Ep. 8: Aedan Corey and Jennifer Brunet-Rentechem

Episode 8 April 17, 2023 00:53:51
Ep. 8: Aedan Corey and Jennifer Brunet-Rentechem
To Be Continued: Troubling the Archive
Ep. 8: Aedan Corey and Jennifer Brunet-Rentechem

Apr 17 2023 | 00:53:51

/

Hosted By

Anna Shah Hoque

Show Notes

In this episode, guest producer Aedan Corey chats with Jennifer Brunet-Rentechem about longing, nostalgia and memories.  

This discussion between friends articulates the complexities of being urban Indigenous peoples as they discuss how longing for community and culture is expressed through art and the dynamics between dispersion, queerness and connection and disconnection.  

Credits: Season 3 graphic created by Hunter Dewache. Custom intro / outro sounds created by Bucko aka Chris Binkowski. Podcast editing is by fin-xuan, with post-production audio work by Nicole Bedford. This season of To Be Continued: Troubling the Archive is generously funded by a Digital Now grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.   

Participants: 

Aedan Corey 

Aedan Corey is a Two Spirit writer, visual artist, emerging curator and Inuit tattooist from Iqaluktuuttiaq, Nunavut — a town of approximately 1,800 people. Author and illustrator of the chapbook “Inuujunga” (Coven Editions, 2021) and short story “Unikkaannguaq” (Nipiit Magazine, 2020), they began creating art at a young age. Aedan’s work is heavily inspired by their lived experiences as a queer, neurodivergent Inuk. Their goal is always to inspire and advocate for those within their communities through their artistic practices, letting others know that they are not alone. Aedan currently resides on the unceded Algonquin territory known as Ottawa. Check out Aedan’s work on Instagram @uviluq_by_design 

Jennifer Brunet-Rentechem  

Jennifer (she/they) is a 23-year-old decolonial feminist queer artist based in the Ottawa/Gatineau area. She is Indigenous and of mixed ancestry, Kanien’kéhà:ka, Algonquin and French settler on her maternal side and Brazilian Tupi-Guarani and Ukrainian on her paternal side. Jennifer’s art pulls from the Woodland style of painting, Latin American folk art and magical realism. Storytelling, culture, spirituality, politics and morality are all themes Jennifer frequently explores in her artworks. Check out Jennifer’s work on instagram @mythological.being. 

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 As you join us for another episode, we'd really appreciate it. If you could subscribe, leave us a rating and a review. It helps our podcast get a little bit more visibility. Welcome to season three of to Be Continued troubling the Archive. In this episode, guest Producer Aid and Corey chats with Jennifer Bruny Renesha of about longing, nostalgia and memories. From the perspective of two diasporic indigenous folks, conversations will span from how longing for community and culture is expressed to art, to the dynamics between dispersion, queerness and connection. This connection and discussion between friends articulates the complexities of being urban indigenous peoples. Speaker 1 00:00:43 My name is Ian Corey. I'm a two-Spirit Ink, but I currently live on the unseated Quin territory known as Ottawa. I'm really grateful to have been asked to gas produce this episode or to be continued and also really grateful that I get to be here speaking with my good friend Jennifer Brun. Renee ran, um, Jennifer is a decolonial feminist queer artist based in the Ottawa GAO area. She's indigenous, have mixed ancestry can <unk> Algonquin and French settler on her maternal side, and Brazilian Tobi Goran and Ukrainian aka pater. Right. Jennifer's art pulls from the woodland style of painting Latin American folk art and magical realism. If you would like to say hi Jen, um, and if I mispronounced anything or didn't include anything, please feel free to adjust. No, thank you for that introduction. You did perfectly. A lot of those words were, are not easy to, uh, print out <laugh>. Speaker 1 00:01:44 Um, but yeah, as you mentioned, I'm a multi, uh, disciplinary artist and a multicultural artist, so it kind of compliments each other. Yeah. And I'm really grateful to have gotten the opportunity to do this podcast today and chat with you and have more of a grassroots, holistic conversation, um, and share our thoughts with, with everyone. Yeah. Um, cool. So this episode will basically be talking about the concept of longing, nostalgia and number is as to diasporic indigenous folks and how these things impact our art. Um, I guess to start off, um, we can maybe talk a little bit about how we know each other. Yeah. Well I'll, we met when was it, 2018 I think. Yeah. So I was 18 at the time and I was eager to build like a sense of community around like an, an indigenous community around me. So that's when I decided to go and we met through Bumble friends. Speaker 1 00:02:55 Yeah. <laugh>. And we immediately connected cuz we were both indigenous. That was my first connection in building like my little like Nietzsche community in Ottawa. And yeah, you you were the first so that it it's very special to me. Yeah. I like, it's a very similar situation for me where I had just moved to Ottawa like maybe like a month before and hadn't really made any friends yet. Jen was one of the first people to like be my friend, and so that was a really special experience. Um, I think the first thing we did together was like go to, um, the Museum of Civilization and we got to see the exhibition. It was actually on the Arctic, which was kind of cool. Yeah. Yeah. I <laugh> I think it was the Franklin Expedition, which like in hindsight now is like super apropo to like the work we do now and like, kind of like the politics and the social commentary around our art. Speaker 1 00:03:59 Yeah. Speaking of that, you made me wanna talk more about the politics within your art than the, um, and I guess in general, just like how did your artistic practice develop? Because I remember when we first met, um, we weren't very serious about art. It wasn't really something that had come up too much. Um, and like then versus now as it's like a big kind of adjustment or change, I guess in that sense because we are very much focused on art and how to make that into something worthwhile, I guess, in the sense of the conversations that we're having in our art. Yeah, for sure. So at the time I think art's always been like a big interest of mine. Um, but I never really considered it as a means or a tool to express, um, my lived experience or my politics or social commentary. Speaker 1 00:05:05 I, I didn't really learn it as a vehicle to do that. And I even went to, I was in visual arts in college and still didn't get that experience. And when I did try to do that, I was labeled as being too political or, um, stereotyped as like the angry Indian character, um, and that I hated Canada and that a lot of my energy was negative. Um, so I wasn't in an environment that was very supportive or conducive to that. It's only once I like moved out on my own, got out of school that I truly started to use art, like for my own purposes and like channeling, uh, important like issues that were important to me, like, uh, decolonization, uh, body positivity or body a better term would be body neutrality, queer rights, gay liberation, kind of in the same grouping. And, um, environmentalism. Speaker 1 00:06:21 What about you? What was that moment or that change, when was that for you? Where like you started considering it more seriously? Like this could be, uh, a career or something that you could reach out to people with? Yeah. Um, I think, again, similarly to you, I, art had always been an interest of mine and like even to the point where like in grade six I think I was like, oh, I'll be a writer one day and then just kind of like it got a little lost, um, at certain points in my life. Um, and then when I moved to Ottawa, it became very clear to me that in the sense of like being indigenous, being indigenous in a place away from home and needing to, or feeling the need to, I guess represent annuity in certain ways. And obviously I'm not the the end all be all voice that being me. Speaker 1 00:07:23 Um, but like feeling a definite need to be a source of, um, I guess like to speak out about like certain injustices, intermediate face and that indigenous people's face. But also, I guess along the way it became also about shell casing like culture and, and not just the injustices because there can be like this sense of like trauma porn for a lot of indigenous people where only the negative is seen and talked about. Um, and yeah, I guess just within moving to Ottawa, that became very clear to me that these were things that I wanted and needed to do, um, as an individual and art kind of was a really great way for me to be able to express myself in that way. And so yeah, as I kind of grasped these concepts more concretely, um, it became just second degree to like expressing myself, um, with art in that way. Speaker 1 00:08:25 Um, yeah, so definitely a lot of the topics in my art are like just, um, things that I've seen as an inno. Um, like a lot of it it has to do with like, um, family and relationships and whether that be to the land or to people or to like, um, community and even to food. Like, I explore that a lot in my, in my art lately. But yeah, it became a really good tool in terms of like education but also showcasing culture. Um, and that was really important to me. Right. And I guess as two people, two indigenous people living in an urban area, sometimes it's you feel like you have even more of an obligation to showcase your culture because you're not living it. It's not omnipresent like it would be if you were in your community. So taking that extra initiative of making art related to your culture, wearing bead earrings every day, like incorporating it into your every day. Yeah. As a like, urban, indigenous, uh, people. I think that's a very common experience, Speaker 1 00:09:50 Which leads me to like a good question, I think. And in relation to that, and I guess it's like how do we connect to other indigenous people and through our art, um, how do we connect to community through our art and like how do we express longing for our communities through that? Well, I guess it's a realization and also it's intentional, but also a realization, um, where I've been like, there's a lot of crossover between my experience as an indigenous person in Canada and being, uh, Latinx, like, because there's uh, a similar co colonial history and colonial trauma I've noticed. Yeah, a lot. There's a lot of parallels and I draw on that in my art. So I kind of am able to connect both communities. Um, and it's able to speak not only to like indigenous folks in North America, but it can speak to people. Speaker 1 00:10:59 Um, like it, it spans the border, right? Um, it can, it speaks to, uh, indigenous folks in Brazil where I'm from, but also like other countries. And because I have that link, it kind of broadened my view that even more so like I want to learn an exchange from other indigenous cultures. Like I, I I would love to kind of learn more and visit and experience Maori art and culture or anything within the, like, Polynesia that would be awesome. Um, just knowing that it's all interconnected, I guess, by realizing that, oh, my dad's like colonial trauma and indigeneity is very similar to my mom's. Um, and then realizing how everything is very interconnected and then learning, oh, like this country also has a history of residential schools and, um, just like, yeah, feeling of unity and wanting to, uh, learn more and just expand my horizons. Speaker 1 00:12:15 What about you? Um, yeah, I guess I feel a lot of the same ways and, but like from my context it's like, it's a little bit different because like I'm an oak arm and Scottish on my maternal side and um, like, just like always and Scottish on my paternal side. So there's not like that duality of indigenous cultures, I guess, um, that you have experienced. Um, but I guess in terms of like connecting, I feel that's really important, especially as people who have historically been disconnected from each other or attempted to be disconnected from each other. It becomes kind of like special to reinvent those connections to, to reestablish them rather. Um, and I think there is like a, again, that longing there. For example, like when I see other indigenous people celebrating our cultures in certain ways, I'm like, wow, I I really appreciate that. Speaker 1 00:13:17 I wish this for, for inu meet as well. Um, and it's like a very like empowering thing to see indigenous peoples worldwide, like, um, taking back their cultures in that sense. And I guess if we were to connect it to art, um, in my art specifically, because that's what I, that's what I can talk about, I guess. I feel like, um, because I'm also a tattoo artist, like an indigenous tattoo artist, um, or inmate tattoo artist more specifically, I have found some connection there with other indigenous tattoo artists and other indigenous peoples where I've like gotten the opportunity to learn more about their cultural practices as well as my own. Um, and that like we in, in the most wholesome sense are able to like, take lessons from each other and collaborate in a way that that doesn't like appropriate I guess, but like appreciates and um, uses the knowledge of others, um, to reestablish those, those pieces of knowledge that weren't, that were like dormant. Speaker 1 00:14:37 So I guess, yeah, it is super important for me to learn from other indigenous cultures and like to connect with in other indigenous people in that way. Yeah. Um, it's funny you mentioned that cuz like, like indigenous tattooing Yeah, exactly. Something that takes place in North America, south America and Polynesia, et cetera. Like, and actually in 2019 I went back to Brazil, um, to visit my father and that's when I started my ear stretching journey. Um, because I had seen that a lot of my ancestors on my tupe Guran side, um, that up until recently it was very, very common for them to have stretched ears and I had always appreciated the style and now I, like, once I went there really validated it for me. And I started that journey, uh, after, after that. And now I love them and it's, uh, again, a constant reminder for me that I'm connected to, um, my ancestors. Speaker 1 00:15:54 Uh, it doesn't necessarily need to be like big beaded earrings every day for me it's just like a body modification that was a tradition for hundreds of years that I've now taken on myself, uh, which is similar to tattooing as well. Yeah. Um, I didn't know that. That's cool. But yeah, I guess on a, like speaking of like on a cultural level, how does longing arise in self-taught art? Because I know you're, uh, you went to school for art, but you, you're also, you are primarily self-taught as well. Um, and so how does that Yeah. Arise on a cultural level? How is the need I guess, to self-teach a product of colonialism? Uh, well, I mean I, I guess I, I don't know if this is necessarily connected. It probably it, it is, but like I have felt the need to sell to teach myself because on a, I guess professional level or academic level, when I was in school, the art training I was getting, none of it was from an indigenous perspective. Speaker 1 00:17:16 Everything was from was Western, all the standards were western, like what is considered high art, low art. We were all abiding by this western system, which is probably why I was so miserable and failing. And people didn't really understand that. They were like, why are, uh, are you like failing in your classes? So why are you miserable? You're so good at art. And it's because there's the epistemology, um, at the college, at their curriculum was so, um, so colonial and so western that it wasn't conducive for not only indigenous, but like for bipo people to learn. Like, um, it wasn't a nurturing environment for them and I wasn't able to develop my personal style there. So it was only, yeah, afterwards where I felt like I really, like if I want to learn indigenous, floral, uh, patterns, if I want to learn, uh, bead work, if I want to learn even just like renowned contemporary indigenous artists, that it's gonna have to be of my own volition. Speaker 1 00:18:36 It's gonna have to be my own initiative. And luckily I was able to do that. That was facilitated, sorry, because I had a community, I had built a community with you and, uh, other indigenous folks. Um, so that, that was easier. I wasn't, I didn't have to do it completely alone, but I mean a lot of us do. And I just feel like sometimes it is like not necessarily a privilege, but by envy sometimes some people who like grew up with access to all that cultural or knowledge or artistic knowledge and didn't have to self-teach. Not that I did grow up with some, I did grow up with a lot of sacred and traditional and cultural knowledge, but like how to channel it into my art. Yeah. I, I sometimes envy, like for example on the West coast, um, I feel like that that is like very, very intertwined like expression of cultured art. Speaker 1 00:19:47 So like with, uh, totem poles or, um, carving or like just the culture and art is so omnipresent. It's so like, it's like entwined with entwined. Yeah. It's so ingrained in there every day I get, yeah, I guess envious of that. Um, and that for here, because we were an earlier point of contact, that that is, uh, fortunately further away from us, so we have to put in more effort to reclaim and revitalize those practices. Yeah, I think from my own experience, um, being kind of a later point of contact, um, it, we still in our communities have a lot of that knowledge. Um, but then when it comes to expressing that as there's a little bit of a disconnect in some ways, um, because we have, um, a lot of trauma in regards to like being free, able to freely express ourselves, um, which leads to a bunch of other different problems, um, within our communities. Speaker 1 00:21:04 Um, but in like for specifically what comes to mind when I think of like being self-taught, um, as an artist and having to kind of like forge your own path in that sense, I guess. Um, I think about like my grandmother and having access to her as a teacher and a knowledge keeper, um, and her kind of guiding me on how to like sew traditional clothing. And then once that connection was gone when she passed away, like I didn't have that teacher anymore and, and now like at this point where I have to learn those things myself and it's kind of a daunting experience of like reaching, trying to reach out to different community members and like saying, Hey, can you help me with this? Like, they don't necessarily know everything that I want to know about this, but also like learning from YouTube tutorials, <laugh>, um, on how to like solo parka. Speaker 1 00:22:03 Um, but like how that I guess is impacted how that has impacted my art, um, is like, I very much have had to like find my own style and like find what has been meaningful for me. And, um, taking that and putting that into graphics individuals I guess in the best way that I can because like I don't have all those experiences that I wish I had sometimes because of like that disconnect that is sometimes present. Um, and indigenous culture is because of the, as a result of colonization. It's, it's a bit of a difficult thing to even like talk about because like you, I find want to like speak about the difficulties, but also you don't want to discredit anyone. Or like, for me personally, like I don't wanna say like, oh, my community doesn't help me because that's not true. But um, but also like recognizing that there's only so much that a community can do on there, still processing I guess all this, all this stuff that has happened, um, in regards to colonialism. Speaker 1 00:23:19 Yeah, I agree. Um, actually something I'm really, really thankful for that's often I guess maybe has a negative connotations to it is social media. Um, as an indigenous person, building community and asking questions and being able to reconnect and revitalize through Facebook and Instagram. But Facebook especially cuz Nitches love Facebook <laugh>, I swear like Nitches and like middle-aged white moms are like the only people keeping Facebook alive. Um, but I, yeah, I often hear like negative talk around social media and how, and it definitely, I do acknowledge how it can be, um, misused and can be toxic. Uh, however, I what's not often incorporated into the conversation is that this is the first time in history where like we finally have a no barrier platform for bipo people specifically, like in our case, indigenous people to share knowledge, um, and to have voices on in any other context we wouldn't be able to. Speaker 1 00:24:49 And so that, I'm very, very grateful for that. Uh, and I don't think it should be, the importance of that shouldn't be lessened. Uh, and also if you do have to resort to Facebook for questions about how to do certain, like how do I edge my bead work or how do I X Y, Z, there's no shame in that. And I feel like oftentimes being an urban indigenous, uh, people there is like, you feel like lesser than or less indigenous because you have to, uh, reach out, uh, and that it's not innate to you, but that's exactly what the system intended, right. By continuing to reach out and like challenging, like be being humble, showing humility and like even being maybe challenging yourself, even being embarrassed sometimes and asking questions, you're continuing to deconstruct that system. Yeah. It's so funny to me that you mentioned Facebook because like I went recently, so just as like a bit of context, um, family photos, um, from like ancestors or like even just like three generations, four generations ago are really difficult to find if you, um, don't have them in your family, um, directly. Speaker 1 00:26:18 So like for in, um, unless you have like the photos that were taken by like anthropologists of your great great-grandfather, then they're kind of lost. So recently went on like this deep dive of like looking for family photos. Um, and one of the places I actually did that was Facebook because that's, that's where a lot of relatives are. That's, and I actually did find some photos of like my great great grandfather, um, and, um, my great grandmother and my grandmother when she was a child in the 1950s. Um, so it's like very much again, the system of having to search, having to put herself out there to gain knowledge, to, to find out these things, to find family photos, um, like it's, it becomes this journey and this search to actually discover anything. And that, that's difficult through some ways, but it's also like, it's very connecting, I think to be able to like go on Facebook and type in someone's name or like, um, family's names and then be able to find photos of 'em. Speaker 1 00:27:34 Um, and I, like, I speak about this particularly in the sense of like, a lot of my art again is family based. Um, so my first poetry book was a lot to do with my family and growing up Inwood. Um, and so these photos are basically like inspiration for me and practice, um, because like I now know what my four times great-grandfather looks like, um, when I didn't have that knowledge previously. Um, so making these connections and having the access to that information is really important as, especially as an, as an urban indigenous person. Yeah, I agree. Yeah. And I guess, yeah, the struggle with that is like, I sometimes gaslight myself in the sense that like, I'm like, well, if I have to search so intently to find these things, it's like, am I really privy to this information or to this cultural knowledge? Speaker 1 00:28:39 Uh, and then I'm like, okay, no, actually this is like this. Yeah, this is exactly what the colonial policies and colonial systems intended, uh, on happening where you feel like you are don't have a place and that to yeah, essentially have what have indigenous culture, language arts die off. So it is important to keep pushing even through like if you feel like, like those feelings of shame or embarrassment or if you're shy or feel out of place to push through those feelings. And that's led to a lot of like personal growth too. Yeah. I feel like being an indigenous person and one more over an indigenous artist is like a lot of the time putting yourself into these conversations and putting yourself, um, out there in that way. Um, like, um, networking has has been difficult for me because like for a lot of history, inate art was viewed as this one very specific thing, and it's like carvings and wall hangings and meant like, I love that. Speaker 1 00:30:00 That's amazing. Well, hangings and carvings are beautiful and should be appreciated, but there's also, as we move forward, a lot of different kinds of in Indian meat art, um, that need to be recognized as well. And as an artist that works on those kinds of, um, in, in the, in that practice and in different, um, methods, I guess, um, it becomes this, um, job of mine to also be like my own personal like promoter I guess. And that can be a little bit difficult at times as well because it's like, what do I say to, to validate myself to people who are like expecting something entirely different? Well, something that I've come to learn is that my art is indigenous inherently because it's made by an indigenous person. It doesn't have to abide by any, uh, tradition or, uh, notion or it like yeah, portrayal that we have of indigenous art or whatever. Like, it inherently is indigenous art because it's made by an indigenous artist and that's the end of the story, you know? Yeah, yeah. Um, yeah, I agree. Um, but that's like, it's like a journey to get to that realization. I feel like a lot of the time, Speaker 1 00:31:40 Not to like change the topic too, too much, but I also as like, as both queer artists, um, and I wanted to kind of touch on that and how that can create like a complica complicated dynamic between ourselves and our communities and like how that impacts our art. Um, because like I know personally, um, in a like coming from communities that are like, again, have been recently impacted by colon colonization, it's just a lot of knowledge about queer nets and how that was represented traditionally. It is not something that we talk about too often and, um, sometimes discouraged in both the traditional and modern sense. So like being queer in my community isn't something that I really, I'm not super open about it. Um, when I'm in my community, like if someone misgenders me or if someone like, um, dead names me, then I'm like, I don't really, yeah. Speaker 1 00:32:51 It's, it becomes this thing where I don't touch on that too much, um, just because there is like complications there. Um, but like how, I guess firstly do you have that experience? Um, how does queerness impact your art and how does community impact your queerness? Yeah. Um, so for me, uh, I go by shek. Those are my pronouns. And, and I think really the only thing stopping me from changing my pronouns fully they, them or being completely non-binary is um, the fact that I understand how colonization has impacted indigenous or communities of color and how that, that transition is not necessarily the easiest. I don't necessarily have empathy for like non-indigenous people who struggle with it, but, um, I do have, yeah, like for example, my, my Latino, my yeah Latinx family in Brazil are very Catholic, uh, very conservative. There's so much internalized racism, uh, within them. Speaker 1 00:34:13 There's a lot of homophobia and transphobia. So as a result, it's not a safe space for me to come out either as it's pansexual or non-binary. Even those concepts are like, so foreign because, um, the process of decolonization there is like, so it's like, it's not quite in the momentum that it is here, or at least where my family's from. It might be different in bigger cities like South Paulo or Rio Janeiro, but my family's from Roe Brazil, so <laugh>, that's a different story. Yeah. I just acknowledged that that is a consequence of colonial harm. It's, uh, intergenerational trauma. I don't necessarily blame them. I do think with every new generation that, that those behaviors are unlearned. But luckily here my family is extremely supportive and they're fully aware of my queerness and celebrated. Um, my mom is my number one supportive, uh, um, <laugh>, any time there's like mention of any anything L G b, lgbtq, she's like, actually daughter is <laugh>. Speaker 1 00:35:38 Um, and yeah, like so proud of that. Um, so it, it is funny to kind of have that contrast too, um, to kind of see like the difference, like, um, the different points in decolonization that, uh, both halfs are so, like my Brazilian half and my Canadian half, like how far along in decolonization my mom's family is versus my dad's family. Um, and I'm not quite sure what, like what are the reasons? I think just like religion in Brazil and South America in general is just still so powerful. Um, I think that's a huge factor. But, uh, yeah, and in my art, so I have kind of like reoccurring characters or, uh, personas, like figures, like reoccurring figures in my art and they're genderless cuz I would, I would like for, you know, anyone to be able to picture themselves or not necessarily picture themselves, but be representative of anyone, uh, whether you are male, female, two-spirit non-binary or not on the binary at all. Like, uh, every anything in between. So, um, in my art it's very important that it's not necessarily, it's not gendered. The themes are gendered usually sometimes they are. Cuz like recently I did one on body sovereignty, uh, in as a comment on the, uh, abortion rights issue going on in the us. Speaker 1 00:37:39 So that's specifically I guess something that has to do with afab people. But yeah. What about you? How does like queerness impact your art? Or Yeah. Specifically cuz you kind of explained how your relationship with queerness in your community, but how does it then kind of, how is it then incorporated into your art? Yeah. Um, I always feel like I'm walking kind of like a very delicate line when I approach the topic of queerness within my art. Um, recently, um, I did a photo series of like bead work and like, um, and the Inuit interpretation of like a ribbon skirt. So like I did that within with the pride flag colors, um, and then the bead work, I was on a chest binder with the pride light colors as well. Um, and so that felt like kind of scary to me to like be talking about these things within my art, um, and have it released on like a public level, um, where like it was very open to criticism from community members. Um, and again, there's that sense of empathy there that you were talking about, whereas like, I don't, um, begrudge, um, community who aren't there yet, um, within their acceptance of queerness. Um, because it is like a very, it's a very convoluted conversation Speaker 3 00:39:17 In it all, in a lot of indigenous communities. Um, there is that, that aspect of like heavily, um, being heavily Christianized, um, as a result of colonization and how that has impacted our views on queerness as a community. Um, so like I very much try to keep that in mind, um, and not take things to heart too much, um, when I receive criticisms on my gender or my sexuality, um, and being open about these things. Um, but it is still like, I, like I mentioned the kind of like a scary conversation to to, to broach. Um, but I think it's a very important one to, to bring to light as well. And I think a lot of other INI artists are beginning to do that or have been doing that as well, um, in the sense that like, these are things that need to be talked about, um, because queer newly exist, um, and like especially for me, it's important to talk about for like our youth who are still living in their communities who may not be as accepting, um, and kind of may feel alone because like, I remember when I was growing up, um, like I didn't even really know being trans was a thing, um, because it wasn't discussed in our communities. Speaker 3 00:40:46 And, um, like I remember coming outta Dubai and that was a big deal and it was only within like my very close family circle, um, that I came out because I didn't really feel comfortable coming out to anyone else. So like that, that aspect of like not feeling, um, seen and not feeling heard is something that I really think needs to change. Um, and I hope that that conversation can start, um, and that it can be contributed to through art. Um, and like hopefully, um, when I made those, that binder, that chest binder, that beaded chest binder and that skirt with the pride flag colors, um, that was a contribution to that conversation, I hope. Um, so, uh, yeah, I think it's again, a delicate line, but one that needs to be walked. Speaker 1 00:41:46 Yeah. Um, actually I was gonna raise with you, like I know that there's, um, like behind like your tattoos for example. Um, I remember having a discussion with you where you were trying to find if there were, um, traditional tattoos for people who identified as Two-Spirit. Yeah, yeah. Um, that I am still currently looking. I'm not sure if there were, um, I've had conversations with several other tattoo artists and knowledge keepers, but it's like a lot of that knowledge is very pushed down, very deep, so like speaking Speaker 3 00:42:34 To others about it and not a lot of Speaker 1 00:42:36 Elders that I know of feel comfortable talking about these things. Um, and that was like the case for tattoos in general just like 10 years ago where that wasn't something that they wanted to talk about. And I guess that gives me hope in some ways in the sense that like maybe queerness can be talked about a little bit more, um, on a bigger scale. But in terms of like, um, tattoos, virtue spirit individuals, it becomes a little complicated because like the way we view modern identities, certain gender and sexuality is not the way they would've been viewed traditionally. Speaker 3 00:43:13 Um, and there were different roles and different terms that we would've used to describe them. Right. So Speaker 1 00:43:18 Yeah, like if I went up to an journal was like, Hey, do we have, did we have two-spirit tattoos? They'd be like, what's two-spirit? Um, because there wasn't, it's not like necessarily a concept that they'd recognize. Um, so that becomes, I guess there is, again, going back to the theme of like longing, there is longing there for those identifiers that, um, are becoming deeply meaningful. Like my tattoos, they will come really at times of like difficult, um, difficulty in my life and have helped me to afford. So to have ones that specifically, Speaker 3 00:43:56 Um, represented my identity as a two-spirit individual would be like very important. Um, but also, I don't know if we're necessarily there yet. Speaker 1 00:44:09 Right. Speaker 3 00:44:10 I wanted to end on, um, the term that you brought up a while back. Um, the Portuguese term, uh, <unk>, um, which you said isn't really translatable, but it means in some sense, like, um, it's in relation to nostalgia. Um, so I guess what does that word mean to you personally and how has it come to relate to your artistic practices? Speaker 1 00:44:42 Yeah. Um, Soji is, uh, yeah, it's a Portuguese word that just means like it's a melancholic nostalgia or longing for a place or person. Uh, it's not necessarily like yeah, tangible. Uh, and it's really a longing. It's like a, a visceral feeling. I love that word. I love that it's untranslatable, um, because it's often not explain like that feeling that you get that left longing nostalgia often. Like you can't really explain it either. Um, and for me, that was, that term has always been super, um, I've always really connected to that term, uh, because when I revisited Brazil in 2019, like if I could encompass the whole experience in one word, it would be that word, so daji, because I went there and I was 20 years old, but immediately I, once I got there, I was transported back to being a child and I didn't know why. Speaker 1 00:46:07 And it's because I had so much unresolved conflict and trauma with my father and with that side of the family with that, just even identifying as part of that culture that I ha I almost regressed, uh, to being back to the point, the the starting point, uh, when I was there last, which was when I was five. Um, and so because of that I had a lot of fight or flight moments, um, when having conversations with my dad or my family or, um, yeah, even just doing, um, when they would suggest like, like suggest activities or like sleeping, um, at it was like a family friend's cottage, and I was just like, there was in it like immediately a fight or flight triggered in me and I was like, why is that? And it's because, yeah, last time I was there, um, I was a child and I was very scared and there was a lot of things on like left unresolved. Speaker 1 00:47:31 And then once I came, well, once I came back I realized like it made so much more sense to me, um, why my grandfather was the way he was <laugh>. Um, yeah, like, just like the way he behaved and, uh, his anxieties around going back to his community, um, and always having that fight or flight instinct, uh, and maybe some hostility even. It made so much more sense to me and I could connect to him better because I went through that myself, uh, firsthand, and I had to go, I don't know, like a hundred hundreds of thousands of like kilometers away to experience that. Um, but yeah, it finally clicked because a lot of the time before I resented my grandfather for kind of being more reserved and not sharing as much cultural knowledge as I would've wanted to or yeah. Uh, not exposing me to as much indigenous yeah. Speaker 1 00:48:45 Culture as I would've wanted to. Um, and now, yeah, it made sense that he had a two ultras relationship with his community and, uh, yeah, it just, it's all clicked in and unfortunately he, um, passed away that same year actually. So, uh, it's often sad that like he come to those realizations and it's too late. Yeah. Or it's not necessarily too late, but it's just, you can't have those conversations face to face. Yeah. I can't tell him that. I I understand you and like I have compassion for where you're coming from and I like that I don't hold any animosity towards him forward being this way. Yeah. I guess, yeah, there is a word in, um, tu for not necessarily the same thing because Inuit I find, especially as I learn more, I mean that is like very, it's a very direct language <laugh>. Um, for example, the, the word for pride and in isn't necessarily directly translated to pride. It's like, I'm happy for you because like Ani saw pride as like, Speaker 3 00:50:12 Not a, not a virtue that was like super, um, encouraged in the sense that like, the way we viewed the western concept of pride was like, oh no, we don't, we don't want that <laugh>. Like, um, we wanna be happy for each other, we wanna happy for ourselves kinda thing. Um, but like the word, the word for memories, um, is a good, sorry, um, is like, um, one that I've explored within my writing. Um, and it's like something that I've also explored, not directly, but like the sense of like memories, um, through like a lot of my art, um, basically all of my art is in an exploration of like memories, whether they be mine or like an ancestor's memories, um, like my grandmother's or my, like going to residential school or, um, yeah, it's, it's all just in relation to each other. Um, and that's like really I find impactful for me as an artist and hopefully impactful for the people who are viewing my art as well. But yeah, thank you so much for having this conversation with me. Um, I, yeah, I, I just like talking to you in general as a friend. You're amazing. And I'll make an artist like, go check out Jennifer's artwork if you haven't already. Like, it's, it's just the best. Um, uh, yeah. Speaker 4 00:51:57 Thank you so much. My, um, number one hype man. Um, hype man, gender neutral, um, <laugh>, um, uh, yes, I always love talking to you. Um, and I always feel like I learn, like I, I come back looking at things a bit differently every time I talk to you or that we always find out that we have something in common, like another thing in common that we didn't know about. Um, so I, I really cherish, um, our conversations and I'm glad that this can be memorialized in this podcast and can be shared and that others can now relate to us as well. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:52:45 Thanks for joining us for another episode. Don't forget to subscribe. Leave us a rating and a review. It helps us get that much more of a platform to be continued troubling. The archive is hosted and produced by Anna Hawk. Technical support for the show comes through from Finn's son. A major thanks goes to Hunter Dee for their wonderful work in creating the logo for the series. The Intro and Outdoor Commission works by artist Chris Bucko Binowski. The show would not be possible without the support of Qag and the Canna Council for the, the Arts Digital Now Grant.

Other Episodes

Episode 4

February 20, 2023 00:36:34
Episode Cover

Ep. 4: Jayel Lamont and Feza Lugoma with Keegan Prempeh

Episode 4 features guest producer Keegan Prempeh with guests Jayel Lamont and Feza Lugoma in a conversation exploring their relationships with Blackness, artistic expression...

Listen

Episode 4

October 20, 2020 00:57:43
Episode Cover

Ep. 4: Mikki Bradshaw and Ghaida Moussa

Welcome to Episode 4 of “To Be Continued: A Stonecroft Symposium Podcast”!  In this episode, Mikki Bradshaw and Ghaida Moussa talk DJing, queer spaces,...

Listen

Episode 1

December 08, 2022 00:01:58
Episode Cover

To Be Continued: Troubling the Archive - Season 3 Trailer

CUAG invites you to join host Anna Shah Hoque and guest producers Aedan Corey, Matt Miwa, Kole Peplinskie, Keegan Prempeh and Summer-Harmony Twenish for...

Listen