Offsite at the Aboriginal Friendship Centre, 1607 East Hastings St
Join us to celebrate the launch of Jeneen Frei Njootli’s first monographic publication, which features commissioned texts by renowned Sto:lo writer Lee Maracle, Vuntut Gwitchin spoken word poet Nagoohiindaak / Melissa Frost and celebrated Cree poet Billy-Ray Belcourt, winner of the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize. This book was produced in tandem with Frei Njootli’s recent solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery.
At this event, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language and culture advocate Salia Joseph will share a welcome, and Nagoohiindaak / Melissa Frost will perform the hauntingly beautiful Ehdii, her contribution to the book, along with other recent spoken word poems. Frei Njootli and Frost will share a caribou stew they have made together, and bannock will be provided by the Aboriginal Friendship Centre.
The first 40 copies of the publication will include a special limited-edition artist intervention.
This publication has been made possible through the generous support of the Audain Foundation, Jane Irwin and Ross Hill, Art Gallery of Burlington, Macaulay & Co. Fine Art and Nada Vuksic.
Jeneen Frei Njootli is a Vuntut Gwitchin artist who works across numerous media and modes, including performance, sound, installation, fashion, and with community, and is a co-creator of the ReMatriate Collective. Frei Njootli holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2012) and an MFA from the University of British Columbia (2017). In 2016 she was one of three recipients of the William & Meredith Saunderson Prize for Emerging Canadian Artists from the Hnatyshyn Foundation. She is shortlisted for the 2018 Sobey Art Award. Frei Njootli’s work has been the focus of numerous solo exhibitions at Fierman Gallery (NYC), Artspace (Peterborough), and Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge), among others. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including the 2018 Biennale d’art contemporain autochtone (BACA) / Contemporary Native Art Biennial 2018 Contemporary Indigenous Art Biennial, and has collaborated with James Luna, Olivia Whetung, Tsēma Igharas, Krista Belle Stewart with Laura Ortman, Lindsay Lachance, Dana Claxton, Angela Code, Tania Willard, Gabrielle l’Hirondelle Hill and Chandra Melting Tallow. She is currently a grateful, uninvited guest on unceded Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Skwxwu7mesh territories.
Nagoohiindaak / Melissa Frost is the daughter of Shirlee Frost, granddaughter of Alice Frost, and great-granddaughter of Joanne Njootli. She comes from Wolf clan/Chʼichyàa from the Vuntut Gwichin First Nation of Old Crow, Yukon. Frost is an aunty and a cousin who works for mother earth and our future generations. She has forged a career out of her passion for the arts and community work with youth. Frost tries to channel traditional teachings and positive, hopeful messages when writing or performing her spoken word poetry.
Salia Joseph is from the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Snuneymuxw First Nations on her father’s side and is British and Jewish on her mothers. In 2016 she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in First Nations and Indigenous studies from the University of British Columbia. Joseph recently completed a year long, full time immersion Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim language program at Simon Fraser University. Joseph is proud about where she comes from as a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh woman and is dedicated to learning from and contributing to her community.