Leicester Gallery Open Talks: GardenShip and State: Curating and Community Engagement in Time of Crisis.

Wednesday 19th January
2pm to 3pm

In the conversations amongst curators, artists and writers that helped shape the exhibition, GardenShip and State, currently on show at Museum London, Canada, until Jan. 2022, the Two Row Wampum – an agreement from 1613 between the Haudenosaunee and the Dutch on Turtle Island (North America) – was a guiding principle. Originally forged as an agreement regarding how two groups would to treat each other and live together, the wampum belt’s meaning was desribed by the Haudenosaunee this way: “In one row is a ship with our White Brothers’ ways; in the other a canoe with our ways. Each will travel down the river of life side by side. Neither will attempt to steer the other’s vessel.”

In this presentation and participatory discussion, hosted by exhibition Co-curators, Jeff Thomas and Patrick Mahon, and one of the participating artists Mark Kasumovic, 20 new works and activist projects responding to GardenShip and State’s overarching preoccupation with the environmental crisis and decolonization will be highlighted. With these artistic initiatives in mind, Jeff and Patrick will also facilitate a discussion with participants, focusing on the question, “How can artistic curating and intervention act as means for promoting and facilitating community engagement?”. The discussion will be chaired by Professor Lala Meredith-Vula.

Jeff Thomas is an urban-based Iroquois, self-taught photo-based story teller, writer, pubic speaker, and curator, living in Ottawa, Ontario, and has works in major collections in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Jeff’s most recent solo shows were Birdman Rising, University of Southern Illinois, A Necessary Fiction: My Conversation with Edward S. Curtis & George Hunter, Art Gallery of Mississauga, The Dancing Grounds, Wanuskewin Heritage Park (Saskatoon), , and Resistance Is NOT Futile, Stephen Bulger Gallery (Toronto).

Patrick Mahon is an artist, a writer/curator, and a Professor of Visual Arts at Western University, in London, Canada. Mahon’s artwork has been exhibited widely: in Canada at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Museum London, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto, The Winnipeg Art Gallery, and The Art Gallery of Hamilton; internationally in exhibitions in China, France, Norway, and Switzerland; and in numerous print biennales since the early 1990’s.

Mark Kasumovic is a Hamilton, Ontario-born artist currently sharing his time between Canada and the UK. His work revolves around the inherent truth-value of the photograph and the many limitations within the medium. His most recent work investigates the relationships between technology and knowledge production within the context of scientific research. Mark has received grants and honours from the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts,