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Parfocal Lens – Indigenous Praxis
April 12 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Join SPAO for the first session in their visiting artists’ series, Parfocal Lens, and participate in a great conversation about photographic artistry, visual literacy and personal vision. Inaugurating the first-ever visiting artist series to take place in SPAO’s new multi-purpose Panasonic Studio, “Indigenous Praxis” has been designed to make a pointed acknowledgment of the First Peoples on whose traditional territory SPAO is located.
SPAO is excited to present an illustrious panel of contemporary Indigenous artists and arts professionals to give presentations on their work with photography and lens-based media and the issues they address. The critically-acclaimed photographer and independent curator Jeff Thomas and the award-winning and internationally recognized photo-based artist Rosalie Favell will discuss the subjects of identity and Indigeneity in their work. These two Karsh Award winners will be joined in conversation with Steven Loft, the Director of the Creating Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples program with the Canada Council for the Arts.
“Parfocal Lens: Indigenous Praxis” offers an occasion to learn more about the panelists’ important work and how they put their far-reaching vision into practice.
Image credit: Rosalie Favell, I awoke to find my spirit had returned, 1999.
Born in Winnipeg, Rosalie Favell is an award-winning Canadian photographer whose practice takes inspiration from her Métis (Cree/English) heritage. Using a variety of sources, including family albums and popular culture, she presents a complex self-portrait of her experiences as a contemporary Aboriginal woman. Her Facing the Camera (2008-ongoing) is a major body of work featuring hundreds of portraits of Aboriginal artists, aiming to give as much representation of her community as possible. Favell’s work has appeared in exhibitions throughout the world.
A Mohawk of the Six Nations with Jewish heritage, Hamilton-born Steven Loft is the Director of the Creating Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples program with the Canada Council for the Arts. His exhibitions have broken new ground in contextualizing Aboriginal art practices, incorporating abstraction, photography and multi-media. Loft has written extensively for arts publications, co-editing the books Transference, Technology, Tradition: Aboriginal Media and New Media Art and Coded Territories: Indigenous Pathways in New Media.
Born in Buffalo, New York, Jeff Thomas is an urban-based Iroquois, self-taught photo-based artist, writer, public speaker, and curator, living in Ottawa. Thomas seeks to demystify historical depictions of First Nations stereotypes in photography by re-contextualizing these images for modern audiences. Thomas has won numerous awards. His recent shows include A Necessary Fiction: My Conversation with Edward S. Curtis & George Hunter, Art Gallery of Mississauga (2017); Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989, Art Gallery of Ontario (2016); and SAKAHÀN, National Gallery of Canada (2013).