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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Open from Tuesday to
Sunday 12 pm → 6 pm

Admission always free
17 Jul 18·7:00 PM


Jeneen Frei Njootli, Ayumi Goto, Peter Morin, and Olivia Whetung: Resonant Presence and Refusals

A detail image of Jeneen Frei Njootli's installation work. It is a large-scale sheet of steel with some oil marks that look like a geographic map.

Jeneen Frei Njootli, I am she (detail), 2018. Photo: by Michael Love

Join us as four artists reflect together on the many shared concerns of their practices, with the discussion moderated by CAG Curator Kimberly Phillips and Vancouver Art Gallery’s Senior Curatorial Fellow of Indigenous Art, Tarah Hogue.

A collaboration between the Contemporary Art Gallery and the Vancouver Art Gallery, this event seeks to register and draw out issues of hospitality, presence and the politics of refusal on the occasion of these artists’ concurrent and upcoming exhibitions in Vancouver.


Jeneen Frei Njootli is a Vuntut Gwitchin artist who has performed and exhibited her work internationally, from galleries to rooftops, casinos, runways and the bush. She 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 was longlisted for the Sobey Art Award in 2017 and shortlisted for the same in 2018. Her work has been the focus of solo exhibitions across Canada and in New York. She has participated in the 2018 Biennale d’art contemporain autochtone (BACA) / Contemporary Native Art Biennial, and in group exhibitions in Vancouver, Toronto, Seoul, Whitehorse, North Bay, Brandon, Saskatoon, and elsewhere. Frei Njootli has collaborated in performances with James Luna, Olivia Whetung, Tsēma igharas, Krista Belle Stewart with Laura Ortman, Lyndsay Lachance, and Dana Claxton. She is currently a grateful, uninvited guest on unceded Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish territories.

Olivia Whetung is anishinaabekwe and a member of Curve Lake First Nation. She completed her BFA with a minor in anishinaabemowin at Algoma University in 2013, and her MFA at the University of British Columbia in 2016. Whetung works in various media including beadwork, printmaking and digital media. Her work explores acts of/active native presence, as well as the challenges of working with/in/through Indigenous languages in an art world dominated by the English language. Her work is informed in part by her experiences as an anishinaabemowin learner. Whetung is from the area now called the Kawarthas, and presently resides on Chemong Lake.

Ayumi Goto is a performance apprentice currently based in Toronto, traditional territories of the Anishnawbe, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, and Mississaugas of the Credit River. Born in Canada, she draws upon her Japanese heritage and language to unsettle sedimented notions of nation-building, cultural belonging and political compulsions in her creative work. She has served as the art facilitator at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver, traditional Coast Salish territory. She enjoys performing in collaboration with artists, scholars and communities writ large to explore creatively and critically reconciliation discourses and relational ethics. Most recently, she has performed public interventions in Berlin, London and Kyoto, as well as focusing on developing human-nonhuman interconnections through performances in rural and forested areas. Ayumi is currently completing her PhD in Communication Studies at Simon Fraser University. In her thesis, she explores a performatively premised conceptualization of “collective responsibility” and relationality as expressed in the practices of Cree Métis artist, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Siksika artist, Adrian Stimson and Tahltan performance artist, Peter Morin.

Peter Morin is a performance artist, curator and writer from the Tahltan Nation. In his artistic practice, along with his curatorial work, Morin investigates the impact sites that occur when Indigenous cultural-based practices and western settler colonialism collide. In 2016, Morin received the Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award for Mid-Career Artist. Morin has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions including Team Diversity Bannock, the World’s Largest Bannock attempt (2005); 12 Making Objects AKA First Nations DADA (12 Indigenous Interventions) (2009); Peter Morin’s Museum (2011); and Peter Morin’s Ceremony Experiments 1 through 8 Circle (2013). In addition to his art making and performance practice, Morin has curated exhibitions at the Museum of Anthropology, Western Front, Bill Reid Gallery, and Yukon Art Centre. Morin joined the Visual and Aboriginal Arts Faculty at Brandon University in 2014.