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Guest curator Wanda Nanibush’s touring exhibition will showcase 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.

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. Drawing on the depiction of the “imaginary Indian”—the ahistorical, pre-contact ‘primitivism’ in popular and mass culture—they recover and construct new ways of performing the complexity of Indigenous cultures for a contemporary art audience. Their work returns to the multi-levelled history of ‘Performing Indian’ to recuperate the erased and objectified performer as an ancestor, an artist, and an Indigenous subject.

Sovereign Acts is curated by Wanda Nanibush and 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.