Along the Way:
Decolonial Ecologies Playgroup

Artist JP Longboat and a playgroup of local artists, Michelle Bunton, Sebastian De Line, Sadiqa de Meijer, Shelby Lisk, Marney McDiarmid, Andrei Pora, Clelia Scala and Sheldon Traviss enter into collaboration with the rivers and lakes, and with Queen’s University Biological Station and Cultural Services, City of Kingston, to uncover Indigenous stories of the waterways.

This “playgroup” format is inspired by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World in which she proposes to shift away from professionalization and privatization in research toward more open “collaborative clusters.”

Collaborators connect with Haudenosaunee ways such as “preparing a bundle” (Longboat) when readying to go out on the land; artists and mentors steward a relational process for collective thinking-making informed by stories of the land. It draws upon Indigenous teachings of using the present season’s dynamics to prepare for the next, using up and renewing what’s in the bundles we carry.

To be guided by and in conversation with place. To come to terms with the original history of the areas at intersections of water and land. Where we are on Turtle Island. Then to practice a mindset of reciprocity with the waterways and their many living spiritual beings, a group of artists has been meeting at key sites in Kingston and the Rideau Lakes watershed to focus on land-based artistic practices and to witness the land from the perspective of First Nations and the clan animals, to hear the stories from the legacy of cultural inter-relation spanning 1,000’s of years on these waterways.

This summer (2023), the artists and partners close their circle, ending three years of seasonally timed activities with public, site-based events. These take place at No.9 Gardens and Arbour Ridge Park, Kingston.

29 July–1 October 2023
No.9 Gardens, 1516 Summers Rd., Lyndhurst, ON

2 August, 7 pm
Queen’s University Biological Station, 280 Queens University Rd, Elgin, ON

9 October, 12–1 pm
Fort Frontenac, downtown Kingston
The project is meant to contribute to our Haudenosaunee process of Truth and Reconciliation, and we would like to acknowledge the place of one of our ancestral Longhouses that once stood on these grounds adjacent to the waterway some 375 years ago. Our gesture is to symbolically celebrate our history within our traditional territories at this site of ancestral and community significance.

The playgroup is a partnership-building project with QUBS and the City of Kingston, Cultural Service and is facilitated by Sonia Nobrega, Senior Manager, QUBS, and Taylor Norris, Public Art Coordinator, City of Kingston, along with Agnes’s Curator of Contemporary Art, Sunny Kerr.
Members of the group paddle between Opinicon Lake and Hart Lake. Video stills: Andrei Pora

Members of the group paddle between Opinicon Lake and Hart Lake. Video stills: Andrei Pora

Queen’s University Biological Station logo
Logo for City of Kingston
We would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council and the Government of Ontario for their support. We are grateful to the Ontario Arts Council’s Arts Response Initiative: Project Grants for Organizational Partnerships. JP Longboat thanks the Ontario Arts Council Artist-Presenter Collaboration Projects for their support of Along the Way.
Logo: Ontario Arts Council
Government of Ontario logo

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