Eruoma Awashish, Jani Bellefleur-Kaltush,Meky Ottawa,
Kushapetshekan / Kosapitcikan – A Glimpse into the Other World (detail), 2017. Installation, HD video.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion – Level S2 October 3, 2017 – February 4, 2018
Montreal, October 24, 2017 — The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) and the National Film Board (NFB) present Kushapetshekan / Kosapitcikan – A Glimpse Into the Other World, an immersive installation by Atikamekw artists Eruoma Awashish and Meky Ottawa, and Innu artist Jani Bellefleur-Kaltush. For the MMFA presentation, the trio created a complete version of a prototype developed in 2016 in the creative lab DÉRANGER, an NFB project in collaboration with Montreal’s OBORO media artists’ centre and Wapikoni. This presentation is part of the Artist. Woman. Indigenous. cycle at the Museum, devoted to female Indigenous artists.
Kushapetshekan / Kosapitcikan is an immersive installation in which various elements evocative of the sacred appear. It provides a means for “a glimpse into the other world”— transposing the Innu and Atikamekw idea behind the words kushapetshekan and kosapitcikan, kept secret by those First Nations peoples—without, nonetheless, entirely revealing it, through an approach that the artists have rooted in decolonization. The accompanying soundtrack also suggests another space and time.
A cylinder-shaped device is used as a surface for projection in order to heighten the intimate nature of the experience and invite visitors to pause for a moment. The installation can be experienced in a small group or individually, and visitors can choose to “inhabit” the work by entering it or by observing it from a more distant position outside. Through the work, the artists share an element of their culture in their own way, while leaving a way open for interpretation.
In 2016, the Museum was invited to a preview of three prototypes at DÉRANGER, a creative lab organized by the NFB. The multimedia project created by Awashish, Ottawa and Bellefleur-Kaltush already offered a unique experience, and the combination of sound and visual effects hinted at the possibility of an immersive, spiritual experience. Following this initial contact, the Museum’s teams worked with the NFB’s artists and craftspeople to develop this prototype into an impressive full-scale work. Through this project, the Museum sought to support innovation and artistic creation in Indigenous communities,” explained Geneviève Goyer-Ouimette, Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Curator of Quebec and Canadian Contemporary Art, MMFA. For the NFB, “this project is part of an ongoing effort and a firm institutional commitment to indigenous communities, to ensure a wider audience for their talents and their voices,” said Michèle Bélanger, Executive Director of French Production at the NFB.
About the artists
Eruoma Awashish (left) completed a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary art at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. She has a double identity: her father is Atikamekw and her mother is French Canadian, and she focuses on the differences between these two peoples to spark dialogue in her works. An Atikamekw from Manawan, Meky Ottawa (centre) has made short films with Wapikoni Mobile, including Elle et moi (2017), screened at festivals such as Présence autochtone in Montreal, the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival, Festival Planète Honnête (France) and the Carrousel international du film in Rimouski. Originally from the small Innu community of Nutashkuan, Jani Bellefleur-Kaltush (right) is a graduate of the Cinéma de L’inis programme, and the first Indigenous woman in Quebec to complete this degree. Uenan (2009), her first short film, received an award in Toronto and has drawn attention at several festivals.
Artist. Woman. Indigenous
This fall, the MMFA is spotlighting female Indigenous artists with exhibitions or acquisitions of their works, as part of Artist. Woman. Indigenous. In addition to the installation Kushapetshekan / Kosapitcikan – A Glimpse Into the Other World, the Museum is presenting the Quebec premiere of the exhibition In-Between Worlds, as part of MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image, which features two series of photographs by the Ontario artist Meryl McMaster. The Museum is also presenting Nadia Myre. Scattered Remains, an exhibition of a body of work by the Quebec Algonquin artist, including a new series entitled Code Switching (2017). The Museum has also acquired two works by contemporary Indigenous artists: Mixed Blessing (2011) by Rebecca Belmore and Jingle Spiral (2015) by Maria Hupfield.
The installation Kushapetshekan / Kosapitcikan – A Glimpse Into the Other World was made possible with generous support from the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Curator of Quebec and Canadian Contemporary Art, from 1945 to Today and the MMFA’S Women of Influence Circle, whose mission is to highlight and increase the presence of female artists at the Museum. The
exhibition also received generous support from the Museum’s Young Philanthropists’ Circle, which is proud to support the MMFA’s contemporary art programme, and from Air Canada.
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About the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The MMFA welcomes a million visitors annually. Quebec’s most visited museum, it is one of the most popular museums in Canada, and ranks eighteenth among art museums in North America. The Museum’s original temporary exhibitions combine various artistic disciplines – fine arts, music, film, fashion and design – and are exported around the world. Its rich encyclopedic collection, distributed among five pavilions, includes international art, world cultures, decorative arts and design, and Quebec and Canadian art. The MMFA complex includes Bourgie Hall, a 460-seat concert hall. The MMFA is one of Canada’s leading publishers of art books in French and English, which are distributed internationally. The Museum also houses the Michel de la Chenelière International Atelier for Education and Art Therapy, the largest educational complex in a North American art museum, enabling the MMFA to offer innovative educational, wellness and art therapy programmes. mbam.qc.ca
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