The Ephemerals do Santa Fe, NM

The Ephemerals with reoccurring associate Kerri-Lynn Reeves are back at it again!

This time through the Social Engagement Residency at IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) in Santa Fe, NM!!!! So “chi-miigs” to Patsy Phillips, Andrea Handley and the amazing team at MoCNA and also the funders: Artist Leadership Program for Museums and Cultural Institutions supported by the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution for bringing us here!!!!!! Mucho Mucho Miigwetch


Outsiders coming to “socially engage” with insiders…

What does this mean and imply? What will be our contact zone? Who will be our community? What happens after we leave? Questions upon questions about the role of the outsider/visitor/tourist and the implications on community/place. All explored through the vehicle that is art.

Outsiders in Santa Fe – Niki Little & Kerri-Lynn Reeves

Outsider/Insiders in Manitoba – Jaimie Isaac & Jenny Western

Insiders – Community of Santa Fe

Packing up, Niki Little & Kerri-Lynn Reeves head to the south-west leaving Jaimie Isaac & Jenny Western behind to receive tales about the travels. Examining the pilgrimage down from Canada to New Mexico, crossing political and cultural borders along the way, Niki & Kerri-Lynn hope to blur notions of performance and social justice in this story that can be reflected in their own engagement with MoCNA.

Coming to Santa Fe as visitors, and being highly aware of the consequences of cultural tourism especially as it is tied to socially engaged art practices, it is our intention in Santa Fe to devote the first week to getting to know the local culture as it is tied to the place/environment and its natural products, and the second week making material representation of our interpretations of this experience through a cultural product and subtle interventions. Both phases will be done while working closely with local residents: firstly to understand the traditional and historical context within which we are working, and secondly to become acquainted with the methods in which local makers are interpreting their own cultural understanding of place. Bringing in notions of pop culture and humour, food and dress will feature heavily in our engagement with Santa Fe.

Food is often the first place that a new culture is encountered in a new place. Linked to the quotidian and to the social history of dining, local food will be our entry point into the community of Santa Fe. As local food is guided by culture and the environment in tandem, Niki & Kerri-Lynn are mindfully dining locally each day, sending written and visual representations of the meals home to Jaimie & Jenny each day. This daily practice aims to acknowledges our position as visitors to a new land, and how we are representing our new experiences back to our homeplace. With an awareness of the landscape and it’s indigenous plants we are seeing and consuming extends to local natural dye plants, and we are connecting with local experts to expand our knowledge on this subject.

The plants collected will be used in the second week to dye and print fabric, in colours that indirectly reference historical art works found in the collections that we are visiting throughout our stay, and that directly reference the materials themselves and they place in which they are found. This fabric will be used to make wearable garments that are designed in consultation with local fashion designers that share our interest in how a historical culture is contemporarily interpreted visually and materially. These garments will be worn by us in subtle sartorial interventions at events at MOCNA and associated with Indian Market between Thursday and Saturday of our last weekend.

On Saturday, August 23rd we will be available outside of MoCNA from 12:30-1:30PM to engage with passerbyers in Conversational Art Exchanges that will be a social and a material exchange that reflects our experience of our two-weeks in Santa Fe. At 2:30PM we will be part of a panel discussion, along with fellow artist-in-residence Rosy Simas, reflecting on the residency.

To find out more, please visit IAIA MoCNA’s website HERE.


Trending Day 4

A flashmob! It’s the latest craze… from YouTube to the University of Winnipeg.

Dab your face with some warpaint and put a feather in your hair. A critical mass of Indigenous Peoples assembled to join forces with The Ephemerals:Trending performative embedments. People of all ages rallied together and walked the campus donning Indigenously-inspired accessories and clothing whilst following the beat of pow wow drum on the ipod-blaster. The trends of mob walkers and students collided, speaking volumes to these strikingly similar new fall fashion trends. Conversations were shared as to the inspiration of each look and the legacy of their acquisition.  It was at once a bizarre mix of performance, gathering and protest.

Trending Day 3

Video created 3 radio stars, special programming

The Ephemerals took over the CKUW 95.9 radio show from 11 – 12 noon today to discuss their project, Trending and the issues found within popular culture mediums such as music, art and fashion. We unpack ideas of cultural appropriation, misrepresentation and general identity politics. We play the good, the bad but relevant songs and audio clips.

Check out our first radio interview CKUW’s Eat your Arts and Vegetables 

Listen to The Ephemeral’s one hour broadcast on CKUW 95.9, its like Say it Sista with Feathers

Here are some of the tracks…

JB The First Lady “Get Ready Get Steady” (2011)

Buffy Sainte-Marie “Circle Game” (1970)

Charlie Hill on the RIchard Pryor Show (1977)

Johnny Preston “Running Bear” (1959)

Ghostkeeper “Haunted” (2010)

Trending Day 2

BANNNNNNOOOOOCCCCKKKKKK, Rollkuchen, Scones, Fry Bannock, Raisin Bannock, Bison Stew and Appropriated Baked Goods Bake Sale

Consumer and Material culture meet at the Bake Sale table. The results are yummy confusion. Are there differences among the names of these breads(Rollkuchen Vs. Fry Bannock)? How have histories intersected within food fare? Anyone can make Bannock, anyone can enjoy Bannock, so when does it become cultural appropriation?

Chew on that…

Background information

Trending Day 1

fall 2011


Colors got bolder, prints went tribal, and designers turned into mash-up artists or creators of indigenous visual eye candy. But cultural excess is only part of the story. An indigenous streak informed the seasons must-have mukluks, and the neo navaho print dresses walked the line of the wild west meets the weekend warrior.

Fall’s important trends….with a little discussion on the side.

Trending – Gallery 1c03, University of Winnipeg

In online social networking sites, the concept of ‘trending’ demarcates a noted increase in the popularity of a specific thing or topic among a large group of internet users. In the wider world, a fashion trend indicates an upward shift of interest in a particular style or mode of dress by a number of people. A recent trend that has found its way into runway shows and suburban malls alike is an Indigenously-inspired look involving apparel such as leather mukluks, beaded headbands, and feathered accessories. Clothing remains an important element within an Aboriginal art history, as well as in contemporary creative culture where questions of appropriation and freedom of expression are beginning to erupt around this issue. Trending is a four-day performative embedment on the University of Winnipeg campus by the Ephemerals, an all-female Aboriginal collective of artists and curators. By inserting themselves into the university community, the Ephemerals will interrogate the trend of Aboriginally-influenced clothing and accessories among post-secondary students, encouraging a critical reading of fashion as codified text and highlighting the need for a deeper awareness of its cultural implications. Further supporting this project will be an ongoing intervention in the public display windows of the university’s Anthropology Museum, drawing from and responding to the Anthropology department’s Ethnographic collection.

Gallery 1C03 for additional information