Curatorial statement by Darcie “Ouiyaghasiak” Bernhardt, Leanne Inuarak-Dall, Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé, Heather Von Steinhagen
TETHER – is a featured visual art exhibition of the 2022 Arctic Arts Summit— of more than fifty artworks by Northern Indigenous artists whose works display the complex and inseparable bonds across diverse lands, waters, nations and peoples. The four-person team of emerging curators are Leanne Inuarak-Dall, Darcie “Ouiyaghasiak” Bernhardt, Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé and Heather Steinhagen.
TETHER is a gathering of artworks by northern Indigenous artists whose practices integrate the complex and inseparable bonds we, as Indigenous peoples of the Circumpolar Arctic/Subarctic, have with one another and to the lands, waters and skies. Northern Indigenous peoples share connections through intersecting lineages of traditions, histories and creative innovations. What does it mean to be from the North? Through our intersectional and interwoven understandings, we have come to the conclusion that there are meaningful threads between regions and communities across the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Inuit Nunangat. The exhibiting artists use their work as a tool of sovereignty and a way to connect us to the past, present and future. In TETHER, we web together artworks and artists, traversing across time and space, that offer us moments of reflection and kinship. TETHER celebrates the knowledge of tools, wisdom, and stories within the artwork and the land that nurtured and carried— and continues to carry—each of these artists and our shared practices and knowledge, forward.
TETHER highlights our secured connection to place, where our spirits and the sacred remain ever-changing and fluid. TETHER reminds us of the tension and flexibility encompassed within the sense of northern Indigeneity. In TETHER we include both living and ancestor artists, celebrating the artists of the past while also following those threads into the future.
In bringing together both historical and contemporary works from seven collections of national significance, as well as the opportunity to commission artists working in both customary and digital media, we carefully curated works that reflect the breadth and richness of culture in the North. We transform the Yukon Arts Centre gallery space into an embodiment of our hearts, homes and subtle comforts. TETHER is a visual representation of our communities and cultures. As northern Indigenous peoples ourselves, it is important to illustrate what makes us, us. No matter where we are in the world, we are all tethered to our sense of place.
This exhibition runs until August 26, 2022
Arctic Arts Summit Co-presenting Partner: Yukon Arts Centre
The Yukon Arts Centre (YAC) is a vibrant, inclusive, creative space for artists and audiences. As one of Canada’s most unique and impactful arts organizations, YAC builds bridges and opportunity for diverse Northern artists to produce and present work in all disciplines for both local and visiting audiences, to help artists
disseminate their work and invest in their practice, and to promote and share their stories with the territory, the country, and the world. The Yukon Arts Centre
is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2022.
Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre opening
“Kwä̀nńthàt: Great Distance”- an Exhibition of Yukon First Nations Arts Through Time.
Running from June 21st , 2022 (with a soft opening on National Indigenous Peoples Day), *full opening on June 24th.
The show will run until Sept 16th, 2022.
The TETHER Curators
Darcie “Ouiyaghasiak” Bernhardt is an Inuvialuk/Gwichin artist from Tuktuyaaqtuuq, NT and alumna of NSCADU in 2019 (BFA). Raised in Tuktuyaaqtuuq where the ocean’s harsh winds carve into the Western Arctic landscape, Bernhardt has a special bond created from this ecosystem to their family and sense of place. Their practice has primarily focused on the narrative of domestic life in the North stemming from memories of home. Their first solo painting show, titled Akisuktuaq, was shown at Feheley Fine Art gallery in June 2021. Their group exhibition, called Family Patterns, alongside Letitia Fraser was on view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia until February 2022. Bernhardt’s work was installed at Nuit Blanche (Montreal, 2019) as a part of GLAM Collective’s Memory Keepers I residency, and they were the curatorial assistant for Memory Keepers II at Art in the Open.
Leanne Inuarak-Dall is an emerging Inuk and settler multidisciplinary artist, writer and curator based on the unceded Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver, BC). Through collage, textiles, beadwork and sculpture, her work seeks to articulate the stories embedded in materials and her experience as an urban Inuk raised in the South. Her work has been featured in UofTMed Magazine, along with audio contributions to Nagvaaqtavut | What We Found for WAG-Qaumajuq. She is currently completing her studies in Fine Arts at Langara College and works as a contributing editor for the Inuit Art Quarterly.
Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé, affectionately known as Ddhälh kit Nelnah, is a proud Niisüü member of White River First Nation (Beaver Creek, Yukon and Alaska). She is an Upper Tanana and mixed heritage visual artist, emerging curator and Master of Fine Arts student at Concordia University in Studio Arts. Her visual arts practice is invested in the awakening of sleeping materials and the (re)animation of found objects. Her curatorial practice focuses on filling gaps and writing new narratives that highlight the importance of representation and visibility of Northern Indigenous peoples. She was the curator of We Are Our Language (2019), Emerging North (2020), and co-curator for Elemental Transformations (2021). Teresa currently sits on the board of the Indigenous Curatorial Collective/Collectif des commissaires autochtones.
Homegrown from Whitehorse, Yukon, Heather Steinhagen is an “artist of sorts” with Cowessess First Nation (mother) and German roots (father, 2nd gen. Canadian). Heather’s passion for supporting creative innovation and community-building drives her career and art practice. She exhibits regularly and is often working on challenging and creative projects such as Indigenize Wikipedia (2018) and participating in talks like Becoming a Working Artist (2021). Heather has collected a Visual Arts Diploma (Vancouver Island University, 2014) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, focusing on Community-based Arts Education (Concordia, 2017). Heather has worked as an Arts Administrator for the Yukon Arts Centre (2015 & 2018), Government of Yukon Tourism and Culture (2017), is the former Executive Director of the Yukon Arts Society (2020) and is the current Craft Content Developer at the Canadian Crafts Federation.