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Vanessa Dion Fletcher
Artists-in-Residence
18 September–18 October 2019

Agnes Etherington Art Centre in collaboration with the Queen’s Department of Gender Studies through Dr Karen Lawford brought acclaimed multidisciplinary artist Vanessa Dion Fletcher to Queen’s University as a Visiting Artist-in-Residence in Fall 2019.

The Inside Voices Residency was designed to support Dion Fletcher with an extended presence on Queen’s University campus to activate her work within the group exhibition (27 April–1 December 2019). The exhibition was guest curated by Erin Sutherland and Carina Magazzeni under the curatorial premise to expand the possibilities of sexual sociality. The exhibition brings sex to the table to encourage open and raw conversations about our relationships to our own and each other’s bodies.

Vanessa Dion Fletcher introduces her work in the exhibition Let’s Talk About Sex, bb.

A tour of Let’s Talk About Sex, bb led by Dion Fletcher with Dr Lawford’s GNDS 380 Decolonizing Sexuality and Gender class.

The Inside Voices Residency built relationships across academic and creative communities through a series of programs including a workshop, artist talk and lecture. These programs located Dion Fletcher’s art in relation to wider conversations about language, fluency and understanding centred in the body and reproductive health.

Dion Fletcher has a broad practice incorporating performance, video and textiles. She often employs porcupine quills, Wampum belts and menstrual blood to reveal the complexities of what defines a body physically and culturally. Living as a person with a learning disability, Dion Fletcher reflects on her Indigenous feminist body with a neurodiverse mind to create art using composite media. She looks for knowledge embedded in materials and techniques to offer a reprieve from colonialism and ableism of the English language. Her interest in communication comes from her lack of access to her Indigenous languages (Potawatomi and Lenape) and as a person living with a learning disability caused by issues with short-term memory. Honouring that the body and mind are not separate, she addresses the socio-political representations and implications of menstruation, reproduction and the body.

Open Workshop with Vanessa Dion Fletcher in the André Biéler Studio.

Open Workshop with Vanessa Dion Fletcher in the André Biéler Studio.

Agnes and Dr Lawford designed the residency to build relationships via discussants responding to and with Dion Fletcher’s practice. Discussants include guest curators of Let’s Talk About Sex, bb, Carina Magazzeni and Erin Sutherland, multiple speakers as part of the Healthy Sexual Conversations youth symposium and fellow Let’s Talk About Sex, bb artist, Anique Jordan, who worked directly with community group, Roots & Wings. Additional programming included a Feast with Vanessa Dion Fletcher at Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre and a tour of Let’s Talk About Sex, bb led by Dion Fletcher with Dr Lawford’s GNDS 380 Decolonizing Sexuality and Gender class.

Vanessa Dion Fletcher led a workshop as part of the Healthy Sexual Conversations youth symposium.

Vanessa Dion Fletcher led a workshop as part of the Healthy Sexual Conversations youth symposium.

Artist biography

Vanessa Dion Fletcher is a Potawatomi and Lenape Two-Spirit artist who looks to her ancestry to inspire her practice. She is a graduate from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an MFA in performance and has exhibited across Canada and the US, at Art Mûr in Montreal, Eastern Edge Gallery Newfoundland, The Queer Arts Festival Vancouver and Satellite Art Show Miami. Her work is held in collections at the Indigenous Art Centre in Gatineau, Quebec, Joan Flasch Artist Book Collection and Seneca College.

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Agnes reopened on Tuesday 7 July. Welcome back! Learn more.