‘LOOKING EUROPE IN THE I’: 

An artist and speaker presentation [mini]series

Presented in partnership by: Exhibiting Sound and CBU’s President’s Council for Multicultural Learning

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Wednesday, October 21 2015, 12 noon – 4pm

Ke’tapekiak Maqim’kew: The Land Sings – Ursula Johnson

CBU Community Gardens

Based on the present-day topography of Cape Breton County, this song will be created using Indigenous ‘Songlines’ and will be sung continuously over several hours. It is both an act of indigenous self-determination and act of reconciliation with the land through song.

Thursday, October 22 2015, 2pm – 4pm

“Looking Europe in the I’ – Ashok Mathur (keynote)

Multiversity Centre, CBU Campus

Ashok’s keynote address challenges the hold of a larger-than-life subject position of whiteness/colonialism, facilitating various bodies into a new way of articulating for and to ourselves across colonial lines in Indigenous and racialized communities. Involved in the development and design of the “Looking Europe in the I” series, he will draw on his experience working with all of the participating artists, and make reference to the performance/presentations that are part of the series.

The keynote title, drawn from Sherene Razak’s book, Looking White People in the Eye, illuminates the history of racialized discourses between and ‘back to’ dominant spaces – an expression drawn from slave narrative resistance stories. It also comes out of discussions with Peter Morin on his performances, for example, looking over the ocean to/ward Europe. Ashok replaces the optic eye with the first person I to address notions of subjectivity and collective resistance in Indigenous response (politically, economically, aesthetically) to a somewhat monolithic ‘whiteness.’ This keynote complicates the often limited response of speaking back to a colonizer, which in itself can promote a binary and thereby limited response to cultural identity, and attempts to shift our gaze toward productive modes of resistance.

Singing Home – Peter Morin

Joan Harriss Cruise Pavillion

‘singing home is a process. a body lying down at the edge. the place where the water meets the land. singing across the water. and throwing stones at a glass house.’


Ursula Johnson is an emerging performance and installation artist of Mi’kmaw First Nation ancestry. She graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design and has participated in over 30 group shows and 5 solo exhibitions. Her performances are often place-based and employ cooperative didactic intervention. Recent works include various mediums of sculpture that create consideration from her audience about aspects of intangible cultural heritage as it pertains to the consumption of traditional knowledge within the context of colonial institutions. Mi’kwite’tmn: Do You Remember (hosted by SMU Art Gallery) is a solo exhibition currently on a Canadian National Tour. She has also recently served as Unama’ki College’s artist-in-residence.

Ashok Mathur is a writer, artist, and cultural organizer, former Canada Research Chair in Cultural and Artistic Inquiry (Thomson Rivers University), and current Head of Creative Studies at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus. He has written four books and edited several collections and anthologies, with subject material often around race, migration, indigeneity, and artistic practices.

Peter Morin is a Tahltan Nation artist, curator and writer currently based in Brandon, MB. Morin studied art at Emily Carr Institute and recently completed his MFA at UBC Okanagan in 2011. In both his artistic practice as well as his curatorial work, Morin’s practiced-based research investigates the impact between indigenous culturally-based practices and western settler colonialism. This work, defined by Tahltan Nation epistemological production, often takes on the form of performance interventions that explore the origin, nature, methods, and limits of what we think of as knowledge. Morin has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions including Team Diversity Bannock and the World’s Largest Bannock attempt (2005), A return to the place where God outstretched his hand (2007); performative works at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; 12 Making Objects AKA First Nations DADA (12 Indigenous Interventions) (2009) at Open Space, Victoria; Peter Morin’s Museum (2011) at Satellite Gallery, Vancouver; and Circle (2011) Urban Shaman, Winnipeg. Morin has curated exhibitions at the Museum of Anthropology, Western Front, The Burnaby Art Gallery and Grunt Gallery among others and in 2011 curated Revisiting the Silence, an exhibition of photographs by Adelaide de Menil, at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art and Peter Morin’s Museum at Satellite Gallery, both in Vancouver. In 2014, Peter joined the Visual and Aboriginal Arts Faculty at Brandon University.

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