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Steven Loft







Title of Talk: “The Group of Who?... Creating an Indigenous Art History.”

Abstract: As Aboriginal curators, theorists and art historians, our function lies in creating a nexus for critical discussions of  indigenous visual and material culture, identifying the place of contemporary Aboriginal artistic production in defining Indigenous presence socially, politically and culturally that take into account differing forms, aesthetic processes, cultural symbologies and histories. It rejects the categorizing of indigenous art in catch all western canons

such as "post modernism" and breaks down the false boundaries that have been created by so called experts. As we develop a new language of art history that is located in indigenous cultures, we must create radical, critical and culturally dynamic discourses that respond to, and engage with, an Indigenous cultural sovereignty.


Steven Loft is a Mohawk of the Six Nations. He is a curator, writer and media artist. In 2010, he was named Trudeau National Visiting Fellow at Ryerson University in Toronto, where he is continuing his research in Indigenous art and aesthetics. Formerly, he was the first Curator-In-Residence, Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Canada. While there he curated exhibitions including Back to the Beginning: Indigenous Abstraction and Steeling the Gaze: Portraits by Aboriginal artists (both currently touring) among others. Previously, he was the Director/Curator of the Urban Shaman Gallery (Winnipeg) Canada´s largest Aboriginal artist run public gallery, Aboriginal Curator at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and Artistic Director of the Native Indian/Inuit Photographers´ Association. He has written extensively on Indigenous art and aesthetics for various magazines, catalogues and arts publications. Loft co-edited Transference, Technology, Tradition: Aboriginal Media and New Media Art, published by the Banff Centre Press in 2005. This book of essays by artists, curators, and scholars frames the landscape of contemporary Aboriginal art, the influence of Western criticism and standards, and the liberating advent of inexpensive technologies including video and online media.

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