Artist
Ursula Johnson

Mi’kmaw / Canada
www.ursulajohnson.ca

Ursula Johnson holds a BFA (2006) from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where she studied photography, drawing and textiles. She also studied Theatre at Cape Breton University. Johnson descends from a long line of Mi’kmaw Artists, including her late Great-Grandmother, Caroline Gould, from whom she learned basket making. In 2010 she curated Klokowej: A 30-Year Retrospective commemorating Gould’s contribution to the evolution of Mi’kmaw basketry. Ursula Johnson’s approach to basketry is typical of her transformational practice. Rather than simply imitating traditional Mi’kmaw basket forms she uses traditional techniques to build subtly non-functional forms—objects that are clearly traditionally based yet raised to a metaphorical level of signification, as works of art. Several of her performances, including Elmiet (2010) and Basket Weaving (2011) incorporate basketry as a key element.

Her background in theatre is evident in her public performances. People who attend Johnson’s performances are often surprised to find themselves no longer spectators, but actors in a social situation. Instead of the private, contemplative response we usually expect from the encounter with a work of art, we become participants in collective interpretations and collaborative actions.

Performance
MONOMYTHS Stage 1

Conceived and curated by Shannon Cochrane and Jess Dobkin
Presented by FADO in the context of Progress


MONOMYTHS Stage 1: The Ordinary World

Nikamon Ochi Askiy (Ke’tapekiaq Ma’qimikew): The Land Sings
Ursula Johnson, in collaboration with Cheryl L’Hirondelle 

Post Performance / Conversation Action
Maria Hupfield

Nikamon Ochi Askiy (Ke’tapekiaq Ma’qimikew): The Land Sings is an audio-based endurance performance by Ursula Johnson created in collaboration with Cheryl L’Hirondelle, and is offered as an apology to the land for the ways in which our human impact has shifted and shaped the landscape, displacing the voices of many First Nations. 

Ursula Johnson and Maria Hupfield’s works are presented in conjunction with #callresponse, a Canada Council {Re}Conciliation initiative project. #callresponse positions the work of First Nations, Inuit and MĂ©tis women and artists as central to the strength and healing of their communities. This socially engaged project focuses on the “act of doing” through performative actions, highlighting the responsibility of voice and necessity of communal dialogue practiced by Indigenous Peoples. #callresponse is a multifaceted project which brings together five site-specific art commissions that invite collaboration with individuals, communities, lands and institutions, culminating in an exhibition in October 2016 at grunt gallery in Vancouver. The The fifth visitation of Ke’tapekiaq Ma’qimikew: The Land Sings will be a part of this exhibition.

Following The Land Sings, Maria Hupfield presents Post Performance / Conversation Action, a hybrid performance and conversation with Ursula Johnson and Cheryl L’Hirondelle on how revitalization, collaboration, and the act of refusal are used in performance art to shape current dialogue on Reconciliation.


MONOMYTHS invites a diverse collection of artists, scholars, and activists to revise Joseph Campbell’s conception of the hero’s journey through performance art, lectures, workshops, and other offerings. This new assemblage of non-linear un-narratives proposes a cultural, political and social feminist re-visioning of the world. The MONOMYTHS perception of the universal journey dispels the notion of the lone patriarchal figure on a conquest to vanquish his demons–both inner and outer–in consideration of community, collectivity, and collaboration.

SummerWorks, in partnership with The Theatre Centre and a roster of Toronto theatre and performance organizations/presenters and companies including Aluna TheatreDancemakers, FADO Performance Art Centre, SummerworksThe Theatre Centre and Volcano Theatre brings the world to Toronto with Progress, an international festival of performance and ideas from January 14–February 7, 2016.

Performance Yellow

This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer