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National Arts Centre Indigenous theatre honours trailblazing artists at Moshkamo opening – APTN News

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Shelby Lisk and Annette Francis
APTN News
On a grey Saturday morning, dozens of canoers sat on the edge of the Rideau Canal just outside downtown in Ottawa waiting to make the historic journey to the National Arts Centre to officially open the Indigenous theatre festival, Mòshkamo.

The paddlers included Algonquin Elders and Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation community members, along with NAC staff.

(Artistic Director, Kevin Loring, waves from his canoe during the procession along the Rideau Canal to open the NAC Indigenous theatre Mòshkamo festival. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

“I was so honoured, so deeply profoundly proud. No words to describe that feeling I had when I saw my people, our people, journey in that water. A practice we’ve been doing since time immemorial,” said Algonquin Elder Claudette Commanda.

“Some of us did not go into a canoe, but let me tell you, each and every one of us that are here right now at this moment, we are in that canoe, in spirit, in heart, in respect, love and kindness. Let us paddle that canoe together in peace and friendship.”

National Arts Centre

(Claudette Commanda beams with pride as she welcomes everyone on behalf of the Algonquin Nation. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

For the Algonquin Elder, the work that the National Arts Centre has done, with Kevin Loring, Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre, and Lori Marchand, Manager Director of Indigenous Theatre at the helm, is profound and unprecedented.

While she welcomed everyone on behalf of the Algonquin Nation, she shared her gratitude to the NAC.

“Thank you to the leaders of the National Art Centre. I truly appreciate that, we truly appreciate that and we know that indeed this is a true action of the rights relationship that was always intended between our ancestors and your ancestors,” said Commanda.

National Arts Centre

(NAC President and CEO, Christopher Deacon, addresses the packed crowd in the Canal Lobby at the NAC for the opening of the Mòshkamo festival. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

NAC President and CEO, Christopher Deacon, took the stage to acknowledge the work that has been going on behind the scenes to bring Mòshkamo to life.

He thanked the many people who have made this historic opening possible, including the Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Grand Chief Verna Polson and the Algonquin advisory council, who played a critical role in consulting with the NAC in the development of the Indigenous theatre.

He said Indigenous theatre is taking its rightful place next to the well-established English and French theatres at the NAC.

“Today, 50 years after the NAC’s grand opening, our engagement with Indigenous artists and commitment to their work has arrived at a new place. Our new commitment, made today, is to have Indigenous artists lead the creation and performance of Indigenous stories, music and dance,” said Deacon.

Kevin Loring was appointed Artistic Director on June 15, 2017 and has spent the last two years travelling the country to see Indigenous work and meet with artists and arts organizations.

Performing arts organizations from around the world have now started to contact Loring to consult on how to empower Indigenous arts in their own countries.

Loring, Nlaka’pamux from British Columbia’s Lytton First Nation, brought traditions from his home community to the opening, with a traditional blanketing ceremony to honour four Indigenous theatre trailblazers – Muriel Miguel, Tomson Highway, Margo Kane and Marie Clements.

National Arts Centre

(Kevin Loring hugs performing artist and writer, Margo Kane, as he brings her on stage to honour her work. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

With each actor, director or playwright they brought on stage, they told stories of how those visionaries influenced their own work and guided them to the place they are now – making history for Indigenous people at the NAC.

National Arts Centre

(Lori Marchand hugs Muriel Miguel during the blanketing ceremony for four Indigenous artists: Muriel Miguel, Tomson Highway, Margo Kane and Marie Clement. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

“We are honouring today, artists that have had a personal impact on the two of us. On our trajectory, on our artistry. They’ve blazed the trails that we walk on today. This exists because they have existed. This exists because they fought the battles that needed to be fought,” said Loring.

“This exists because of their love and today we are going to reflect that love back to them.”

The artists that were honoured included Kuna/Rappahannock choreographer, director and actor Muriel Miguel, Cree playwright and author Tomson Highway, Cree/Saulteaux performing artist and writer Margo Kane, and Métis playwright, performer, director, producer and screenwriter Marie Clement.

Marchand and Loring both told personal stories about the artists as they brought them on stage.

Marchand, a member of the Syilx (Okanagan) First Nation, mused about the first time she met Muriel Miguel at Native Earth performing arts, saying that it was the first time in her life that she had been in a room “full of people like herself”.

Loring described his first encounter with Tomson Highway’s work as the first Indigenous play he ever read in his life.

He performed a monologue from Highway’s play, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, for his university class in Kamloops, B.C.

“In that moment, I became an artist and that is all thanks to Tomson Highway,” said Loring.

Loring and Marchand reminded us all that this profound historic moment for the NAC Indigenous theatre comes from the years of hard work of Indigenous artists that came before.

National Arts Centre

(Muriel Miguel, Tomson Highway, Margo Kane and Marie Clements stand proud with their gifted blankets. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

The  Mòshkamo festival continues until September 29, with shows, workshops and masterclasses, including the play the unnatural and accidental women written by Marie Clements and directed by Muriel Miguel.

slisk@aptn.ca

afrancis@aptn.ca

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A Natural Fit of Music and Art – The New York Times

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Collaborations between United States museums and orchestras date to at least 1923, when the Cleveland Orchestra premiered a suite by Douglas Moore inspired by four works in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection.

But the partnerships are growing today among institutions of all sizes, as museums and orchestras seek new audiences.

In June, for example, Jazz at Lincoln Center performed a series of concerts called “Portraits of America: A Jazz Story.” A dozen members of the orchestra composed new pieces of music inspired by the works of such artists as Romare Bearden and Stuart Davis in the collection of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.

Accompanying the musical performances in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall was a digital presentation highlighting each work that inspired a composition. The museum also held a watch party of a live-streamed performance at its home in Arkansas.

Sandy Edwards, deputy director of the museum, called the watch party an “intimate” event and said the compositions “took our collection to a new place, creating an unexpected and provocative way for audiences to engage their senses beyond the visual.”

Some collaborations in the upcoming museum and orchestral seasons will mark important anniversaries, local in one case, national in the other. As Rebecca Salminen Witt, chief development and communications officer of the Detroit Historical Society, pointed out, “significant anniversaries are good markers for what history bears as important, what the public can connect to.”

The Detroit Historical Society and Detroit Symphony Orchestra are jointly celebrating the centennial of the city’s Orchestra Hall, which was designed by the theater architect C. Howard Crane and opened in 1919. Although it served as the home of the orchestra until 1939, from 1941 to 1951 it was renamed the Paradise Theatre and was a jazz concert hall; it then fell into disrepair before being saved in 1970 and restored, becoming the symphony’s home again in 1989.

To celebrate the hall’s 100th anniversary, the society lent a 1920 Dodge Model 30 car, owned by the former symphony vice president Horace Dodge, to the orchestra, which is displaying it for a month in the atrium of the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, a recent addition to the hall. The society also is creating special exhibitions of music-related memorabilia, including jazz-related items, that will be on display in the center through March, as well as at the Detroit Historical Museum early next year.

The New York Philharmonic is staging an elaborate multiyear initiative starting in February called “Project 19” to mark the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. A key offering will be a newly staged version of Virgil Thomson’s 1947 opera, with libretto by Gertrude Stein, “The Mother of Us All,” which tells the story of Susan B. Anthony, an early suffragist who died before the amendment giving women the right to vote was ratified. Other historical figures involved with the movement — ranging from Daniel Webster to Lillian Russell — are also portrayed. The production will be jointly presented by the orchestra, Juilliard School and Metropolitan Museum of Art in the museum’s Charles Engelhard Court, in its American wing.

Limor Tomer, general manager of the museum’s live arts program, said the museum and orchestra “are on the same page programmatically. We share a commitment to diversifying audiences for contemporary works by living artists.”

Another goal of this collaboration, added Deborah Borda, president and chief executive of the New York Philharmonic, is to attract younger audiences, who she hopes will find the opera “absolutely riveting in terms applicable to today.”

A similar collaboration will take place next spring in Cleveland, when the Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Orchestra, along with the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, Cleveland School of the Arts, Cleveland Public Library and Facing History and Ourselves, an educational nonprofit, will participate in a citywide festival called “Censored: Art & Power.”

The centerpiece of the festival will be three performances in May by the orchestra of the 1935 opera “Lulu,” written by the Austrian composer Alban Berg during the Nazis’ rise to power. Also featuring a program in the museum’s German Expressionist gallery about works made by artists considered “degenerate” by the Nazis, a display of books on this art in the museum’s library, and related concerts and lectures, the festival will “look at the relationship of art and politics in Berg’s lifetime,” said Franz Welser-Möst, the orchestra’s music director.

“Just as the character of Lulu is abused and abusive in her own way, we will look into how music and art can be abused by a system and how a system can turn people on one another. These are important topics, not only from the past but in today’s world,” Mr. Welser-Möst said.

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, whose musicians have been performing contemporary chamber music in the Tadao Ando-designed Pulitzer Arts Foundation since 2004, will continue this tradition in the current season. In January, as part of the museum’s Susan Philipsz’ “Seven Tears” exhibition, the orchestra will perform the world premiere of the live version of her “Study for Strings.” It is inspired by a 1943 composition of the same name written in the Theresienstadt concentration camp by Czech composer Pavel Haas and performed in a 1944 Nazi propaganda film about the camp; Haas was killed in Auschwitz in 1944.

Not all collaborations between museums and orchestras involve huge institutions. From January through May next year, the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Fla., will display over 100 set designs and original costumes from the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts in a traveling exhibition developed by the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. It will also offer live performances of classical music, opera, dance, theater and poetry, working with the local Florida Orchestra and Detroit-based orchestra Sphinx Virtuosi. Many performances will take place on a custom-built stage in the exhibition’s galleries.

And the Omaha Symphony will continue its ongoing collaboration with the Joslyn Art Museum, presenting concerts whose programs are inspired by works in the museum’s collection. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will perform the second movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 at a concert in May; its program is inspired by a Frank Stella mixed-media painting, “Nogaro,” named after an automotive racetrack in France.

“On some level, collaborations between museums and orchestras are the most natural thing. After all, all human beings paint, sing, dance, sculpt, draw and make music. Everyone connects with light, color, sound, line, movement, rhythm, texture and so on. It’s our institutions that have compartmentalized and separated the different art forms,” said Jesse Rosen, president and chief executive of the League of American Orchestras.

Music, added Arthur Cohen, chief executive of LaPlaca Cohen, an arts consulting and research firm, can enable museums to offer “new experiences around their collections” and attract new visitors of all ages, from Gen Z to people born before 1945.

He predicted there will be more such collaborations in the future, with art museums “adding new, live performance spaces.”

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Arts workshop to be held in Igloolik in November – Nunatsiaq News

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“Drumdancer” was Aija Komangapik’s award-winning entry into the 2019 Indigenous Arts & Stories contest. The Government of Nunavut plans to host an arts workshop, including drum dancing, in Igloolik next month.

Nunavut government is seeking both teachers and participants

By Nunatsiaq News

If you’re interested in participating in Inuit traditional drum dancing, chanting and throat singing, and you’re aged between 18 and 30, you may have the opportunity to participate in an arts workshop to be held in Igloolik next month.

The elders and youth division of the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Culture and Heritage is inviting young people from all 13 Qikiqtaaluk communities who are interested in attending the workshop, which will be held on Nov. 25-29, to get in touch to express their interest, according to a news release.

The elders and youth division is also seeking Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit keepers who are interested in passing down traditional knowledge to young Nunavummiut.

The deadline for applications is Friday, Oct. 25.

For more information, you can contact Leo Tulugarjuk, manager for elders programs at 867-934-2034; ltulugarjuk@gov.nu.ca or Sancia Irngaut, program officer for elders at 867- 934-2022; sirngaut@gov.nu.ca.

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Greta Thunberg will join Sustainabiliteens at #FridaysforFuture climate strike at Vancouver Art Gallery – Straight.com

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Expect throngs of young and old climate activists to converge on downtown Vancouver on Friday (October 25).

They’ll converge on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery to listen to a speech by their 16-year-old Swedish hero, Greta Thunberg, who will be making her first visit to the city.

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Thunberg attracted a crowd of 10,000 to 12,000 when she spoke recently in Edmonton.

When she spoke at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City in September, Thunberg emphasized the importance of keeping the global average temperature rise since the start of the Industrial Revolution to below 1.5 C.

“The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50 percent chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius] at the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control,” Thunberg told world leaders at the summit. “Fifty percent may be acceptable to you, but those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution, or the aspects of equity and climate justice.

“They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50 percent risk is simply not acceptable to us—we who have to live with the consequences,” she continued. “To have a 67 percent chance of staying below a 1.5-degrees global temperature rise—the best odds given by the IPCC—the world had 420 gigatonnes of CO2 left to emit back on January 1, 2018.

“Today, that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatonnes. How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just business as usual and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budgets will be entirely gone within less than eight-and-a-half years.”

Thunberg’s event in Vancouver will be hosted by the teen-climate group Sustainabiliteens Vancouver.

Last year, the north plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery was renamed šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square in honour of the region’s Indigenous heritage.

The name incorporates languages of all three Indigenous peoples in the region—the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish.

Video of Say it with us! šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square

This City of Vancouver video explains how to pronounce the name of  šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk Square.

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