What: Shi kéé
Who: Exhibition featuring Indigenous youth and young adults, curated by Maura Tamez
When: May 10-June 17, 2021
Where: Galleria, Rotary Centre for the Arts, 421 Cawston Ave
Shi kéé, curated by Maura Tamez, currently showing in the Kelowna RCA’s galleria is an exhibition of emerging Indigenous youth artists presented by the UBC Okanagan Indigenous Art Intensive and the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Curator Tamez has selected works that range from painting, collage, textiles, digital media, and current traditional practices.
The exhibition focuses on Indigenous youth and young adults and draws on themes of Indigenous ingenuity, entrepreneurship, creative arts, and traditional practices. Including a close look at regalia, adornment, and contemporary arts within the exhibition.
Shi kéé is mounted alongside Being Out On the Land: Feeds, Streams and Captures in the mobile IArt Gallery outside of the RCA.
From the Curator
The exhibition title,“Shi kéé (“my family relatives”, Jicarilla & Plains Apache), honours the kinship between communities that I am a part of and that hold me as well. As a guest on Sqilxw Syilx territory for the past 11 years I have grown close to the community and have developed relationships with Sqilxw Syilx peoples as well as urban Indigenous peoples in Kelowna, Vernon, and Hope. I specifically selected work that represents who and what I witness, uplift and strengthen in kinship relationship building where I live in the N’sis’ooloxw creek community. I am inspired by what Indigenous youth are doing right now. Their everyday making and being process inspires me, and I want to share this with a broader audience to inspire us at a time when we most need to feel hope for our future and the Earth. By bringing these works together in conversation with each other, I also extend these makings and the conversations into the Galleria at the Rotary Centre for the Arts.
As a Ndé (Lipan Apache) person, I am proud to use Dene language in my everyday life, and through art I practice language revitalization, reconnecting my ancestors’ deep footprints in the Okanagan valley with my family’s present-day reconnection in the physical, kinship, reciprocity exchanges that informed the nkaiyé (long walking journeys) of ancestral Ndé/Plains Apaches (Lipan, Jicarilla).
This exhibit honours those matrilineal roots–of Sqilxw of Nk’maplqs, and Ndé Kónitsąąíígokíyaa peoples who originally trekked from northern Dene communities around Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake, (from what is today northern Alberta and Saskatchewan), to the southern Plains in Texas, and in that journey have visited Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. This show honors my deep respect for traditional Sqilxw Syilx matrilineal knowledge keepers who’ve taught ancestral oral histories about my family’s ancestral kinship connections to place and belonging through the migrations of Dene peoples who became immersed within the broader Salishan world.
About the Artists and Works
Yilmíxʷm, Florence Fred
Way̓! incá kn̓ Yilmíxʷm. isn̓sámaʔskʷist Florence Fred.
Hello, my sqilxʷ name is Yilmíxʷm, my sáma name is Florence Fred. My dad is Syilx and my mom is Shushwap, I am a member of the Okanagan Nation. I work with mixed media and do a variety of traditional crafts and art, spanning from cedar bark to buckskin and tipis. I love to learn new things and share my work with the people. Being an advanced seamstress as well as a crafter allows me to express myself in a variety of creative and unique ways, these shine in my ribbon skirts and hand sewn buckskin jackets, moccasins and vests. I am on a journey right now in reclaiming my language and picking up all the traditional knowledge along the way. My parents are a huge cultural inspiration for me and for that I thank them from the bottom of my spʔús. Limləmt
Ashleigh Giffen is a 23 year old Oji-Cree artist. She is a multi-disciplinary artist exploring dream state, realm travel, and fragmented histories through lenses of critical Indigeneity and discouraging genre. Her first play, Kamwatan Nipe (Quiet Water) held its first reading at the Arts Club theatre company, and she is currently in the process of a full length commission at the Arts Club writing its duo project. She was the 2nd place winner of the 2019 Canadian Arts and Stories writing contest, as well as the 2019 Writing in the Margins poetry winner in Briarpatch magazine. She also is the 2nd place winner in the 2020 Room magazine poetry contest. The stop motion film, Pesowan, created in collaboration with Maura Tamez, was featured in the Lake Country Art Gallery for two exhibits this last summer season and was also featured at the Kelowna Art Gallery.
Latsistaw^lye Logan John
Latsistaw^lye Logan John is eight years old and an Onyote’aka and Sto:lo digital media artist who enjoys creating on Minecraft and Doodle Art Applications. He created this series of works titled Nether Stars independently from his imagination with the intent to be creative and have fun.
In Logan’s work the structure is inspired by its core the “Nether Star” and is one of the most challenging materials to get in Minecraft. For these works the main idea is the Nether which is basically a different dimension that seems like its sole purpose is to burn everything in its path. In order to get a Nether Star you have to summon a slay a wither. Summoning a Wither requires four blocks of soul sand and 3 wither skulls. Once you have all of the ingredients you place the three wither skulls on top of the soul sand that is shaped like a “T”. A Wither will spawn and start spinning to fill its health. Slaying a Wither takes a large amount of time, you legit need full diamond gear. Other materials used in these works includes netherack, obsidian, flint, steel, fires, glass, glowstone and blazes.
Hello my name is Janjanwanbedaka Louis. I am Okanagan/Blackfoot and a member of the Okanagan Indian Band. During early Covid I started making head roaches and since then I have improved my work and sent roaches to many places across Canada and the United States. What inspires me most is the endless combinations and possibilities, friends and connections I make, and hopefully being able to go to a pow wow and seeing someone dance with what I made.
Way. My name is Coralee Miller. I am an Okanagan/ syilx woman and a member of the Westbank First Nation. I am of mixed heritage but grew up surrounded by my Okanagan family and community within the IR#9 reserve. I love to paint, draw and sculpt and have completed my BFA at UBCO.
I am most inspired by our oral stories and the way in which they carry in them the moral lessons and values that are still incredibly relevant today. I use art as a way of having that conversation of culture and self-identity and where I fit in amongst it all.
About Maura Tamez, Curator
Maura Tamez is an enrolled member of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas (of the broader Dene peoples in Canada, U.S., Mexico). Maura currently lives in the unceded Okanagan territory of the Syilx peoples. She lives with her family on the Okanagan Indian Band #1 reserve near Vernon, BC amongst the Sqilxw families of Nsis’soolwx (Dry Creek). Currently, she is in her fourth year of the BFA program (graduating 2022), majoring in Visual Arts, at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan campus. Tamez has exhibited work at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, Lake Country Art Gallery, OKT Law Offices in Toronto, and the Terrain Gallery in Spokane, Washington. She actively works to strengthen her practice in interdisciplinary work and her art draws on personal themes of belonging, identity, place, borders, displacement, loss and history. Tamez is a recipient of the 2020 Indigenous Arts Scholarship offered by First Peoples Cultural Council and the British Columbia Arts Council.