April 23 – June 21, 2020
Kahwatsiretátie : Teionkwariwaienna Tekariwaiennawahkòntie
Honouring Kinship
Curated by David Garneau (Métis), with the assistance of rudi aker (Wolastoqiyik) and Faye Mullen (Anishinaabe)
Contemporary Native Art Biennial (BACA) – 5th Edition

TIOHTIÀ:KE / MONTRÉAL / MOONIYAANG, JANUARY 30, 2020. The Contemporary Native Art Biennial (BACA) unveils its Fifth Edition’s Program. BACA 2020 will be held in the following places: Art Mûr, La Guilde, La Maison des Régions, the McCord Museum, Pierre-François Ouellette art Contemporain and the Stewart Hall Art Gallery.

The theme of the fifth edition of The Contemporary Native Art Biennial (BACA) is Kahwatsiretátie : Honouring Kinship. Curated by David Garneau (Métis), with the assistance of Rudi aker (Wolastoqiyik) and Faye Mullen (Anishinaabe), Kahwatsiretátie consists of beading and other textiles, drawing, ceramics, painting, sculpture, photography, audio installations, video, digital media, performances, and other art forms by more than forty artists.

Indigenous worldviews extend the anthropological concept of kinship beyond blood relations and people related by marriage and adoption. “All our relations”, a familiar Native phrase, acknowledges persons present and absent, and includes as kin non-human beings and ecosystems. The art works in Kahwatsiretátie concern, for example, family; inter-generational connections; people awakening hidden histories; women aligning with female ancestors; folks looking for ‘home’ in territories not home to their ancestors’; hunters reconciling with animal relations; friendship as kinship; how handmade things link generations; and even the possibility of intergalactic relations.

Kinship also informs our curatorial method. In addition to choosing fine works of art and placing them in good display relations with each other, we also asked a dozen Kahwatsiretátie artists to invite “kin” to exhibit with them. These artists may be family, community members, or other kindred folks. This redistribution of curatorial agency is a form of non-colonial practice. Like a ceremony or party where invited guests invite their own guests, we want to expand the circle to include relations we did not yet know.

Recognizing that these exhibitions take place on the traditional and unceded territory of the Kanien’keha:ka, and that the curator, assistants, and many of the artists are not from here, we sought council with the traditional stewards of this territory. The BACA curator, assistants, and Board met with elders and artists in the Kahnawa;ke longhouse to initiate relations. In a subsequent meeting with Faye Mullen, respected elder Otsitsaken:ra‎ (Charles Patton), and faith keeper Niioieren (Eileen Patton), both of the Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) community of Kahnawa:ke, entrusted us with the title Kahwatsiretátie: Teionkwariwaienna Tekariwaiennawahkòntie. They sensed the imagery of a continuous circle being held together hand in hand, nation to nation, lifting weight together. These Kanienʼkeha words carry the values of a sustained kinship—continuously holding matter together. BACA 2020 endeavors to give material form to these words, to express the interconnectedness of all things while acknowledging that sustaining good relations is a weighty matter, and is a matter of will, love, kinship, and friendship.

Artists: Judy Anderson, Cruz Anderson, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Rainer Wittenborn & Claus Biegert, Catherine Blackburn, Katherine Boyer, Bob Boyer, Kaia’tanoron Dumoulin Bush, Warren Cariou, Hunter Cascagnette, Hannah Claus, Renee Condo, Jon Corbett, Ruth Cuthand, Wally Dion, Devon Drossell, Marcy Friesen, Lucas Hale, Emma Hassencahl-Perley, Larissa Riss Kitchemonia, Owisokon Lahache, Tania Larsson, Jason Edward Lewis, Kay Mayer, Kevin Mckenzie, Dylan Miner, Nadia Myre, Margaret Orr, Graham Paradis, Luke Parnell, Sage Paul, Jobena Petonoquot, Sherry Farrell Racette, Diane Roberts, Marit Anne Sara, Nancy Saunders, Skawennati, Skawennati, Marian Snow, Jack Theis, Nunaruaq Lizzie Susie Thomassie, Ulivia Uviluk, Corinna Wollf


Invited Curator of BACA 2020, David Garneau (Métis) is accompanied by rudi aker (Wolastoqiyik) and Faye Mullen (Anishinaabe) as Ie’nikónirare.

BACA Curator David Garneau (Métis) is a Visual Arts Professor at the University of Regina. His practice includes painting, curation, and critical writing. He recently co-curated, with Kathleen Ash Milby, Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound, National Museum of the American Indian, New York; Moving Forward, Never Forgetting, with Michelle LaVallee, an exhibition concerning the legacies of Indian Residential Schools, other forms of aggressive assimilation, and (re)conciliation, at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina; and With Secrecy and Despatch, with Tess Allas, an international exhibition about massacres of Indigenous people, and memorialization, for the Campbelltown Art Centre, Sydney, Australia. Garneau has recently given keynote talks in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and throughout Canada. He is part of a five-year, SSHRC funded, curatorial research project, Creative Conciliation; Sensory Entanglements, an Australia/Canada, SSHRC-funded creative research project; and is working on the Tawatina Bridge project, a large public art work for the City of Edmonton. His paintings are in numerous public and private collections.

Currently Faye Mullen situates her practice in and alongside community as Ie’nikónirare for BACA 2020. Her role was specified by respected elder Otsitsaken:ra‎ and faith keeper Niioieren of the Kanien’keha:ka community of Kahnawa:ke. They provide insight into her role within this project as one entrusted to continuously mind the thinking and carry the teachings of our relative, Wolf. Raised near the thundering waters of Onguiaahra, Faye Mullen is an auntie, earth worker, writer, art maker, community support worker and visitor on Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyaang / Montréal. Of a sculptural sensitivity, Faye works through the performative gesture in a variety of media including publications, site-specific interventions, sound installations, image-making both moving and still. Through a 2Spirit mixed indigenous (Anishinaabe/Algonquin/Irish/Italian) perspective, her practice reaches toward horizontality worlding queer imaginings and decolonial ways of being. Faye holds a BFA from OCAD (Toronto) + ENSBA (Paris), is a recipient of master’s degrees from both U of T (Toronto) and Fresnoy (Tourcoing) – currently in her doctoral research at UQÀM. Her artwork has been exhibited in group + solo exhibitions in Asia, Australia, Europe and across Turtle Island.

Assistant curator rudi aker is a wolastoqew auntie, artist, organizer, and researcher from St. Mary’s First Nation in Sitansisk (Fredericton, New Brunswick) and, for now, a guest on Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyaang / Montreal. Their artistic and research practices center kinship, placehood, visibility, as well as the traversal of (un)colonized space(s) through conceptions of counter-cartographies and barrier-breaking. In September 2019, Rudi curated their first large-scale event, the finissage for the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective’s Quebec-based initiative, The Tiohtià:ke Project, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal. They have presented their ongoing research-creation project, Topographies of a homeplace, as a workshop for Queering the Map: On_Site at 4th Space (Concordia University) in July 2019 and as a lecture for the TextilesTradeTime Symposium in October 2019. Rudi is finishing a BFA at Concordia University and is presently the Exhibitions and Communications Coordinator at SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art in Montreal, Quebec.


La Maison des Régions, Special activities to communicate
500, rue St-Jacques, Montréal

La Guilde, April 23 – July 19
1356, Sherbrooke West, Montreal

Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, April 24 – June 21
963 Rue Rachel E, Montréal

gallery Art Mûr, April 25 – June 21
5826, St-Hubert, Montreal

Stewart Hall Art Gallery, April 26 – June 21
176, Lakeshore Dr, Pointe-Claire

McCord Museum, Special activities to communicate
690, Sherbrooke West, Montréal

Partners: Gouvernement du Québec (Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec – Fonds d’initiative et de rayonnement de la Métropole – Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones du Québec). Canada Arts Council, Conseil des Arts de Montréal, Galerie Art Mûr, La Guilde, La Maison des Régions, McCord Museum, Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, the Steward Hall Gallery, Friends of Steward Hall, Hôtels Germain

Média Partners: Ciel Variable, Border Crossings, Espace art actuel, Esse Arts + Opinion, Inuit Art Quarterly, First American Art Magazine, Festival TransAmérique (FTA), Vie des Arts

The Contemporary Native Art Biennial (BACA) is a key event to recognize and support contemporary Indigenous art and artists. Initiated in 2012 by the Art Mûr gallery, the BACA pursues its mission as a non-profit organization, in order to better respond to the scale of the event. In each of its editions, Montreal / Tiohtià:ke once again becomes for two months the place of convergence of Native artists in North America.

Jon Corbett, Four Generations: digitally-generated spiral-beaded portraits, 2015