Rabbit hunting in the snow. Weaving textiles on a backstrap loom. Smashing up rocks in a sun drenched quarry in Tanzania. Cleaning office buildings by night. The films in this exhibition are organized around work—how it’s imagined, mythologized, and represented. These artists look at women as labourers in societies where their labour is often invisible and undervalued. Here, the terms of employment are being challenged—by union organizing, collective working models, and questioning the terms of value. Ranging from ethnographic studies to structural experiments, the films in this exhibition critique and re-imagine the conditions in which these groups of women work together.
Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill is a Metis artist and writer from Vancouver, BC, located on unceded Coast Salish territory. Gabrielle’s sculptures and installations perform as both a material exploration of color and form and an enquiry into concepts of land, property, and economy. Her work has been exhibited at the Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, Sunset Terrace, and Gallery Gachet in Vancouver; SBC galerie d’art contemporain in Montreal; STRIDE gallery in Calgary; SOMArts in San Francisco; and Get This! Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jeneen Frei Njootli is a Vuntut Gwich’in artist and a founding member of the ReMatriate Collective. In her interdisciplinary practice she uses media such as performance, sound and textiles. Much of her work deconstructs the history of the materials she uses. She investigates their relationship to trade, ceremonial regalia, and the politics of First Nations art. Her work as a contemporary Indigenous artist has been recognized throughout Canada. In 2017, Njootli was longlisted as a nominee for the national Sobey Art Award and shortlisted for the Contemporary Art Society Vancouver Artist Prize. In 2016 she won the William and Meredith Saunderson Prize for Emerging Artists. She has completed multiple residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Alberta. For her recent Media Arts Residency at the Western Front, Vancouver, British Columbia, she hosted a free workshop teaching participants how to create and update Wikipedia pages for Indigenous women artists. In 2017, Jeneen Frei Njootli earned her MFA from University of British Columbia as an uninvited guest on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, Sto:lo and Tsleil-Waututh territories.
Tania Willard (Secwepemc Nation) works within the shifting ideas of contemporary and traditional as it relates to cultural arts and production, often working with bodies of knowledge and skills that are conceptually linked to her interest in intersections between Aboriginal and other cultures. Willard has worked as a curator in residence with grunt gallery and Kamloops Art Gallery. Willard’s curatorial work includes Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop, and Aboriginal Culture, a national touring exhibition first presented at Vancouver Art Gallery in 2011. Alongside Karen Duffek, she co-curated Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun at the Museum of Anthropology. As a practicing artist, Willard’s recent project BUSH gallery collapses the boundary between artist and curator while creating space for experimental contemporary art practice in a land-based, outdoor environment outside of institutional spaces. BUSH gallery hosts an annual rez-idency on Willard’s family land on Neskonlith Indian reserve, near Chase, BC, part of Secwepemculecw.
Chandra Melting Tallow is a musician/visual artist/film-maker and semi professional lipsyncer of mixed ancestry from the Siksika Nation. She works primarily in installation and performance. Her work has been exhibited in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria and Istanbul.
Laura Huertas Millán (1983, Bogotá, Colombia) is an artist and filmmaker living in Paris (France). Her films intertwining documentary and fiction circulate between contemporary art spaces and international cinema festivals, and have screened in venues such as the Centre Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo, Musée du Jeu de Paume, the Guggenheim Museum (NY), Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Les Laboratoires d´Aubervilliers, Museo de Arte de Medellin (MAMM Colombia) and Instituto de Visión Gallery, among others. They have also been presented at the Toronto Film Festival (Wavelengths), the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Torino Film Festival, FICUNAM, Curtas Vila do Conde, Winterthur, La Habana and the Flaherty Seminar. Her work has been awarded prizes in events such as the FIDMarseille festival, Doclisboa, Videobrasil, the Fronteira Film Festival, Bogota´s Documentary Film Festival (MIDBO), at the Salon de Montrouge in France and Jeune Création Biennale. She holds a practice-based PhD. from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris and Ecole Nomale Superieure rue d´Ulm developed on “ethnographic fictions”; she was also a Sensory Ethnography Lab and a Harvard’s Film Study Center fellow between 2014 and 2017.
Flora M’mbugu-Schelling is a filmmaker from Tanzania. She attended the Tanzanian School of Journalism in Dar es Salaam, and also studied and trained in Germany and France. Her documentary films include Kumekucha (From Sun Up – 1987), which won a gold metal at the New York International Film Festival, and Shida and Matatizo (1993); These Hands (1992), deriving its title from a poem she wrote, has received many awards, including the Joris Ivers Award and the Perugia Prize in Italy.
The Berwick Street Film Collective was formed in 1970, and produced a series of feature documentaries until around 1980. The work of the collective was based on the film making, both individual and collaborative, of its small group of members – Richard Mordaunt, Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, and Humphry Trevelyan. Broadly speaking, these films were seen as being part of the avant garde of British documentary film in the 1970s.