Shushkitew means Ablaze in Michif, to reference a sacred flame, the East where ceremony begins and a fire in motion.
Shushkitew Collective formed in 2020 with the goal of advancing Métis self-determination and flourishing in the arts through forms of gathering, knowledge sharing, research and advocacy. We have come together as artists, curators, writers, and educators to address the systemic inequities that have led to the underrepresentation and misunderstanding of Métis art and culture within the Canadian art system. We aim to build capacity for our artists and cultural workers, and to support intergenerational dialogue and learning toward engendering Métis futurity.
The founding members of Shushkitew Collective are Jason Baerg, Rhéanne Chartrand, Tarah Hogue, Jaime Morse and Dr. Michelle McGeough.
Manâwewin, a Michif word that translates to “to hunt, to gather eggs,” is the name of Shuskitew Collective’s three-year initiative (2021–23). This initiative is intended to lay a groundwork of collective knowledge and understanding that will inform the advocacy and actions of Shushkitew into the future. We engage with the concept of manâwewin to speak to the precious resources we need to sustain our bodies, our communities and our creative spirit. For the Shushkitew Collective, manâwewin entwines the land, cultural knowledge and artistic practices together. The initiative activates the community across a series of three gatherings held in Winnipeg (Spring 2022), Saskatoon (Fall 2022), and Ottawa (2023). These are being developed by core visionaries and guided by an advisory of cultural and artistic knowledge keepers connected to each region where the gatherings occur. The gatherings will focus on knowledge exchange and identifying the needs of Métis artists and cultural professionals while working towards engaging vibrant self-determined futures. The research project outlined below is a critical component of Manâwewin. An online platform will disseminate the knowledge learned and shared at the gatherings along with the results of the research undertaken.
Jason Baerg is a registered member of the Métis Nations of Ontario and serves his community as an Indigenous curator, educator, and visual artist. Recent curatorial projects include exhibitions with Toronto’s Nuit Blanche and The University of Toronto. Baerg graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts from Rutgers University. He currently is teaching as the Assistant Professor in Indigenous Practices in Contemporary Painting and Media Art at OCAD University. Dedicated to community development, he founded and incorporated the Metis Artist Collective and has served as volunteer Chair for such organizations as the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition. Creatively, as a visual artist, he pushes new boundaries in digital interventions in drawing, painting and new media installation. Recent international solo exhibitions include the Luminato Festival in Toronto, Canada, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and the Digital Dome at the Institute of the American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Baerg has adjudicated numerous art juries and won awards through such facilitators as the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and The Toronto Arts Council. For more information about his practice, please visit jasonbaerg.info.
Rhéanne Chartrand is the Curator of Indigenous Art at McMaster Museum of Art. She holds a master’s degree in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. A Métis curator and creative producer based in Hamilton and Toronto, Chartrand has curated interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary exhibitions, showcases, and festivals for venues and organizations such as the City of Toronto, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Harbourfront Centre, OCAD University, the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Aboriginal Pavilion at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. Her curatorial work focuses on the praxis of survivance, Indigenous epistemes, relational aesthetics, representational politics, and gratitude.
Tarah Hogue is a Curator (Indigenous Art) at Remai Modern. A citizen of the Métis Nation with settler ancestry, Hogue was raised on the border between Treaty 6 and 7 territories in Red Deer, Alberta. Her recent exhibitions include Storied Objects: Métis art in Relation (2022) with exhibition advisor Sherry Farrell Racette, Adrian Stimson: Maanipokaa’iini (2021), and An apology, a pill, a ritual, a resistance (2021), co-curated with Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh. Previously, she held positions at the Vancouver Art Gallery, grunt gallery, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. In 2019, Hogue received the Hnatyshyn Foundation – TD Bank Group Award for Emerging Curator of Contemporary Canadian Art. She has authored catalogue essays for artists such as Maureen Gruben, Tania Willard, Henry Tsang, and Jin-me Yoon, and her writing has been published in C Magazine, Canadian Art, The Capilano Review and elsewhere. Hogue is co-chair of the Indigenous Curatorial Collective’s board of directors and is a co-founder of Shushkitew Collective.
Jaime Morse (formerly Koebel) is Nehiyaw/Michif (Cree/Métis) from Lac La Biche, AB and has lived in Ottawa since 2000. She is an Indigenous arts activator, activating stories and teachings of social, political and cultural matters through Indigenous arts and culture at the National Gallery of Canada. As an artist her practice includes carrying on traditions of fish scale art, using porcupine quills/hair and caribou/moose hair. Morse also practices Métis beadwork which includes land mapping and storytelling and her drawings reflect floral imagery based on traditional Indigenous knowledge.
Michelle McGeough (Métis) is an Indigenous art historian, artist, and curator. She received her MA from Carleton University and her PhD from the University of New Mexico. McGeough’s research interests have focused on contemporary and historical Indigenous cultural production and Indigenous non-binary identities. This has included an examination of an Indigenous understanding of the erotic through the paintings of Norval Morrisseau. Her essay “Norval Morrisseau and the Erotic” was published in Drew Hayden Taylor’s anthology Me Sexy. McGeough is also interested in the application of Indigenous research methodologies and the incorporation of these ways of knowing into the curation of Indigenous material culture and art. McGeough curated the exhibition and wrote the catalogue for Through Their Eyes: Indian Painting in Santa Fe, 1918–1945 . Prior to her appointment to UBC, she taught museum studies at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Shushkitew Advisory Council
Deb St. Amant
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