Upcoming symposium gives artists chance to share creativity
- Judy Bird | April 25, 2014
Aboriginal artists from around the province will have a chance to network, learn about some of the business-related aspects of art, and of course, express their creative side at an upcoming gathering in Saskatoon.
The Aboriginal Artist Symposium will take place from May 22 - 24 at the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel. It is hosted by the Canadian Artists' Representation Le Front Des Artistes Canadiens (CARFAC) Saskatchewan in conjunction with partners such as Tribe, First Nations University, Common Weal, Oskayak High School, and others.
The event kicks off with a gallery tour on the 22nd, a banquet featuring guest speaker David Garneau and a performance by a performing arts artist. Friday and Saturday feature luncheon speakers Marjorie Beaucage and Adrian Stimson.
The three-day event will cover a range of topics of interest to artists in various stages of their career, from emerging artists and high school students interested in art to established artists who are looking at marketing on an international scale or looking at contemporary issues on being an artist today. There will be some time for fun too in events such as a hands-on art workshop, and storytelling using visual arts.
Workshops and panel discussions will touch on topics of copyright, artist fees, shows with galleries and curators, art appropriation, and other business-related topics. The First Nations University Indian Fine Arts department is offering Aboriginal Art History 101, a workshop to provide a background history of aboriginal art in the province. Networking time is also included.
"All the partnering organizations will have a table, and everyone attending can sit down and learn what the different organizations do, what they offer, and how they support artists," said Wendy Nelson, acting executive director of CARFAC Saskatchewan.
An important workshop offered by CARFAC Saskatchewan will look at standards and best practices for aboriginal artists in the province. This workshop and the symposium are both the result of work done by CARFAC Saskatchewan in 2009, and are in response to feedback from Aboriginal artists in Saskatchewan themselves.
"CARFAC was looking at best practice documents in 2007 from Australia, which was a set of basic agreed upon documents of what artists and others should expect of each other," said Nelson. CARFAC recognized that there wasn't a great deal of contact with Aboriginal artists, and so in 2009, a project was created to get information and feedback about what Aboriginal artists wanted and needed.
Project consultant Audrey Dreaver was tasked with visiting communities to speak to artists to find out what issues Aboriginal artists were facing, what were the strengths and the weaknesses, which would help CARFAC understand how they could be a better support to Aboriginal artists.
Dreaver visited northern, central and southern communities in the province and learned that many artists wanted to have a set of standard practices, and to have a gathering where they could network. The information gathered was used to create the Aboriginal Arts Industry Standards / Best Practices document that addresses issues specific to aboriginal artists, such as protocol and appropriation and other concerns. In the workshop, it will be presented back to the artists for feedback, and to seek endorsement to make it a living document.
This set of standards is also drawing attention from other CARFAC groups across the country. Dreaver says it is being considered by Quebec, Ontario, and possibly BC because nothing currently exists that addresses the issues that Aboriginal artists face. Two people are coming from Quebec specifically to attend the session.
"I'm looking forward to telling the artists that their words that went into the document are now helping artists in other provinces," she said.
The event is free for Aboriginal artists in Saskatchewan, with the only exception being the banquet featuring keynote speaker David Garneau. Those tickets are $25 to cover the cost of food. For more information, visit www.carfac.sk.ca or call 1-800-363-9788.