Joi T. Arcand
she used to want to be a ballerina
May 24–August 17, 2019
College Art Gallery 2, Peter MacKinnon Building,
107 Administration Pl.
Leah Taylor, Curator
Friday, May 24 at 7:00 pm
Friday, May 24 at 7:30 pm
Joi T. Arcand creates transformative conversations around Indigenous language revitalization by inserting nēhiyawēwin (Plains Cree) language and imagery into public spaces. In doing so, she interrogates the “interruption of intergenerational language-learning, as a result of the residential school system and other colonial attempts to remove Indigenous culture, that have created serious barriers for access to language for subsequent generations.” she used to want to be a ballerina was inspired by the song of the same title by musician Buffy Saint-Marie. Arcand re-interprets and translates this song and song title into Cree, reflecting on her own personal short-lived experience Powwow dancing in her youth, and her long lost dream of wanting to be a ballerina.
Arcand moves seamlessly through media, including neon sculpture, photographic light boxes and zines, in order to make visible and celebrate Indigenous cultures, while pointedly challenging the way we privilege language. Within the gallery space the neon artworks transcend their literal meaning by speaking visually, making the works accessible beyond their inherent language.
About the Artist
Joi T. Arcand is an artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in central Saskatchewan (Treaty 6 Territory), currently based in Ottawa, Ontario. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2005, and has exhibited across Canada, the United States and Europe. In 2006, along with Felicia Gay, she co-founded the The Red Shift Gallery, a contemporary Indigenous art gallery in Saskatoon. In 2012, she combined art, design and publishing to create kimiwan ‘zine, a magazine for Indigenous artists and writers.