Quinn Hopkins, Star Miigizi, 2022
Mmaandaawaabi (see a wondrous sight)
20 August–12 November 2023
Curated by Dolleen Tisawii'ashii Manning and
Aylan Couchie in collaboration with Nasrin Himada

Digital and land-based work seem to inhabit separate domains, yet they are combined in Augmented Reality (AR), a form of mixed reality that overlays digital objects on physical space through the window of a phone or tablet. This presents exciting possibilities for Indigenous artists interested in decolonizing territories through immersive stories, and who wish to mobilize interactive and engaging land-based learning and language revitalization in their artwork. Mmaandaawaabi (see a wondrous sight) features the work of Preston Buffalo, Dallas Flett-Wapash, Quinn Hopkins and Casey Koyczan, four Indigenous artists whose digital practice reflects upon and engages with Indigenous worldviews and epistemologies through new media and AR technology. Through their work, and your phone, the artists invite you into their sculpturally immersive worlds to view and engage with artworks reflecting an Indigenous perspective on land, language, cosmology and contemporary realities.

This exhibition kicks off a week-long experimental Indigenous AR gathering. Structured by principles of Anishinaabe pedagogy, the gathering centres on non-hierarchical interconnectivity and methods such as intergenerational mentorship, oral traditions, embodied knowing and land-based pedagogy. Upon completion of the gathering, works created by participating artists will be added to this exhibition.

Sponsors: SSHRC Connection Grant, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Peripheral Visions Co-Lab (York University and Queen’s University), the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization (EDII) at Queen’s University.
Hero image: Quinn Hopkins, Star Miigizi, 2022. Courtesy of the artist
Preston Buffalo

Preston Buffalo, a Two-Spirited Cree artist hailing from Treaty 6 Territory, currently resides in the unceded Coast Salish Territories of British Columbia. Through his interdisciplinary practice, he delves into the realm of personal Indigenous iconography and symbolism, employing photography, alternative photo processes, and digital illustration. Informed by the struggles faced by Indigenous communities, Preston’s work explores themes such as mental health, cultural and linguistic loss resulting from displacement, the devastating impact of the residential school system, and the ongoing process of assimilation. His overarching goal is to create visual expressions that challenge and redefine prevailing notions of Indigenous art, highlighting its profound significance in contemporary society, while shedding light on how his creative output contributes to this ongoing dialogue.

Dallas Flett-Wapash

Dallas Flett-Wapash is an Ininew/Seaulteax digital artist working with video game design, expanded reality, and other interactive technologies. His practice is an ongoing digital reconstruction of his cultural identity – including cosmology, culture, language, and lifestyle – using video game aesthetics. Raised primarily by Swampy Cree Matriarchs in the educational sector, the sharing of practical and technical knowledge is one of the key elements of his Arts career. He has taught digital arts workshops for many arts and educational organizations.

Recent exhibitions include Aftereffects: Emerging New Media Artists in Winnipeg at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown PEI, Azimuth Nitehi at VideoPool in Winnipeg MB, and DAiR v1: Video Games by Artists at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina SK.

Quinn Hopkins

Quinn Hopkins, born in 1998 and also known by their Anishinaabe name Nigaan Noodin or Speaks to the Wind, is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist and the creative force behind Noodin Studio. Quinn’s artistic vision is rooted in their Anishinaabe, Metis, and European heritage, with strong ties to the Batchewana First Nations in Bawating (Sault Ste. Marie). Their art practice seeks to revitalize Indigenous culture for future generations and foster a deeper spiritual connection to their ancestors.

Quinn’s work embodies a vibrant fusion of digital world-building, Indigenous futurism, and contemporary issues, often characterized by its colorful and optimistic aesthetic. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Norval Morrisseau, Daphne Odjig, Carl Beam, Andy Warhol, Basquiat, and Jeff Koons, Quinn’s style is as unique as it is captivating. Fearless in their experimentation with new tools and mediums, Quinn has ventured into augmented reality art, virtual reality art, and non-fungible token art in recent years, garnering national attention from media outlets such as CBC The National, Breakfast Television, and CBC Indigenous. Through their art, Quinn aims to emphasize the importance of land-based education and Indigenous knowledge, while envisioning an affluent future for Anishinaabe and other Indigenous peoples.

Quinn has showcased their work in numerous exhibitions, such as Ice Follies in North Bay, Woodland Pop! at Thunder Bay Art Gallery, the BACA in Montreal, and Luminato Festival in Toronto. As a student at OCAD University, Quinn harnessed the power of their art to inspire action, advocating for Indigenous sovereignty, decolonization, and a more equitable space for Indigenous artists in NFT spaces. By creating welcoming spaces that dismantle colonial barriers, Quinn’s work offers an optimistic and enlightening perspective on the world we inhabit.

Casey Koyczan

To create with unrestricted freedom. To make the unrealistic a reality. To imagine environments unbound by the laws of physics. To imagine our people and stories within future generations.

Casey Koyczan is a Dene interdisciplinary artist from Yellowknife, NT, that uses various mediums to communicate how culture and technology can grow together in order for us to develop a better understanding of who we are, where we come from, and what we will be in the future. He creates with whatever tools necessary to bring an idea to fruition, and works mostly in sculpture, installation, 3D/VR/AR/360, video, and audio works such as music, soundscapes and film scores.

He is an international artist that has participated in many residencies, exhibits, festivals and collaborations in parts of the world such as Finland, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, The Netherlands, The USA, and the UK. He is also a musician, producer, filmmaker, actor/narrator, and advocate for future generations of artists and musicians.

He has a Multimedia Production diploma from Lethbridge College, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Thompson Rivers University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Manitoba.

Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning

Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning is a member of Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation and an interdisciplinary artist and scholar, residing in Kingston, ON. She is a Queen’s National Scholar in Anishinaabe Language, Knowledge and Culture (ALKC), Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Queen’s University. She points to her early childhood grounding in her mother’s cultural lessons as her primary source of philosophical and creative work which remain infinitely interwoven for her. Manning has wide-ranging interests in Anishinaabe ontology, critical theory, phenomenology, and art, investigating questions of Indigenous imaging practices, mnidoo interrelationality, epistemological sovereignty, and the debilitating impact of settler colonial logics.

Aylan Couchie

Aylan Couchie (she/her) is a Nishnaabekwe interdisciplinary artist, curator and writer hailing from Nipissing First Nation. She is a NSCAD University alumna achieving a BFA in sculpture and installation. She received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design at OCAD University where she focused her thesis on reconciliation and its relationship to monument and public art. She’s currently in her third year of study at Queen’s University where she’s working on her PhD in the Cultural Studies program researching areas of land+language+Indigenous placemaking through mapping, naming and public art. Her research-based practice explores the intersections of colonial/First Nations histories of place, culture and Indigenous erasure as well as issues of (mis)representation and cultural appropriation. She’s been the recipient of several awards including an “Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture” award through the International Sculpture Centre and a Premier’s Award through Ontario Colleges. Most recently, she was chosen by Queen’s University as their nominee for the 2023 SSHRC Talent Award. She served as Chair of Native Women in the Arts until 2020 and lives and works from her home community of Nipissing First Nation in Northern Ontario.

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