Dr. Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess Gallery

Mootookakio’ssin: Creating in Spacetime
November 6 – December 16, 2023

Organized by Migueltzinta Solis, Josephine Mills, & Louisa Minkin

An exhibition as process, this project bridges gaps between historical cultural material housed in museums and contemporary art and includes physical and digital artwork by ULethbridge students as well as artists living in the UK and in India.

Curatorial Statement

Mootookakio’ssin: Creating in Spacetime bridges gaps between historical cultural material housed in museums and contemporary artists. For the past few years, Blackfoot Elders, artists, scholars, and museum professionals living on Blackfoot Territory and in Britain have been working together, talking, and thinking about material culture, cultural capital, power, and estrangement. We’ve visited with historical cultural material in museum collections, survived the pandemic, jumped time zones, and calibrated calendars to make connections. Always guided by the Blackfoot principle that we have a responsibility to share and to care for knowledge, teaching and learning is at the core of our work.

Mootookakio’ssin: Creating in Spacetime is an exhibition as process, an exhibition that experiments with what an art gallery can be, and whom it serves. Students enrolled in Indigenous Art Studio (Fall 2023) at ULethbridge created their works in the gallery space, transforming the gallery into a Collective Studio. Over several weeks of discussion, self-reflection, study, and consultation, Indigenous Art Studio students chose projects that were personally meaningful to them. Critique of museum practices, healing from generational trauma, reimagining of culturally important stories and materials, the search for comfort and interactivity in the art gallery: these among others are topics which the Indigenous Art Studio classroom has taken on in this exhibition. While these themes are not always easy to engage with, it is the hope that by creating in spacetime around these stories, we can bring knowledge and healing to our many communities. Students expanded their project ideas from this with the support of the ULethbridge Art Gallery staff and visiting artist Louisa Minkin. We were open to the public as we created the exhibition and people were invited to drop by, have some mint tea, and visit with the artists.

This is an exhibition as conversation. Minkin brought artworks from recent graduates from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London who have been working together on the Prisoners of Love project. Prisoners of Love: Affect, containment and alternative futures aims to connect UK museum collection items with their trans-national home peoples and bring emerging artists from diasporic communities in the UK, curators, and researchers into conversation, to work responsively with complex histories and material practices. The group have been working with the Economic Botany Collection and the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, Horniman Museum and Gardens and Compound 13 Lab in Mumbai, India; Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford and the Department of Archaeology at the University of Ghana in Accra; Hastings Museum and Art Gallery and the Mootookakio’ssin project on Blackfoot homelands at the ULethbridge. The travelling works shown here were put together during OST, a project residency in a derelict bank in the heart of the City of London in September, 2023.

Please be advised that the works in this exhibit touch upon subjects which visitors may find upsetting, and may bring up unexpected feelings, memories, and responses. While the works are intended to encourage reflection and conversation, it is important for visitors to be mindful of their own preparation to engage with topics having to do with the lasting effects of colonialism on Indigenous communities around the world, past and present.

Participating ULethbridge Students

Alyssa Gault
Ang Crandell
Christina Douvis
Haley Platt
Isabel Nielson
Kathy Medicine Crane
Michaela Kozak
Myah Sluik
Tatiana Weasel Moccasion
Walker English
Zoe Buckskin

Other Participating Artists

Helen Robertson
Ian Dawson
Compound 13 Lab
Esi Eshun
Mame Afua Mensah
Rihanata Bigey
Dawn Codex
Louisa Minkin
Michael Curran
Joseph Walsh
Adanma Nwankwo
Joseph Ijoyemi
Rabiya Nagi
Charles Nyiha
Deserae Tailfeathers
Darby Herman
Thomas Allison