September 10 – October 29, 2022
Opening reception: Saturday, September 10, 2022 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Amanda Roy : Azhinoowamaa’idim
Curator: Nico Williams

Galerie Shé:kon
5826, rue St-Hubert, 2ème étage
Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyang / Montréal (QC) H2S 2L7

Text by Nico Williams

In 1906, J.P. Morgan commissioned American photographer Edward Curtis to create a series of portraits documenting the American NDN*. Over half a decade, Curtis set out with his camera, trunks of props, and regalia and traveled to communities, staging many idealized ways of indigenous life. In nearly all these photographs, Amanda Roy noticed that the facial expressions of all the models were made up of only sad glances and frowns.

Curtis’s goal was not just to photograph but also to document as much of Native American traditional life as possible before that way of life disappeared. Amanda Roy knows how it is back home on the Rez and circuiting the Pow Wow trail, and these portraits never truly represented indigenous communities. Amanda Roy challenges these staged romanticized sad NDN glances by superimposing smiles on top of them as an act of resistance, using big auntie and uncle laughter energy to show that we are alive and have a sense of humor. The kind that knocks on the doors and wakes up the whole neighborhood.

*NDN is a shortening of Native Indian. This is usually used by Native Americans in the United States to refer to themselves.

Amanda Roy is Anishinaabe from the community of Buzwah (Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island). She has worked with the National Film Board as an Associate Producer for their Hothouse Animation Apprenticeship program and currently is an Associate Producer for the Quebec-Atlantic English studio. She has worked on various Indigenous productions (film, tv, and digital media projects) that have screened worldwide. She spent several years living in Northern Quebec assisting secondary students with learning video game production while travelling amongst several communities supporting the Cree Syllabics Virtual Reality Project-a program for learning Cree syllabics in an immersive and interactive virtual environment. Amanda is also a Hnatyshyn Foundation Reveal Indigenous Art Award Laureate and a Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Fellow. Her work has exhibited at the Smithsonian Institute, the Berkeley Art Center, and the Royal Alberta Museum, amongst others.

Nico Williams, ᐅᑌᒥᐣ (b. 1989), Anishinaabe and member of Aamjiwnaang First Nation community, is a visual artist currently working in Tiohtià:ke | Mooniyang | Montréal. He has a multidisciplinary, often collaborative practice. Williams is an active member in the urban Indigenous Montreal Arts community. He has taught workshops at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NSCAD University, and Carleton University amongst others. His work has been shown internationally and across Canada, and his most recent solo exhibition, Chi-Miigwech (2021) was shown at Never Apart (Tiohtiá:ke). His work has been supported by the Canada Council, Conseil des arts de Montréal, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and by numerous grants.

The Contemporary Native Art Biennial (BACA) thanks the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (Re-Connaître program for native arts) and the gallery Art Mûr.