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We challenge you to commit to welcoming Indigenous art into the public spaces that you share. You can start to honour this commitment by including the digital art that my sister and I have created for you on your social media profile pictures - the most public photos any of us share of ourselves.
About This Challenge
This challenge is all about making space. For allies, it is about making space for Indigenous art, Indigenous artists, and Indigenous ideas to exist and thrive in public spaces. For our Indigenous relations, it is about making the public spaces that we occupy reflect who we are. This challenge was inspired by sticker bombing; we want to see social media platforms covered in this artwork. All Indigenous public art - everything from murals, statues, installations, and performance art to stickers, tags and graffiti art by Indigenous artists in public spaces can be welcome reminders to Indigenous individuals that these public spaces belong to us and we belong in these public spaces.
It’s a simple thing to change your profile photos on social media to include the Indigenous art work we have provided, but we believe it to be a powerful statement. We encourage you to engage with your friends and followers about the art on your profile, and we encourage you to use the image as a reminder to look for and to welcome Indigenous folx and authentic representations of Indigenous folx into the spaces you share. What does an Indigenous public space look like? Let's imagine those futures.
Why Indigenous Public Art?
Being Indigenous in public is not always a comfortable experience. Urban spaces can be hostile environments for us - especially those Indigenous folx who are visible minorities or are otherwise profiled for “looking Indigenous” from a colonized perspective. Indigenous art in public spaces can empower us to feel like we belong. All public art, from the huge murals and sculptures, to the small stickers, tags, and graffiti by Indigenous artists can help us to feel like we belong here, on our lands. Turtle Island is Indigenous territory - we should be able to be visible in our territories without feeling fear, discomfort, or hostility - art can be a pathway towards this.
Even in some progressive spaces, Indigenous people can feel unwelcome. We might be offered to open an event or a protest, but our voices and perspectives are not necessarily respected throughout the program content. We may be welcomed to dance or to pray or to acknowledge the territories upon which a gathering takes place, but afterwards, we may be moved out of sight and our voices silenced. To challenge this, we’re asking you to welcome Indigenous art, Indigenous thought, and Indigenous perspectives into your life - not just at the start of events, and not just when we’re in our regalia. We’re asking you to recognize that our perspectives have value and we have experts across disciplines. We’re asking you use this profile picture frame on your social media as a daily reminder of your commitment to welcome Indigenous perspectives into the public spaces you share.
Right now, particularly for Indigenous womxn, and for queer, Two Spirit, and non-binary Indigenous folx - to take up public space in Canada is a radical act - but it shouldn't have to be. Through public art projects (like this one) we can all push back against the prevailing narratives and negative stereotypes about Indigenous Peoples that exist in Canada. Through public art projects (like this one) we can all push back against the prevailing narratives and negative stereotypes about Indigenous Peoples that exist in Canada. We can see ourselves reflected and represented authentically in our territories and we can look to our allies who choose to use their privilege to make Canada a more inclusive place.
To begin, click "accept challenge" below! Then upload a profile photo to use on your social media accounts. This template is acceptable for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profile photos. Consider sharing some information about the challenge and link to this page when you change your profile photo.
Facebook Suggested Post: "I've changed my profile photo to include art created by Indigenous artists, Aura and Chief Lady Bird as part of my commitment to include #IndigenousArtInPublic spaces that I share. I encourage you to join the #Next150 and get the frame here: https://indianhor.se/2plpVow"
Facebook users can search for the "Next150" and install the frame to quickly add this image to their profiles. Or use the below profile pic maker for all three platforms.
Twitter Suggested Post: "#NewProfilePic! I've changed my profile photo to include art created by Indigenous artists, @auraLast and @chiefladybird as part of my commitment to include #IndigenousArtInPublic spaces I share. I encourage you to join #Next150 and get the frame here: https://indianhor.se/2plpVow"
Instagram Suggested Post: #NewProfilePic! I've changed my profile photo to include art created by Indigenous artists, @auralast and @chiefladybird as part of my commitment to include #IndigenousArtInPublic spaces I share. I encourage you to join #Next150 and get the frame. Learn more at indianhorse.ca/next150.
- Broken Boxes Podcast: Episode 66. Chief Lady Bird & Aura Last. Unceded Voices Series
- Art, appropriation and the damaging economic effect on Indigenous artists
- Indigenous Place Making Council
- Leslieville exhibition cancelled after Toronto artist’s work called cultural appropriation
- Indigenous public art gains visibility in Vancouver
- Edgar Heap of Birds: Native Hosts
- Smiling Indians and Edward S. Curtis
- Reclaim Indigenous Arts
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Aura is a Haudenosaunee (Oneida) artist currently based in Tkaronto. She graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 2010 with a Bachelor in Fine Art (Studio Art). She creates mixed-media artwork and murals connected to art as healing, love and mothering, often looking to the community to collectively explore personal storytelling and truth-sharing through workshops. In 2017, she received the Leading Women Leading Girls Award. She created works for amazing Indigenous artists and organizations including Frank Waln, Tanaya Winder, ImagineNATIVE Film Festival, abd Luminato Festival. Her collaborative murals were featured in the Kinship issue of Canadian Art and can be seen throughout Ontario and Quebec.
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Chief Lady Bird is an Anishinaabe artist from Rama First Nation and Moosedeer Point First Nation, who is currently based in Toronto. She graduated from OCAD University in 2015 with a BFA in Drawing and Painting and a minor in Indigenous Visual Culture. Through her art practice, Chief Lady Bird uses street art, community-based workshops, digital illustration and mixed media work to challenge the lens that Indigenous people are often viewed through. Her work subverts the dominant culture’s frequent fetishization of Indigenous culture by highlighting the diverse experiences that we all come from.
"Right now, particularly for Indigenous womxn, and for queer, Two Spirit, and non-binary Indigenous folx - to take up public space in Canada is a radical act - but it shouldn't have to be. Commit to welcoming Indigenous art into the public spaces that you share to push back on this reality."