Skeena Reece : Sweetgrass and Honey | Opening Reception And Performance @ Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg [19 January]

Skeena Reece : Sweetgrass and Honey | Opening Reception And Performance

19:00 - 23:00

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Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art
460 Portage Ave Unit 1, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0E8
Skeena Reece: Sweetgrass and Honey
January 20 — March 18, 2017

Friday, January 19 | 7pm
Opening Reception

Friday, January 19 | 7pm
“Looks Like a Suicide” a performance by Skeena Reece

Saturday, January 20 | 2pm
Respondent Series: artist talk with Bracken Hanuse Corlett

Saturday, February 10 |2pm
Interpreting [Interrupting] Youth screening and panel discussion

Thursday, February 15 | 7pm
Respondent Series: Darryl Nepinak

Plug In ICA is truly pleased to present Sweetgrass and Honey, a solo exhibition by Skeena Reece. Part survey, this exhibition recontextualizes some of Reece’s earlier video and photographic projects, within a new body of work that uses Plug In ICA as a place of political address to rewrite and acknowledge how we have come to occupy the land we are on. In particular, the newly commissioned piece, Access Denied, is a site-specific intervention that challenges the racialized capitalism of The Hudson’s Bay’s origins in the fur-trade. One of the company’s early flagship stores sits across the street from Plug In ICA and can be viewed through the windows of one of the institute’s gallery’s. Reece’s installation blocks the view in a gesture that gives pause to a slowly declining branch of the national department store while annunciating an economic rift that is historically reminiscent yet still felt in Indigenous communities.

Reece is best known for her critically penetrating and humorous performances, in which she portrays a range of personas that are often driven by the potential of a raw exchange with audiences. For Sweetgrass and Honey, she builds on her lexicon of characters at times ramping up the clichés and emboldening stereo-types while sincerely trying to unearth their origins and stonewall their continued perpetuation. From Stockholm Syndrome to Indian Princesses, Reece uses various subjects in building a new lens with which to examine her personal history within a rereading of the displacement and continued disregard of Indigenous people in North America.

Many of the artworks presented in this solo exhibition were produced with other artists who Reece ignites as producers and translators. She invited the politically charged writer and activist Gord Hill, a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation, to illustrate aspects of colonial occupation and its destructive force, which Reece places on her body as tattoos. The new work Stekyawden Syndrome, is a large-scale mural done in collaboration with Northwest Coast, Wuikinuxv and Klahoose Nations’ artist Bracken Hanuse Corlett, which frames a traditional indigenous myth within a psychological trauma that leaves captives overly sympathetic with their capturers. Reece commissioned the west coast painter and illustrator Collin Elder to paint her portrait, using the clichéd aesthetic devices common to air brush paintings of the glorified Native Maiden, but her portrait sits in stark contrast to the romanticism of the Indigenous female, as she invites the voyeur to gaze upon her self-aware smirk with her double chin accentuated as she poses stoically in the center of a barrage of wilderness signifiers from the wolf to the grizzly bear. And for We Are All One, Reece revisits a work, she first produced in response to Tsimshian Treasures an exhibition of Tsimshian ceremonial masks and objects at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology (MOA) in 2007. Reece commissioned Vancouver-based artist Nathalee Paolinelli to paint a series of child-like black and white water-colours of some of the objects represented as artifacts in the MOA exhibition to be printed as stickers for Sweetgrass and Honey, rendering them as disposable cheap renditions, undermining their value as objects.

These works are only part of Sweetgrass and Honey, which occupies all of Plug In ICA’s exhibition spaces. For more information please visit our website to access the complete list of works and read the curatorial essay written by Plug In ICA’s Director Jenifer Papararo.

Also please join us for an artist talk by Bracken Hanuse Corlett on Saturday, Janaury 20 at 2pm at Plug In ICA.

Skeena Reece is a Tsimshian/Gitksan and Cree artist based on the West Coast of British Columbia. She has garnered national and international attention most notably for Raven: On the Colonial Fleet (2010) her bold installation and performance work presented as part of the celebrated group exhibition Beat Nation. Her multidisciplinary practice includes performance art, spoken word, humor, “sacred clowning,” writing, singing, songwriting, video and visual art. She studied media arts at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, and was the recipient of the British Columbia award for Excellence in the Arts (2012) and The Viva Award (2014). For her work on Savage (2010)in collaboration with Lisa Jackson, Reece won a Genie Award for Best Short Film, Golden Sheaf Award for Best Multicultural Film, ReelWorld Outstanding Canadian Short Film, Leo Awards for Best Actress and Best Editing. She participated in the 17th Sydney Biennale, Australia. Recent exhibitions include, The Sacred Clown & Other Strangers (2015) a solo exhibition of her performance costumes and documentation at Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Winnipeg and Moss at Oboro Gallery, Montreal (2017). An iteration of Sweetgrass and Honey will travel to the Comox Valley Art Gallery.

Parts of Sweetgrass and Honey were produced in collaboration with Oboro, Montreal; exhibited as part of the exhibition Moss.

Plug In ICA extends our gratitude to our artists, generous donors, valued members and dedicated volunteers. With special thanks to our Director’s Circle.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We thank the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for their support of our 2016 and 2017 program, as well as Payworks and Wawanesa Insurance for the direct support of our youth programs.

Plug In ICA relies on community support to remain free and accessible to all, and enable us to continue to present excellent programs. Please consider becoming a member of Plug In ICA and a donor at or by contacting Angela Forget: [email protected]

For media inquiries please contact: Sarah Nesbitt at [email protected] by telephone at (204) 942-1043.
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