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Claiming Space: Voices of Urban Aboriginal Youth

June 1, 2014 - January 4, 2015
O'Brian Gallery, MOA

Claiming Space: Voices of Urban Aboriginal Youth looks at the diverse ways urban Aboriginal youth are asserting their identity and affirming their relationship to both urban spaces and ancestral territories. Unfiltered and unapologetic, over 20 young artists from across Canada, the US, and around the world define what it really means to be an urban Aboriginal youth today. In doing so they challenge centuries of stereotyping and assimilation policies. This exhibit will leave visitors with the understanding that today's urban Aboriginal youth are not only acutely aware of the ongoing impacts of colonization, but are also creatively engaging with decolonizing movements through new media, film, fashion, photography, painting, performance, creative writing and traditional art forms.    

Artists in the exhibition include Alison Bremner (Tlingit), Deanna Bittern (Ojibwe), Jamie Blankenship-Attig (Nlaka’pamux, Secwepemc, Nez Perce, Muskoday Cree), Kelli Clifton (Tsimshian), Jeneen Frei Njootli (Vuntut Gwitchin), Ippiksaut Friesen (Inuit), Clifton Guthrie (Tsimshian), Cody Lecoy (Okanagan/Esquimalt), Arizona Leger (Fijian, Samoan, Tongan, Maori), Danielle Morsette (Stó:lō /Suquamish), Ellena Neel (Kwakwaka'wakw/Ahousaht), Zach Soakai (Tongan, Samoan), Diamond Point (Musqueam), Crystal Smith de Molina (Git’ga’at), Nola Naera (Maori), Kelsey Sparrow (Musqueam/Anishinabe), Cole Speck (Kwakwaka'wakw), Rose Stiffarm ((Siksika Blackfoot, Chippewa Cree, Tsartlip Saanich, Cowichan, A'aninin, Nakoda, French, & Scottish), Taleetha Tait (Wet’suwet’en), Marja Bål Nango (Sámi, Norway), Harry Brown (Kwakwaka'wakw), Anna McKenzie (Opaskwayak Cree, Manitoba), Sarah Yankoo (Austrian, Scottish, Algonquin, Irish and Romanian), Raymond Caplin (Mi’gmac), Emilio Wawatie (Anishanabe) and the Northern Collection (Toombz/Shane Kelsey [Mohawk], and the Curse/Cory Golder [Mi’maq]).  Also included are works from the Urban Native Youth Association, Musqueam youth and the Native Youth Program. 

The exhibition is curated by Pam Brown (Heiltsuk Nation), Curator, Pacific Northwest, and Curatorial Assistant Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (Blackfoot, Blood Reserve/Sami, northern Norway).  

The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Vancouver Foundation. 

Image: Cody Lecoy, Lions Gate Bridge. Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 in. 

For School Groups

Zine Making Workshop

Open to Grades 4 - 12 and post-secondary students

In this two hour school program, First Nations writer Francine Cunningham will lead students through the Claiming Space exhibition, highlighting the exhibition themes of identity and ancestry, stereotyping, and culture. Francine will work to encourage students to dig deeper into the issues presented in the exhibition and express themselves in their own zine, a DIY magazine that is often focused on unconventional or personal subject matters.  

To book your school program, please visit moa.ubc.ca/group-bookings

Or contact the Bookings Coordinator at 
bookings@moa.ubc.ca 604.822.3825


Claiming Space Blog
The Claiming Space exhibition is accompanied by a blog which be launched on June 1, 2014. Selected images of the artwork in the exhibition will be featured every other month. There will also will be guest blog entries from curator, artist and educators. Check it out by clicking the link below: