In Conversation – Jeneen Frei Njootli and Olivia Whetung

May 31, 7 pm at ARTSPACE

Please join Artspace on Thursday, May 31st at 7 pm for a conversation with Olivia Whetung and Jeneen Frei Njootli.

The talk is free and will be held in a physically accessible space.

“Jeneen Frei Njootli’s sounds tell stories, a sure sense of presence. They are stories of hooves on the earth, of interspecies whispers, and of the sacred place where life begins. Stories of bodies feeding other bodies. Stories of survival.”

- Olivia Whetung

Vuntut Gwitchin artist Jeneen Frei Njootli engages directly with Gwich`in territory and culture through her lived experience and land based practices. The artist defines this approach as bushed theory - “a radical, grassroots way of being; one that requires getting some caribou blood and fish guts on your hands.” Frei Njootli realizes this land-based methodology in the gallery by working with sounds, dust, grease, and power tools. The traces and residues of Frei Njootli’s sonic landscapes and physical markings remain once the artist’s body leaves the gallery space, reminding us of the artist’s labour, presence, and motion.

I can’t make you those mitts because there is a hole in my heart and my hands hurt is presented in partnership with Public Energy - Peterborough, Ontario’s animator of contemporary dance, theatre, performance, and interdisciplinary work.

Bios
Jeneen Frei Njootli is a Vuntut Gwitchin artist and co-creator of the ReMatriate collective, based on unceded Coast Salish Territories in Vancouver. Sound, performance, fashion, workshops, and barbeques are some of the ways her practice takes shape. She is the recipient of the 2017 Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver Artist Prize.

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.