MFA Lindsay Delaronde named Victoria’s Indigenous Artist in Residence

The city’s visual arts scene became even more inclusive with the March 8 news that Lindsay Delaronde has been named Victoria’s inaugural Indigenous Artist in Residence.

Visual Arts alumna Lindsay Delaronde (photo: PRZ)

Delaronde, an Iroquois Mohawk woman born and raised on the Kahnawake reservation outside of Montreal, is also a multi‐disciplinary Visual Arts MFA alumna (2010) and has been a professional practicing artist for the past five years. In 2015, she was one of three artists-in-residence at the Royal BC Museum (along with fellow Visual Arts alumnus Gareth Gaudin); her work was in the spotlight with her 2016-17 exhibit In Defiance at UVic’s Legacy Gallery, and she was also a featured speaker at UVic’s Diversity Research Forum in January 2017.

“I hope to create artworks that reflect the values of this land, which are cultivated and nurtured by the Indigenous peoples of this territory,” she says. “I see my role as a way to bring awareness to and acknowledge that reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is a process, one in which I can facilitate a collaborative approach for creating strong relationships to produce co-created art projects in Victoria.”

Delaronde began making art at a young age, practicing traditional forms of art making such as beadwork and cultural crafts. She began her journey to become a professional artist by travelling to the West Coast and obtaining her BFA at the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design.

She creates work directly related to being an Indigenous woman in contemporary mainstream society, and has worked in mediums ranging from printmaking (including silkscreen printing and photos transfers) to painting, drawing and video — all with the motivation to expand the evolution of Indigenous peoples and their histories. Her intention is to construct Indigenous perspectives within Western society to bring forth truth and reconciliation through the act of creation and visual understanding.

For her one-year term as Indigenous Artist in Residence, Delaronde will work with the community and City staff to produce a range of artistic works; she will also have an opportunity to create collaborative artwork with the City’s Artist in Residence, Luke Ramsey, who was appointed in fall 2016. She will work 20 hours per week as an independent contractor (March 2017 to March 2018) for a total fee of $42,000, funded by the City’s Art in Public Places Reserve Fund. Artwork materials, fabrication and installation may be funded by a capital project’s budget, with up to $30,000 from the Art in Public Places Reserve Fund.

Lindsay Delaronde running a corn doll workshop at Legacy Gallery in 2016 (photo: Corina Fischer)

“My goal and my purpose for the residency is really to pave the way for young emerging indigenous artists and youth, and help them understand that anything is possible,” Delaronde said in this Victoria News interview.  “Everyone can stop and take a look at how art has helped them in their lives or how creativity has help someone through something or see something differently or be inspired by art . . . We all have these experiences so one thing that’s important is really helping people to personalize their own relationship to artwork and artwork in the city and what that means.”

One of six artists who applied for the position — which was open to First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists and artist teams working in any artistic discipline who reside in the Capital Region, including the Gulf Islands — submissions were evaluated based on artistic excellence, written interest, and knowledge and understanding of the cultural heritage and legacy of the area. Experience with community engagement and a desire to create artwork for and in the public realm were required.

’Namgis nation chief Rande Cook — a member of the City’s Art in Public Places Committee, and the current Audain Professor of Contemporary Art Practice of the Pacific Northwest for the department of Visual Arts — feels Delaronde is a good fit for what the City of Victoria has declared the Year of Reconciliation. “At a time where love, respect, unity and art come together, let’s all follow in the path as Lindsay paints and creates towards a brighter future,” he says. “Reconciliation is an act we as people must feel from within before we can dance unified to the heart of Mother Earth.”

Delaronde speaking at the 2017 Diversity Research Forum

Delaronde also recently completed her second Master’s degree at UVic, in Indigenous Communities Counselling Psychology. As she recounted in this Focus magazine interview, having experienced domestic violence and trauma in her youth, Delaronde has always turned to art-making for solace; realizing how an art practice helped her in her own healing, she has been finding points of cohesion. “As time went on, I was really interested in narrative therapy, person-centred therapy . . .  We don’t heal in isolation. Our worldview is about coming together and doing ceremonies so we could be visible; we could be seen. We could be part of community. The individual healing is the group healing—one is the other.”

She is already planning a multidisciplinary performative piece, titled A CHoRD, to take place at Victoria’s Legislature on June 25, 2017. Co-created with local choreographer Monique Salez  to enact a new accord reflecting the potential for a rallying point between cultures, politics, ages, and herstories, A CHoRD will “appropriate the colonial legislative system to dismantle existing hypocrisies and injustices while proposing new partnerships with an eye toward the potential for a contemporary and inclusive recreation where women’s voices, bodies and politics are reclaimed.”

Street art performance by Lindsay Delaronde (photo: Michael Tessel)

Want to get involved? Performers and activated audience members are needed, and you can find out more at an informational meet & greet, 3 to 5pm Sunday, March 19, at Raino Dance, 715 Yates (3rd floor).

You can also see footage of Delaronde’s 2015 Unceded Voices interactive street art performance piece here. “I dressed Iroquois regalia approaching local Montrealers and asking if they knew what First Nations territory they were on?” she said at the time. “What do they know of Kahnawake and Mohawk people? Interesting and upsetting responses in relation the lack of knowledge people have. So I did an acknowledgment of territory and educated them on who we are as Onkwehonwe people.”

We’ll  be excited to see the impact — both immediate and long-term — this extraordinary Fine Arts graduate has on Victoria during her year of residency.

Fine Arts shines at Ideafest

From issues in contemporary Indigenous arts to plastic waste, fake news and comic books about very serious topics, UVic’s annual Ideafest always offers one of the most fascinating weeks of the year!

Running March 2-7 at locations both on- and off-campus, Ideafest 2020 is UVic’s week-long festival of research, art and innovation. There are over 35 free events to capture your imagination, and tickets are not required (unless otherwise stated in the event description).

While you can peruse the full list of Ideafest events here, we’ve rounded up the Fine Arts offerings for your quick reference.

Luff: An Exploration of Kites

Take a stroll through UVic’s Fine Arts courtyard for an outdoor exhibit on kites from third-year drawing students in our Visual Arts department and other contributors. With a history dating back more than 10,000 years, the kite has entranced inventors and creative thinkers from Benjamin Franklin to Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright Brothers. This exhibit seeks inter-disciplinary connections and philosophical insights grounded in a fundamental truth: Without good design and careful construction, nothing flies.

Luff runs March 2-7 in the Fine Arts Courtyard

JCURA Student Research Fair

A recent installation by JCURA student Josh Franklin

Nine different students from all five of our departments are presenting their work in the annual Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards fair, including:

  • Josh Franklin (Visual Arts): “Holon Inc.: A Multidisciplinary Exploration of Holistic Process Based Art”
  • Megan Ingram (AHVS): “Police, Prejudice, and Film: Contemporary Perspectives on Filmic Representations of Law Enforcement”
  • Emily Markwart (Music): “Florence B. Price: An Antidote to the Whitewashed Classical Music Canon”
  • Hana Mason (Writing): “Re-coming of Age: Themes, Motifs and Conventions in New Adult Fiction”
  • Hannah Moore (AHVS): “Revisiting the Anarchist Politics of Barnett Newman’s ‘Zip’ Paintings”
  • Benjamin Parker (Music): “Post-War Art in Europe: Stravinsky, Sibelius, Vaughn Williams and Schoenberg in the wake of WW1”
  • Christian Tervo (Theatre): “Representing War on the Canadian Stage”
  • Olivia Wheeler (Theatre): “EVOKE: An Exploration of Theatrical Designs Emotional Stimulus”
  • Keren Xu (Music): “The flute solo repertoire ‘Reflections 1’ and reception of female composer Diane Berry”

JCURA runs 11:30am-3pm Wednesday, March 4, in the SUB

Where are the Women Composers?

Even in 2020 there are significant challenges and barriers to women who are composing music. How did a patriarchal concept of art music routinely ignore historical and contemporary achievements by women in the classical music industry? Through performances of four solo flute works by female composers and a discussion with the performers and scholars, this session will explore the reasons why female composers have been excluded, ignored or sidelined.

Presenters include School of Music professor Suzanne Snizek with Sikata Banerjee (Department of Gender Studies) and flute students Emily Morse, Lisa Matsugu, Charlie Mason and Rhiannon Jones.

Where are the Women Composers? runs 12:30-2:20pm Wednesday, March 4, in Mac B037

Artistic Alliances: Indigeneity & Fine Arts

The District of Saanich along with the artist, Carey Newman, officially welcomes Earth Drums to Cedar Hill Park in September 2019 (photo: Kevin Light)

Indigenous arts engage people in multiple ways. Some works are more visible than others for some audiences and for different reasons. What is the social impact of Indigenous arts?

The research and creative activity happening in the Faculty of Fine Arts reflects the dynamic range of contemporary work being created, Indigenous knowledge and both the written and spoken word. Join fine arts teaching faculty and graduate students at this timely interactive session to learn about some of the surprising and engaging approaches to contemporary practices.

Presenters include Gregory Scofield (Writing), Carey Newman (Visual Arts), Lauren Jerke (Theatre) and Lindsay Delaronde (Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator). Hosted and moderated by Allana Lindgren (Acting Dean, Fine Arts).

Artistic Alliances runs 4-6pm Wednesday, March 4, in ECS 116

All Lit Up

Meet the next generation of Canadian literature as Master’s of Fine Arts students from UVic’s legendary Department of Writing read (and perform) groundbreaking graduating manuscripts in fiction, poetry, screenwriting, playwriting and creative non-fiction in this lively literary cabaret.

Hosted by Writing professor Kevin Kerr, readers include MFA candidates Martin Bauman, Daniel Hogg, Ellery Lamm, Troy Sebastian / nupquʔ ak·ǂam̓ and Guochen (Chen) Wang.

All Lit Up runs 7-8pm Thursday, March 5, at the Intrepid Theatre Club, 1609 Blanshard

And while Ideafest offers over 35 events, members of the Fine Arts community may also be interested in some of these other Ideafest offerings:

UVic’s annual Ideafest runs March 2-7. UVic is accessible by sustainable travel options including transit and cycling. For those arriving by car, hourly pay parking is in effect. Evening parking is $3.50. Click here for parking info and campus maps.

Preserving Performance symposium seeks to capture “lightning in a bottle”

How does an object in a museum accurately depict its lively performance history? Consider the costume of late 19th / early 20th century Canadian Indigenous performance poet Pauline Johnson: just seeing it on display at its current home in the Museum of Vancouver tells the viewer nothing about the vibrant part it once played as part of Johnson’s live performances, which were never recorded.

Pauline Johnson’s performance dress (City of Vancouver Museum)

While artists have galleries, musicians have recordings and authors have books, theatre and performance artists and dancers have been grappling with the issue of how to accurately archive the “lightning in a bottle” of live performances for decades.

But now, UVic Theatre professor Sasha Kovacs is gathering artists, curators, performers, researchers, archivists and arts enthusiasts together in a unique two-day free public event, Preserving Performance in the Pacific Northwest, running Feb 20-21 at UVic and the Royal BC Museum.

Reanimating performance history

While Kovacs’ own research focuses on Pauline Johnson’s performance history, the Preserving Performance event hopes to highlight the vibrant performance history of the Pacific Northwest by gathering together many of the region’s leading voices in archival knowledge, performance research and artistic practice.

“It’s such an eerie thing when you see a costume that’s fundamentally about life, about action—yet you see it completely still, in a museum space,” says Kovacs, a co-investigator on the Gatherings: Archival and Oral Histories of Performance project, which is providing principle funding for this event.

“Preserving Performance is about reanimating those performance elements of the past that we’ve forgotten about as soon as they’re put in the archive. They go to the archive because we want to remember them, but it also means they’re being released to forget.”

Theatre historian Sasha Kovacs

This curated series of conversations, gatherings and discussions looks to connect museum and archive specialists with performance historians and professionals to consider the political and pragmatic challenges of archiving performances. They will also look to the future, with an eye to collaborating and building networks to ensure the rich activity of performing artists working in this region have the contacts—and appropriate methods available—to ensure that legacies are preserved.

This event highlights the vibrant performance history of the Pacific Northwest region and will gather together many of the region’s leading voices in archival knowledge, performance research, and artistic practice. Goals of the symposium include:

  • deepening knowledge related to the performance activity of the Pacific Northwest region
  • imagining best practices for the preservation of performance materials by surveying and discussing the approaches currently used by local, regional, and national performance organizations and publics, and
  • highlighting the significant role of archives in creative production by inviting some of the region’s celebrated artists to reflect on the impact of archives on their artistic process.

“For so long, theatre artists have romanticized the idea that we’re the magical art form that exists and then disappears, but now there are issues of legacy, of how people remember that work,” says Kovacs. “It makes these huge contributions, but we can’t talk about it if there’s no material.”

Changes in technology and society

“I don’t want to create arguments about which art forms get more funding or attention,” says Kovacs, “but for performance, one of the reasons we’ve had a hard time generating public understanding of how important performance has been to our cultural, political and economic development is because of the challenge of creating any sort of record of it. And even when it is held in a memory institution like a museum or archive—like Pauline Johnson’s dress—it’s lost something.”

Henry Savage’s “King Dodo”, Vancouver Opera House, 1903 (RBCM)

Yet even when performances are recorded, those recordings don’t capture the essence of a living performance, and viewing them seems hollow in comparison to the live event. And recording technology continually changes (stills, film, VHS, Beta, DVD, Blu-ray, digital), which can make watching it in the future difficult.

“Performance forces us to reframe our understanding of what the archive is as memory,” says Kovacs. “If you think of it broadly—in terms of an audience’s memory—then there is a living archive of every performance. But that’s part of a larger conversation about the space performance gets, and some resistance to the art form.”

Defining performance, describing archives

There’s also the issue of what constitutes live performance. “Is Indigenous ceremony performance? Are the materials related to the potlatch ceremony considered performance? If it is, then the RBCM has a lot of materials.”

Danette Boucher of Histrionics Theatre

Participants in the symposium include Fine Arts alumni Danette Boucher (of Barkerville’s Histrionics Theatre), Matthew Payne (Theatre SKAM) and Lindsay Delaronde (Victoria’s first Indigenous Artist in Residence), plus representatives of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, the Royal BC Museum, the Burke Museum of Natural History, UVic’s Archives and a number of Pacific Northwest universities. See the full list and register for the event here.

“Part of this is also about bringing the leaders of these museums together to say what’s in their collections that is performance-related, to develop an inventory of where performance sits in these memory institutions, and what the challenges are that theatre artists are facing with archiving their own work,” says Kovacs.

“For me, it’s about bridging these two worlds—what’s happening in these museums and archives; they’re really interested in performance, and we need a lot of help figuring out what to do with all these materials. Can there be some kind of cross-fertilization between those two fields?”