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Terrance Houle
Artist

Calgary
August 02, 2017

Terrance Houle is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary media artist and a proud member of the Kainai Nation (Blood Tribe). He makes use of performance, photography, video and film, music, and painting in his work. He graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2003 with a BFA Major in Fibre. In 2004, his work in short video and film was awarded Winner of Best Experimental Film at the Toronto ImagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival. In 2006, he received the Enbridge Emerging Artist Award. In 2009 and 2010, his first major solo exhibition GIVN'R was presented at Plug In ICA, the Art Gallery of Thunder Bay, and the Art Gallery of York University. His work has been exhibited across Canada, the United States, Australia, the UK, and Europe. On August 13 he is performing GHOST DAYS as part of his residency at Toronto’s SummerWorks Performance Festival in partnership with FADO Performing Arts Centre.

1. Being a dad



Hey? Guess what? .... That’s what! Chicken butt!
Dad jokes, dad hugs, dad clothes, and dad cooking.
Love my daughter Neko

2. Making/playing music and singing



I took up playing guitar thirteen years ago as a hobby and to play for Neko. Over the years I have been obsessed with playing and, more recently, creating music. I’ve also been obsessed with singing and a theremin with a loop station pedal for my project GHOST DAYS, which is to create music for the spirits of Indigenous, colonial, and non-colonial/Indigenous people. It is a way to play my Indigenous body or collaborate with other artists to make art for the spirits and hopefully reconcile these spirits of land, people, culture, and language, etc.

3. Spirits, ghosts, hauntings... Bigfoot



I have been super interested in this for a long time, partly because as Indigenous people we speak to spirits in our everyday ceremonies and in healing. During a hiatus/semi-retirement from the art world in 2015, I spent time obsessing about spirits, ghosts, hauntings, and paranormal activities, as well as Bigfoot. Listening to the music of Jason Molina and Richard Buckner and a bunch of other artists influenced me with the idea that folk, country, and Americana folk music could conjure the spirits. I worked with a psychic artist friend in the spring of 2015 to do these events in my garage where he would do psychic drawings while I played music and we had videos, photos, and installations based around spirits or conjuring.

In 2014, I spent seven weeks in Dawson City at the KIAC residency being haunted by so many things: love, death, colonialism, friends, family, and much more. I’d heard stories of Bigfoot up in the area by some Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in folks I met while I was up there, which was interesting because when my parents do ceremony, they talk about Bigfoot coming into the lodge to dance. Neko can tell the difference between Bear Dancing and Bigfoot dancing even.

I have to say, this is a bigger obsession that probably needs more than 500 words to express.

4. Moving forward



I guess this is more like “being happy” and moving forward. Watching my folks go through Sundance (our medicine dance old as time) and heal from many things has taught me to be happy and to move forward with my life as an Indigenous man and a colonized First Nations. My father chose to dance the Sundance of his people Ojibwa for my mom who is Kainai and has had cancer for over thirteen years. This dance is a warrior dance to heal and to move forward in our Native lives. Watching my father, who along with my mother is a third generation residential school attendee, dance for the love of his life and to heal her makes me realize we are still here as Natives and our ceremonies and love have stood the test of time.

5. Horror movies, nacho cheese, space cheese, popcorn, grill cheese

Not in any particular order.

 

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