in parallel – The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

February 3rd to May 14th, 2023

“How do we put differing liberation movements in dialogue to find the shared experiences that can make all of us co-conspirators, comrades, and allies? In her photographs, Anique Jordan confronts racist stereotypes with intimate portraits of Black people, while Julia Rose Sutherland engages with Indigenous traditions and knowledge to create sculptures that foster a collective healing. Joi T. Arcand reclaims Indigenous land with a site-specific commission that marks The Power Plant’s Fleck Clerestory with affirmations in nēhiyawēwin (Cree), while Simon Fuh’s vinyls retrace the original paths of two rivers in Ontario that colonists rerouted. A film co-directed by Rouzbeh Akhbari and Felix Kalmenson, and sculptures by Aylan Couchie reveal how nation-states continuously disrupt lands and people.”

noondam na? (do you hear?) (2019) and aggressive assimilation (2013)
aki (2018) and it beats inside all who speak for those who can’t (2014)

Artworks and past curatorial writing

“waabandiwag”, exhibition essay by Natalie King, Xpace Cultural Centre (2019)

noondam na? (do you hear?) (2019)
audio & sculptural installation
iPod, hand-drum frame, fabric and embroidery thread

Across the world, Indigenous Nations fight for their land, their waters, their sovereignty.  Noondam na invites you to listen to the layered voices of five Nations gathered in protest…and song. From New Zealand to Standing Rock, Brazil to Hawaii – though separated by oceans and thousands of miles, their hearts drum in unison with each other, and with the land. They fight for their rights, the rights of the land, and, in doing so, our collective futures in these uncertain times of climate crisis. #LANDBACK

noondam na? (do you hear?) (2019) was created in 2019 for waabandiwag, Xpace Cultural Centre, Toronto, ON, curated by Natalie King.

Hear the audio for this work here:

“Settling in Place: An Interview with Guest Curator Andrea Fatona by MacLaren Curator Emily McKibbon”, MacLaren Art Gallery (2019)

sage, cedar, sweetgrass ashes, wood, acrylic

The gallery installation of Aki builds upon the phrasing found in Lands engraved bricks, informing the words further through materials and mode of display. Aki reflects upon the significance and preciousness of land and language to Indigenous peoples. These words, carefully stenciled using the ashes of three sacred medicines, elude to healing, cleansing, to starting anew. Working through the process of re-creating these acknowledgements requires patience, time and care so as to not disrupt. The decision to display this work, on plinths under the protection of clear vitrines, speaks as much to the value of these words in material form as it does to Nishinaabemwin, one of many Indigenous languages requiring protection following decades of attempted erasure via policies of assimilation.

(more photos)

“niigaanikwewag at Art Gallery of Mississauga”, exhibition review by Terence Dick, Akimblog

it beats inside all who speak for those who can’t 
6.5’ Height
Wood, Fabric, Sinew, Embroidery Floss

For decades, Indigenous women have been gathering each February and throughout the year to call attention to Canada’s disproportionately high ratio of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG2S). These women work tirelessly in their advocacy, raising their voices in protest, drumming and song on behalf of those who’ve been silenced. it beats inside all who speak for those who can’t pays tribute to these impassioned and dedicated women. Stretched across this large-scale hand-drum, a gauze swathe holds the Women’s Warrior Song within its embroidery. The song, intrinsic to this advocacy, has been transposed to pattern and stitched into the delicate swathe as a visual offering of those whose voices have gone silent.

(more photos)

Aggressive Assimilation
5′ Height
Wood, Steel & Found Object

(more photos)

About Aylan Couchie

BIO: Aylan Couchie (she/her) is a Nishnaabekwe interdisciplinary artist and writer hailing from Nipissing First Nation. She is a NSCAD University alumna achieving a BFA in sculpture and installation. She received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design at OCAD University where she focused her thesis on reconciliation and its relationship to monument and public art. She’s currently in her third year of study at Queen’s University where she’s working on her PhD in the Cultural Studies program researching areas of land+language+Indigenous placemaking through mapping, naming and public art. Her research-based practice has broadly explored the intersections of colonial/First Nations histories of place, culture and Indigenous erasure as well as issues of (mis)representation and cultural appropriation. She’s been the recipient of several awards including an “Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture” award through the International Sculpture Centre and a Premier’s Award through Ontario Colleges. Most recently, she was chosen by Queen’s University as their nominee for the 2023 SSHRC Talent Award. She served as Chair of Native Women in the Arts until 2020 and lives and works from her home community of Nipissing First Nation in Northern Ontario.

CV & Contact Info

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Aylan Couchie is an Anishinaabe interdisciplinary artist and writer hailing from Nipissing First Nation in Northern Ontario.

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