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First Vision

grunt is proud to present First Vision - three curatorial projects featuring work from the grunt archives and beyond of First Nations artists curated by three young and dynamic curators from the aboriginal community. First Vision is funded through the Gateway Project Canada Culture Online of the Department of Canadian Heritage, a program dedicated to making First Nations cultural material available for all Canadians.

First Vision is the second in our series of web site projects. First Nations Performance, produced by Daina Warren and Jay Thompson, features performance work by aboriginal artists produced over the past 15 years at grunt. The site is comprehensive and contains almost 5 hours of video.

First Vision features the curatorial vision of three important Vancouver curators and artists: Archer Pechawis, Daina Warren and Tania Willard.

Archer Pechawis has been working at grunt since 1991 when he became technical director and curator within our performance program. During this period grunt produced a strong Performance Series over several years that included the First Nations Performance Series (1992), The Two Spirit Series (1993) and Halfbred (1995). Pechawis was associate curator for these projects, which cemented our relationship with the aboriginal artist communities. Archer produces his own work in performance and new media.

For First Vision Pechawis contributes "Guts", featuring the work of three strong Canadian based first nations performance artists: Reona Brass, Delores Dallas, and Cheryl L'Hirondelle. These three artists have been important in moving Aboriginal performance in new directions and into new media. Through images, text and video Pechawis takes us on a journey through each artist's oeuvre, showing us highlights and themes within the artists work.

Daina Warren started with grunt on a work-study in her last year at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and the next year was hired on as a curatorial intern. Over the next few years Warren became central in curating younger aboriginal artists into the grunt program and introducing dialogue with other groups both in the city and nationally. Daina was producer and coordinator of the Indian Acts conference in 2002 and curated work for the First Nations Performance site and the upcoming Indian Acts publication. Warren is also a practicing visual artist recently shown at Or Gallery.

Warren's site "Traveling on Our Breath" looks at storytelling traditions within First Nations Culture and focuses on six artists who incorporate storytelling within their work: Performing artist Kerriann Cardinal, Vancouver visual artist Keith Langergraber, Vancouver based multidisciplinary artist David Neel, performance artist Cheli Nighttraveller, Hornby Island folk artist Sammy Sammy and artist and poet Peter Morin. The curatorial text explores storytelling traditions within different culture artists have incorporated into their work.

Tania Willard is a Vancouver based visual artist, designer and former editor of the aboriginal youth magazine RedWire. Her work was featured at grunt in the exhibition "2004 An Indian Odyssey" in 2003. Willard is currently editing Issue two of brunt magazine. She works in printmaking, comics, painting, and illustration and as a writer.

Willard's site "Two Worlds" looks at the two worlds contemporary First Nations must inhabit: the spiritual world of their own traditions and the modern world of cell phones and consumerism. These artists work within the tension of these two worlds showing us the contradictions and reclaiming loss. Visual artists Peter Morin, Judy Chartrand and Charlene Vickers, performance artists Skeena Reece and Lori Blondeau, and illustrator Gord Hill all produce work that highlights this contradictory dual universe.

grunt would like to thank the curators Tania, Archer and Daina for their work and Archer for website design and programming. Special thanks to Travis Neel for database programming and integration, Mary Ann Anderson for administrative support and to our funders, the Department of Canadian Heritage and The Diversity Program of the City of Vancouver.

These curatorial sites are a new direction in grunt's online activities. You should also check out brunt, a print and online journals outlining grunts program and activities.

Glenn Alteen
grunt gallery

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