Shared Conversations: A Dinner for Stories Near and Far
November 1, 2018
Introducing Locals Only!
Lisa Hirmer (Guelph), Vanessa Kwan (Vancouver), Justin Langlois (Vancouver), Michael Peterson (Saskatoon), Marcel Petit (Saskatoon), Janelle Pewapsconias (Little Pine First Nation, Treaty 6 Territory), Holly Schmidt (Vancouver), Jordan Schwab (Saskatoon), and Kevin Wesaquate (Saskatoon).
September 2017 to June 2019
Curated by Tarin Dehod, organized with Yvonne Hanson.
Coordinated by AKA artist-run and CHEP Good Food Inc.
Developed by Justin Langlois for AKA, in collaboration with CHEP Good Food Inc., Locals Only is a large-scale, multi-year art project that explores food security, community-led resource development, and intergenerational exchange in Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods. As organizations based in Riversdale, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, AKA and CHEP recognize that Saskatoon core neighbourhoods host some of the most diverse and culturally rich communities in the region, and yet many are simultaneously facing unprecedented pressures from encroaching gentrification along with long-standing challenges related to accessing locally-sourced sustenance. The project responds to these critical issues in the form of a mobile food service truck that deploys socially engaged art, local knowledge, and long-form hospitality to cultivate a community-based exploration of reciprocity by redeploying symbolic representations of gentrification into the hands of longtime community residents.
Locals Only will operate as an elder-guided, artist-designed, and youth-operated mobile programming space, and will serve as a platform for intercultural dialogue and intergenerational capacity building by sharing traditional knowledge around food, hospitality, and community development. Beginning in 2017, the project extends until June 2019, and will encourage meaningful participation from community-based youth and elders, as well as deep collaboration with local and national artists.
Lisa Hirmer is an inter-disciplinary artist working at the intersections of visual art, social practice, and art-based forms of critical research. Her experimental public-focused practice DodoLab explores and responds to the complicated and nebulous reality of public opinion (acknowledging that this is itself a complicated idea). Her work as a photographer and writer explores contemporary landscapes and built environments. She is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and is based in Guelph, Canada.
Vanessa Kwan is a Vancouver-based artist, writer and curator. Her work often involves the production of work in public space, and is often collaborative, site-specific and interdisciplinary. Recent projects include a large-scale permanent public artwork called Geyser for Hillcrest Park (with Erica Stocking), Sad Sack, a series of public events and collaborations on the subject of melancholy, and This Creeping Root, a moonlight garden.
Justin Langlois is the co-founder and research director of Broken City Lab, an artist-led collective working to explore the complexities of locality, infrastructures, and participation in relation to civic engagement and social change, and he is the founder of The School for Eventual Vacancy and curator of The Neighbourhood Time Exchange. His practice explores collaborative structures, critical pedagogy, and custodial frameworks as tools for gathering, learning, and making. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Culture + Community at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
Michael Peterson runs Void Gallery, an artist-run centre focused on supporting local artists and the local arts community. They host Saskatoon’s only publicly-accessible printmaking studio, hold free drop-in art nights, and provide workshops in printmaking and other art methods. Michael is currently the Artist in Residence at Aden Bowman Collegiate, developing and offering printmaking education there; he filled a similar role at Centennial Collegiate last year. Michael received his BFA in Printmaking from the University of Saskatchewan in 2009 and his MDes (Master of Design) from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver in 2015. His thesis explored local food systems and food security with an emphasis on ways that community connections can be built through food.
Marcel Petit is an independent producer, filmmaker, writer and photographer from Saskatoon. He runs m.pet productions, an independent production company that explores human experience through visual arts. He is an active and engaged member of the community, having served as the Executive Director of the Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op and Program Coordinator for the Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre. Marcel enjoys traveling, taking photos, making movies, and Star Wars.
Janelle “ecoaborijanelle” Pewapsconias is a nehīyaw Cree spoken word poet, social innovator, and inclusive game designer. Janelle’s poetic prowess tells stories from a nehīyaw perspective, sharing cultural teachings and language in a unique style of spoken word. She has co-authored an Indigenous poetry chapbook and has been featured on many stages throughout Saskatchewan. Her culturally-respectful and hilariously neechie approach to analogue game design is integral to her mission. You can hear the voices and stories of Indigenous people and people “in the margins” in her poems and games. Janelle grew up on the small reserve of Little Pine First Nation, Treaty 6 Territory, and now resides in Saskatoon, SK.
Holly Schmidt is a Vancouver artist with a research-based practice that engages processes of collaborative research and informal pedagogy. Moving across disciplinary boundaries, she explores the relationships between practices of making, knowledge creation and the formation of temporary communities. She is the Assistant Curator, Learning at the Contemporary Art Gallery and a sessional instructor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
Jordan Schwab, originally from Prince George, BC, holds a BFA from Thompson Rivers University (2005), and received his MFA from the University of Saskatchewan (2009). Through a previous career in commercial and industrial construction, he developed an interest in constructed environments, entropy, and collective work, which form the basis for his artistic practice. He has exhibited across the country, having been included in shows at SKOL gallery in Montreal, SNAP Gallery in Edmonton, Martha Street Studio in Winnipeg, Kamloops Art Gallery, and AKA Artist-Run, PAVED Arts, and Remai Modern Pre-Launch in Saskatoon. He currently works and lives in Saskatoon as an Art Coordinator for Saskatoon Community Youth Arts Programming (SCYAP), where he has taught art and life skills to youth for the past 8 years. He also runs JK Professional Services, providing contract work to various galleries and individuals, and is a sessional instructor in the Art and Art History department at the University of Saskatchewan.
AKA supports the creation and development of artist driven initiatives and emerging practices that speak to, reflect and encourage dialogue in our culturally diverse communities. This includes work in all media by local, national and international artists. Their venues consist of a street-level gallery, billboard and multi-use screening and performance event space; they also source off-site locations for site-specific projects. AKA is committed to acting as a centre for risk-taking and artistic self-determination produced by a diversity of voices; engaging in critical discourse and intersections with related cultural practices.
CHEP Good Food Inc. is a 27-year old charitable organization based in the Saskatoon neighbourhood of Riversdale with significant expertise in food-based community development through working with children, families and communities to improve access to good food and promoting food security. CHEP believes that food is a basic right and that a community development approach that brings people together around good food is essential.
Locals Only is one of 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter initiative. With this $35 million initiative, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada. Locals Only was developed with preliminary research funding from the Saskatchewan Arts Board Artists in Communities grant. Thank you to Saskatoon residents, small businesses, artists and academics who generously gave of their time and knowledge in the first research stage of Locals Only. Special thanks to Cory Schewaga.