Welcome to the network section of the UN/making Network in which the project provides introductions to other creatives working to help slow, disrupt, rectify, reduce, stop or repair colonial, industrial, capitalist, patriarchal and petrol centric perspectives and gestures towards land. Read a brief bio on each of the artists and then click on the links below to visit their websites or register for a series of free online artist interviews that dig deeper into un/making as a mindset, concept, process or outcome. If you know an artist who would help to expand the discussion and definition of unmaking within the sphere of visual arts, send us a link to their website or other pertinent social media.
Creating as UN/making
Join the UN/making Network on Thursday, January 19th from 7 - 8:30 PM for a free online artist talk with Anong Migwans Beam.
Sign up on Eventbrite to let us know you are coming.
Anong is mixed media painter, mother, paint-maker, and curator, living and working in her home community of M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island whose artistic work is influenced by her sense of place with many of her paintings inspired by the natural landscape and the relationship between water and memory. Having gained much foundational knowledge from her award-winning artist parents, Carl Beam and feminist artist Ann Elena Weatherby, Anong went on to attend Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Ontario College of Art and Design, Institute of American Indian Arts and York University.
Since, Beam has been actively involved in her local community. One of the founders of Gimaa Radio Communications, an English and Ojibwe language radio station in M'Chigeeng First Nation, Beam also served as the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation's Executive Director where she became an outspoken advocate for the preservation of Indigenous archaeology and Indigenous ceramics, and drew attention to the systems and institutions that uphold physical and monetary inequities that undermine the survival of Indigenous cultures and the education and traditions of their communities.
With many of her earliest memories being encounters with colour and learning to know them as forces and personas with emotions and powers, Anong launched her own line of watercolour and oil paints known as BEAM Paints in 2017.
Sourcing, Sharing & Curating
Notoriously known for her courageous and stinky research into fatbergs, Kirsty Robertson is the Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of Museum and Curatorial Studies at Western University, located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak, and Neutral (Chonnonton) peoples. Widely educated and published in areas of craftivism, textiles, and especially petrol-textiles, her interdisciplinary research focuses on museums, visual culture, contemporary art, environment, and activism across several disciplines and projects.
Also the founding director of the Centre for Sustainable Curating located in the Department of Visual Arts at Western University, the Centre supports research, exhibitions, visual/digital production, and pedagogy focused on environmental and social justice, undertakes collaborations with individuals and institutions to develop exhibitions and artworks with low carbon footprints, and develops co-learning environments in which undergraduate and graduate students create art and exhibitions with environmental awareness.
Rescuing, Adopting, & Reconfiguring as UN/making
Claire Bartleman is an Ontario based artist and educator who holds an MFA in studio art and an MA in art history and curatorial studies from Western University. Bartleman’s textile and sculptural-based practice focuses on sentimentality and the personal objects that we hold onto regardless of their practical utility. Embracing the history of the altered readymade, Bartleman has previously worked with unfinished and abandoned craft projects and is currently creating soft sculptures from worn wedding dresses. A sessional instructor at OCAD University, Bartleman has also worked as an educator at the Art Gallery of Ontario and with Workman Arts. Her lived experience with mental health contextualizes her commitment to decolonization, equity, and access in education.
Bartleman has been shown in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and London, Ontario, with exhibitions at XPACE, MKG 127, and Truck Contemporary; she is also the owner and operator of Lilliput Gallery, a tiny exhibition space in an Anne of Green Gables replica dollhouse.
To learn more about Claire and her practice, visit her website, Instagram account, and watch for the online video interview coming soon to the UN/making Network Youtube Channel.
Working to the Small & to Reduce Costs as UN/making
Amy Oliver is a UK based conceptual artist who draws from her own experiences of women’s rights and identity, domestic and sexual violence, mental health disorders and other invisible illnesses. From Oliver’s feminist perspective, she intentionally works to keep issues considered stigma visible by creating subtle, relatable artworks that allude to her fundamental core strength, while also expressing vulnerability and instability to portray both the fragile and durable elements of her existence. Also the founder and curator of The House of Smalls,
a gallery space created within a dollhouse during the Covid19 pandemic out of her frustration by the formulaic construct and prohibitive costs to submit or show work to the innumerable number of virtual galleries that sprang up during the worldwide lockdowns, Oliver worked to create an alternative, physical, interactive, affordable, and pre-dominantly woman-centric not-for-profit art space through a series of international art exhibits.
To read my interview with Amy, visit the January 15 UN/maker Series blog post. To learn more about Amy and The House of Smalls, visit her website and Instagram account.
Care & Repair as UN/making
Meera Sethi is a contemporary Canadian visual artist who lives and works as an immigrant-settler in Tkaronto (Toronto, Canada), the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, and Mississaugas of the Credit River. Exhibiting nationally and internationally, Sethi's interdisciplinary, intuitive, and research-based practice moves between mediums to ask critical questions about migration, memory, cloth, and care, and works at the intersection of the subjugated body and histories of cloth with a particular focus on South Asia and it’s diasporas. Sethi shares, “I am interested in the making, wearing, and disposing of cloth; the uses of clothing as a form of self-expression and resistance; and the ways textiles are constituted over vast geographies formed through empire, racial capitalism, caste, heteropatriarchy, and settler colonialism.
Empathy as UN/making
Michelle Wilson is an artist and mother currently residing as an uninvited guest on Treaty Six territory in London, Ontario. Successfully defending her SSHRC and OGS funded Ph.D. in May 2022 at the Western University, as a feminist of settler descent studying in colonial institutions, Wilson’s dissertation investigated and confronted the Euro-American archive and how the bodies of other animals are used to convey colonial knowledge systems, with their stories of survival used to perpetuate myths of "settler saviours."
Michelle’s ongoing projects include leading the Coves Collective, a group of art activist engaged in actions on the Land that challenge ideas of ownership and conservation, that is spearheading the ReMediating Soils Project; an interdisciplinary working group creatively responding to the idea of soil as a relational medium.
Palimpsest and Performance as UN/making
Nava Messas-Waxman is a Canadian interdisciplinary artist whose practice engages identity, memory, liminality, and notions of the body as an archive. Currently living in Toronto and a creative research fellow at the Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence, Messas-Waxman works at the intersections of choreography, performance, moving images, drawing, and installation to explore understandings of embodiment, technology, materiality, and mediation. Interested in choreographic, archival methods and maintaining an ongoing investigation into gestures, Nava is also focused on notions of liminality, the psychological process of transitioning across boundaries and borders, for how it influences the construction of identity and one’s creative practice.
To learn more about Nava Messas-Waxman and her practice, visit her website or watch her video recorded artist interview Palimpsest and Performance as UN/making now available on the UN/making Network YOUTUBE channel.
Rachel Epp Buller
Writing and Walking as UN/making
Rachel Epp Buller is a visual artist, feminist, art historian, professor and mother of three who holds a PhD in art history and an MFA in creative practice. Much of her artistic, written, and curatorial work has addressed the maternal body and feminist care in contemporary art contexts. Her current writing and artistic research explore slow practices, such as walking and stitching, with a particular focus on letter-writing as an act of relational care and a radical intervention into practices of academic scholarship. She privileges collaboration across disciplines and geographies and has contributed essays to many edited collections, journals, and exhibition catalogues. Also regularly reviewing books and exhibitions for Woman’s Art Journal, Hyperallergic, and others journals, Rachel is also a board member of the National Women’s Caucus for Art, a certified practitioner in Deep Listening, a Professor of Visual Arts and Design at Bethel College (KS/US), and exhibits and speaks about her work internationally.
Salvaging as UN/making
Twyla Exner is a Canadian artist who currently resides as a visitor on the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc territory, situated within the unceded ancestral lands of the Secwépemc Nation. Inspired by the wonders of nature and electronic equipment gone awry, Exner, both fascinated and repelled by technology and its increasingly invasive role in our daily lives, uses the materials and imagery of discarded electronics to arrive at wondrous and worrisome installations, sculptures and drawings that propose hybrids of technological structures and living organisms.
Holding a MFA from Concordia University (Montreal, QC) and having exhibited widely across and outside of Canada, Twyla is now an Assistant Professor at the Thompson Rivers University in the Department of Communications and Visual Arts in Kamloops, BC. To read her interview, visit the November 3, 2022 blog post Salvaging as UN/making. To view more of Twyla's work visit her website or Instagram account.
Removing and Back Sourcing as UN/making
Sharon Kallis (she/her, they/them) is a community engaged environmental artist and committed life-long learner who began working with materials from the land in 1999. While living as an uninvited guest on the unceded land of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Nations, Kallis is learning while teaching – teaching while learning – and is the founding executive director of EartHand Gleaners Society in which she partners with ecologists, gardeners, weavers and others interested in linking traditional hand technologies to what we can grow, gather and glean in our urban green spaces.
Kallis's use of the “one mile diet” approach to sourcing art materials has led to experiments in bio-remediation through up-purposing invasive plants and park design with planting choices that foster community connection back to place, the seasons, and our shared pre-industry cultural traditions. To learn more about Sharon, Check out the recording of the online interview held on Thursday, November 17 or visit Kallis's website or Instagram.