Reading the Talk

Keesic Douglas, Trade Language (detail), 2013, photographs on fibre paper, 50 x 60 cm each of 28, 2 x 2.4 metres installed. Image courtesy of the artist.
Melissa General, Satahónhsatat, 2014, video, 3 min 40 sec
Opening reception for Reading the Talk, MacLaren Art Centre, 2015. Photo by Andre Beneteau
Reading the Talk, installation view. MacLaren Art Centre, 2015-16. Photo by Andre Beneteau
December 3, 2015 - March 6, 2016

Reading the Talk
Michael Belmore, Hannah Claus, Patricia Deadman, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Keesic Douglas and Melissa General
December 3, 2015 to March 6, 2016
Gallery 3 and Janice Laking Gallery
Reception: December 3, 7 to 9 pm
Curators: Rachelle Dickenson and Lisa Myers
Curatorial Talk: Friday, December 4, 10:30 am, Campus Gallery, Georgian College. Admission free
Organized and circulated by the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa

Reading the Talk brings together work by contemporary First Nations artists who critically examine relationships to land, region and territory. Through a variety of practices, including video, sculpture, installation and photography, artists Michael Belmore, Hannah Claus, Patricia Deadman, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Keesic Douglas and Melissa General consider distinct indigenous perspectives on the history of treaties in the land now referred to as Canada. Inspired by the historical Dish with One Spoon Treaty, guest curators Rachelle Dickenson and Lisa Myers invited each artist to consider the effects of this specific treaty as well as the function of wampum beads as mnemonic devices used by leaders to “read the talk” of agreements between nations. Drawing from this rich history, Reading the Talk raises questions of land use and value, and elucidates the continuing role of both treaties and the wampum for Indigenous peoples. Reading the Talk is accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays by curators Dickenson and Myers.

Rachelle Dickenson (British/Irish/Cree Metis) is a curator, arts administrator and educator based in Ottawa. She currently works at the National Gallery of Canada as Curatorial Assistant in Indigenous Art and is a board member of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and SAW Gallery. Lisa Myers is of Anishnaabe ancestry from Beausoleil First Nation and the Georgian Bay region. She works as an independent curator and artist and has a MFA in Criticism and Curatorial practice from OCAD University. She has curated exhibitions for the Harbourfront Centre, Gallery 44 and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. She lives and works in Toronto and Port Severn, Ontario.

To read the exhibition review by Murray Whyte of the Toronto Star, see the attached document below.

Related Winter Events

Wampum: Reading the Talk with Brian Charles
Monday, February 15, 2:30 to 4:00 pm
Carnegie Room
Admission Free
Brian Charles has been working collaboratively with a small group of knowledge keepers to redevelop an archive and physical repository of wampum belts related to Ojibway history. Using replica wampum belts in this special presentation, he will illuminate a path that not only interconnects the nations and histories of First Peoples in the Eastern Woodland, but also of settler societies in Canada. This event is presented in conjunction with Reading the Talk for Family Day. To learn more, click here.

Special Youth Workshop with Exhibiting Artist Melissa General
Wednesday, January 27, 3 to 5 pm
Rotary Education Centre
Admission free
Youth ages 14 to 18 years of age are invited to join Aboriginal artist Melissa General whose artwork is on view in Reading the Talk in a special digital workshop. Working collaboratively, participants will share favourite childhood memories to create unique photographs exploring personal narrative and the self-portrait. Outcomes from the workshop will be shared in a group exhibition in the Rotary Education Centre from February 6 to 28, entitled Narrative and Community. To learn more, click here.

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