James Luna_Ishi SpeaksThe Kelowna Art Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of a new humourous and potentially shocking exhibition this week.

Sovereign Acts showcases photography, video, and installation works by eight well known Indigenous contemporary artists: Rebecca Belmore, Lori Blondeau, Dayna Danger, Robert Houle, James Luna, Shelley Niro, Adrian Stimson, and Jeff Thomas.

In Sovereign Acts, the artists turn colonial representations on their head, showing Indigenous ideas of gender, sexuality, and culture.

Visitors will encounter a variety of works ranging from In My Room, by James Luna, a multi-media video installation of a sweat lodge ceremony; to four massive and striking photographic portraits honouring the strength of Indigenous women.

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The exhibition is curated by Wanda Nanibush, who is an Anishinaabe-kwe image and word warrior from the Beausoleil First Nation. She is currently the Curator of Indigenous Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario and lives in Toronto.

Nanibush introduces the exhibition by saying, “the history of Indigenous Peoples performing cultural dances and practices for international and colonial audiences is an important part of Indigenous art, generally, and performance art, specifically. From the early contact years onwards, the Indigenous performers known as ‘Indians’ faced the conundrum of maintaining traditional cultural practices by performing them on stage while also having that performance fulfill the desires of a colonial imaginary. The exhibition seeks to highlight the artists’ works as performative ‘acts’ that negotiate expectations as much as represent culture and identity.”

Sovereign Acts is organized and circulated by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto with the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. The exhibition runs from November 30, 2019 until February 17, 2020, at the Kelowna Art Gallery.

An opening reception to celebrate the exhibition will be held on Friday, November 29, 2019, from 6 to 8 pm. Curator Wanda Nanibush will be in attendance and will offer an exhibition tour at 6 pm.

The Kelowna Art Gallery is located at 1315 Water Street in downtown Kelowna. For more information about current exhibitions, public programming or special events, please visit the Kelowna Art Gallery online at www.kelownaartgallery.com or call 250-762-2226.

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