Moderated by Kiera Boult and Dustin Lawrence, this conversation with artists Emelie Chhangur, Ming-Yuen S Ma, Jude Norris, Nik Forrest, and David Findlay expands on the curatorial project SAFE KEEPING: Vtape and the artists whose works live in our care.
Curator, writer, and artist Emelie Chhangur is the newly appointed Director and Curator of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Ontario. This appointment follows a significant career at the Art Gallery of York University where she emerged as a leading voice for experimental curatorial practice in Canada, known for her process-based, participatory curatorial practice, the commissioning of complex works across all media, and the creation of long-term collaborative projects.
Jude Norris / Bebonkwe (Winter) received the prestigious Chalmer’s Arts Fellowship, and numerous arts awards. Her single-channel videos have been screened at the Sundance Festival and The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Her widely exhibited new-media installations are in the collections of major museums. Bebonkwe’s traditional tribal territory is in and around Edmonton, Alberta. She is currently based in Brooklyn, NY, but like her ancestors, she considers herself largely nomadic.
Nik Forrest (born 1964) is a visual and media artist living in Montréal. Born in Edinburgh, their practice includes video, drawing, installation, and sound art. They completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan in 1985 and a master’s degree in open media from Concordia University in 1995. They are currently working on an interdisciplinary research-creation PhD at Concordia exploring trans-ecologies, sound, and listening practices.
David Findlay is a quiet Black thing-maker born in Southern Ontario, Canada, currently being loudly homesick in Southern California, USA, where he has lived with one of his beloveds since 2011. David’s thing-making tends to focus on stories about desire, identity, and power. His approach strives to foreground embodied honesty, and his preferred tools/media are whatever permits the right combination of hands-on immediacy with fiddly persnicketiness. His writing can be found in anthologies of smut, science fiction, and queer memoir; most of his visual art and musical efforts are still struggling to be born.
An Ojibway of Saugeen First Nations raised off-reserve in Ontario, Dustin Lawrence graduated in 2015 from Toronto Film School. Later he worked for Big Soul Productions Inc. on Derek Miller’s The Guilt Free Zone (APTN), on the CBC Short Doc The Secret Path: In The Classroom, and for APTN’s docu-series AskiBoyz. He has held full-time positions at the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival and is currently the Technical and Distribution Coordinator at Vtape.
Kiera Boult is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, and cultural worker from Hamilton, Ontario. In 2019, Boult was the recipient of the Hamilton Emerging Visual Artist Award. Her work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Hamilton, and Trinity Square Video. Boult appears in the recent Chroma Issue of Canadian Art. She holds a BFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from OCAD University and is currently Vtape’s Submissions, Collections & Outreach Coordinator.
Ming-Yuen S Ma, media artist and Professor of Media Studies at Pitzer College, LA, was born in Buffalo and raised in Hong Kong. His experimental videos and installations have shown in national and international venues. He has worked with numerous arts organizations, including LACE, LA Freewaves, MIX/NYC, Foundation for Art Resources, Inc., and the American Film Institute, and he co-directed (with Carol Stakenas) Resolution 3: Video Praxis in Global Spaces.