A curation of care

Latest Plug-In ICA exhibition weaves an intimate conversation

Visual and performance artist Kite is one of three artists featured in the exhibition When Veins Meet Like Rivers at Plug-In ICA. (Supplied)

Running from now until Dec. 17, When Veins Meet Like Rivers; ᑲᑎᓐᓂᖅ / okhížata / maadawaan is Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art’s (Plug-In ICA) latest exhibition, featuring work from artists Dayna Danger, Kite and asinnajaq.

While the exhibition initially began as a solo show, it blossomed into a group exhibition when asinnajaq reached out to Kite and Danger, feeling it was necessary to expand the show to include more voices.

“To me, I think about it not as a typical group show, but more like a trio. If this was a piece of music, there (would be) three players, but they’re one song,” Kite says.

Suzanne Kite, known by her artistic alias, Kite, is an Oglála Lakȟóta performance artist, visual artist and composer. Primarily, Kite’s work focuses on Lakota ontologies, as well as the relationship between Indigenous protocol and artificial intelligence.

Kite’s installation combines sound, video, stone and storytelling. Videos from her family home in South Dakota are complemented by stones collected by asinnajaq to tell stories rich in history and meaning.

While Kite says that it’s difficult to pinpoint when the three artists actually met, the project’s true origins lay in a budding friendship rooted in the Montreal neighbourhood they lived in together.

“We were in a big friend group, and we slowly started to have conversations between ourselves,” Kite says.

The relationships that formed the exhibition progressed when Allison Yearwood, the executive director of Plug-In ICA, crossed paths with Danger at a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She says the opportunity to work with and get to know the three artists on a more intimate level has been a refreshing experience.

“It’s really just been a cathartic process working on the show with the three of them,” Yearwood says.

The central theme of the exhibition rests on two pillars: submit and resist. As Danger and Kite responded with their pieces, the artworks became intimately interwoven, still with the onus to display their unique messaging.

“I think (the themes) really almost seamlessly exist and vibrate within each of the pieces,” Yearwod says. “Each of them are enveloping, yet allowing each other to exist.”

Above all, Kite says When Veins Meets Like Rivers is a testament to the importance of reciprocity and profound care, from one artist to another.

“The major takeaway we’ve been reflecting on as a group is our respect and awe for each other as artists, human beings and friends,” Kite says. “I think that could be a revolutionary concept for group shows.”

When Veins Meet Like Rivers ; ᑲᑎᓐᓂᖅ / okhížata / maadawaan will be featured at Plug-In ICA (1460 Portage Ave.) from Aug. 21 to Dec. 17. To book an appointment, visit plugin.org.

Published in Volume 76, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 9, 2021)

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