business minor from the University of Victoria. Nicole’s Diné identity is the heart of her practice which encompasses Indigenous Futurisms, Diné Storytelling, and Diné Aesthetics. Her multi-disciplinary practice explores installation, land-based practices, hand-poke tattooing, illustration, and community-centered murals. She is committed to using her arts practice to center and uplift Indigenous worldviews and voices in order to contribute to strong and vibrant Indigenous futures.
Celeste Pedri-Spade, PhD, is an Ojibwe visual anthropologist and practicing artists from Northwestern Ontario (Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation). Her primary research interest is in the role of Ojibwe (Anishinabe) visual/ material culture in decolonial praxis, namely the restorative and regenerative works within Ojibwe communities that privileges the lived experiences of women and children. Dr. Pedri-Spade presently holds a tenured position as an Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies at Queen’s University, where she holds the title of Queen’s National School in Indigenous Studies.
Alex Jacobs-Blum, is a Lower Cayuga of Six Nations of the Grand River, and German artist and curator based in Ohron:wakon (Hamilton, ON). Her dichotomous Hodinöhsö:ni’ and European identity raise questions of belonging and relationship to land. Finding a unified sense of identity motivates her investigation for (re)learning and reclaiming Indigeneity. She focuses on the territories that have sustained her family for generations and engages knowledge carried by her ancestors. Alex’s practice operates from a lens of love, care and intergenerational healing, while challenging colonial structures.
Alex received a Bachelor of Photography at Sheridan College in 2015, where she was awarded the Canon Award of Excellence for Narrative Photography for her thesis. Since then, Alex’s artistic work has exhibited at the University of Ottawa, Centre for Artistic + Social Practice, Hamilton Artists Inc., and the Critical Distance Centre for Curators. She is currently the Indigenous Curatorial Resident at Hamilton Artist Inc.
Hamilton Artists Inc. would like to acknowledge the generous support by our funder for this exhibition:
This exhibition is generously supported by our community partners: