SOVEREIGN VOICES – through poetics + performance

14–15 February 2018

Conversations in Indigenous Arts

Sovereign Voices is a two-part series taking place on 14–15 February 2018 with process-based performances, poetics, and discussions centred on bringing space into dialogue with Indigenous languages, histories, and embodied, habitual acts of being. Through a responsive and conversational approach, the series asks: how can space be occupied when Indigenous peoples have the sovereign volition to shape it?

PART 1 // Sovereign Voices
Wednesday 14 February 2018
6:30–8 pm
Art & Media Lab, Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts (390 King St W)
Artists / Performers / Poets: Asinnajaq + Camille Usher + Geraldine King

Meet + Greet with the Artists
Thursday 15 February 2018
4–5:30 pm
Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, Queen’s University (146 Barrie St)

Please join us for some casual conversation over snacks and tea—a drop-in opportunity for students, faculty, staff and community members to extend discussions from Sovereign Voices and meet with the artists.

PART 2 // Sovereign Voices
Thursday 15 February 2018
6:30–8 pm
Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University (35 University Ave)
Artists / Performers / Poets: Billy-Ray Belcourt + Arielle Twist + Erica Violet Lee

Sovereign Voices is part of the Conversations in Indigenous Arts program designed and supported by the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, Dr. Dylan Robinson, with additional support from Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Art & Media Lab at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS), and Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. This series is curated and organized by Camille Usher, Sebastian De Line, Lisa C. Ravensbergen, and Carina Magazzeni.


Asinnajaq is a visual artist, curator and writer. She is co-founder of the Tillitarniit festival, a celebration of Inuit culture and voices. Curator of Channel 51: Igloolik – the retrospective of Isuma’s 30 years of video and film production – and the director of Three Thousand (2017) which recasts 100 years of archival footage from the Inuit Nunangat.

Camille Usher is a Coast Salish/Sahtu Dene/Scottish scholar, artist, and writer from Galiano Island, BC of the Pune’laxutth’ (Penelakut) Nation. She completed her MA in Art History at Concordia University where she worked to prove the impact of the performing arts in building confidence and leadership amongst Indigenous youth by learning to talk/embody discussions about safer sexual practices. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies department at Queen’s University, where she will be telling a story of Indigenous arts collectives, gangs and other groups activating public spaces through gestures both little and big. Additionally, she worked extensively with Dr. Heather Igloliorte developing the first nationally touring exhibition of Labrador Inuit art. She was also a co-founder of the Uppity NDNs, an Indigenous women’s biking collective in Montreal and continues her artistic endeavors with colleague Asinnajaq.

Geraldine King is Anishinaabe and a member of Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek located in the Robinson Superior Treaty area. Geraldine is foremost a parent whose primary goal is to create kind and gentle worlds for her two sons. As a student, Geraldine is a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies program at Queens University where she has been awarded a Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship to undertake work in the transformative power of Anishinaabe love works. Geraldine is a creative writer whose words emerge from here and the elsewhere.

Billy-Ray Belcourt is from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He is a 2016 Rhodes scholar and a PhD student in the Dept. of English & Film Studies at the University of Alberta. THIS WOUND IS A WORLD is his first book and it was selected as the best “Canadian poetry” of 2017 by CBC Books. Billy-Ray is also a community educator and has taught/is teaching creative writing at The Edmonton Remand Centre and The Learning Centre Literacy Association. A public intellectual, his essays have been published in Canadian Art, GUTS Magazine, ArtsEverywhere.ca, and Decolonization.

Arielle Twist is a writer and sex educator from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan who currently lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is a Cree, Two-Spirit, trans femme supernova writing to reclaim and harness ancestral magic and memories. Within her first year of perusing writing she has been able to attend Naked Heart the largest LGBTQ literary festival in the world, has an essay published with Them.us and is attending a residency at Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity to focus on her debut collection of poetry and essays titled Eulogy of Selves.

Erica Violet Lee is a nêhiyaw writer, Indigenous feminist, and community organizer. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto, and she blogs at moontimewarrior.com

Image Credits

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