Under the Museum, Under the University, Under the City: The Land

Artist Roundtable with Decolonize This Place, Alan Michelson, Susan Blight, and Jolene Rickard
Wednesday, March 30, 4pm

Photo by MTL+.

4pm–5:45pm: Artist Roundtable with Decolonize This Place, Alan Michelson, Susan Blight, and Jolene Rickard
University College, UC 179
In-person by registration. Register here.
Watch the livestream on Art Museum’s YouTube channel. No registration required.

6pm–8pm: Closing celebration for Nations by Artists
University College, University of Toronto Art Centre
No registration required. This event will not be livestreamed.

The Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the Department of Art History, and the Proseminar Speaker Series MVS present an artist roundtable that brings together Toronto- and New York-based artists and activists Decolonize This Place, Alan Michelson, Susan Blight, and Jolene Rickard in a discussion about artist-led strategies for reclaiming suppressed histories and relations on stolen land. The panel will explore the overlap between art-making, public space intervention, and the archive, starting the conversation in the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe sovereignties in Tkaronto / Gichi Kiiwenging (Toronto), and drawing connections to the global context of colonialism. The roundtable will be moderated by Nations by Artists co-curators Mikinaak Migwans and Sarah Robayo Sheridan.

Following the roundtable, join us for an informal in-person closing celebration for Nations by Artists at the University of Toronto Art Centre. Grab copies of artist-produced posters, books, zines, and other ephemera; listen to concluding remarks by the exhibition curators and the executive director/chief curator; and see the exhibition one last time before it closes on Saturday, April 2.

This event is co-presented by the Art Museum; the Department of Art History; and The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design Proseminar Speaker Series MVS.

About the Speakers

Decolonize This Place (DTP) is an action-oriented collective based in New York City that uses cultural institutions as platforms to amplify the demands of decolonial social movements. Facilitated by MTL+, DTP consists of over 30 collaborators, grassroots groups, and art collectives that seek to resist, unsettle, and reclaim the city. Their contribution to the Nations by Artists exhibition is an in-gallery movement space with materials for study and action. For this conversation, we welcome five MTL+ facilitators: Amin Husain, Nitasha Dhillon, Amy Weng, Marz Saffore, and Crystal Hans. Decolonize This Place joins the roundtable as guests of the Department of Art History, University of Toronto.

Alan Michelson is an internationally recognized New York-based artist, curator, writer, lecturer, and Mohawk member of the Six Nations of the Grand River. His socially engaged, site-specific art practice is grounded in local contexts and informed by the retrieval of repressed histories. Sourcing from both Indigenous and western culture, he works across painting, sculpture, photography, sound, video, glass, and stone. His work Blanket Refusal in the Nations by Artists exhibition brings the spirit of the original treaties back into the frame of Haudenosaunee-settler relations and demonstrates the continuities between wampum and the written word.

Susan Blight (Anishinaabe, Couchiching First Nation) is an interdisciplinary artist working with public art, site-specific intervention, photography, film, and social practice. Her solo and collaborative work engages questions of personal and cultural identity and its relationship to space. As part of the The Ogimaa Mikana Project, she worked to restore Anishinaabemowin place-names to the streets, avenues, roads, paths, and trails of Gichi Kiiwenging (Toronto). For the Tree Protection Zone project on Hart House Commons, Blight made one of the construction hoardings into an experiment in public space intervention using biodegradable stickers and the Anishinaabemowin language. Blight is Delaney Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University and an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Science.

Jolene Rickard (Tuscarora Nation) is an artist, curator, and associate professor of the History of Art and Visual Studies and director of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program at Cornell University. She is a recipient of a Ford Foundation Research Grant and is conducting research in the Americas, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia toward a new journal on Indigenous aesthetics, and has a forthcoming book on Visualizing Sovereignty. Her family history, as well as her scholarship and art, is tied to a deep legacy of Haudenosaunee traditional governance and a longstanding (and ongoing) practice of anticolonial resistance.

Moderated by Nations by Artists co-curators Mikinaak Migwans and Sarah Robayo Sheridan.

Installation view: Nations by Artists, Art Museum at the University of Toronto, February 8–April 2, 2022. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.


Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
7 Hart House Circle
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H3

University of Toronto Art Centre
15 King’s College Circle
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H7

Access between Art Museum’s spaces has changed due to construction on campus for the University of Toronto Landmark Project. Read more.

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Wednesday, 12 noon-8pm
Sunday and Monday closed

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Media Contact
Marianne Rellin, marianne.rellin@utoronto.ca


The Art Museum gratefully acknowledges operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council. Additional project support for Nations by Artists is provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.