Recently I was invited to attend the CPAMO Gathering event held at the Arts and letters Club in Toronto. CPAMO stands for the Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement of Ontario and its staff include charles c. smith, Kevin A. Ormsby and Victoria Glizer. The 2-day gathering was intense and full of conversations about the current state of Diversity, Cultural Multiplicity and Engagement through many arts groups within Ontario and across Canada as several groups were National Arts Service Organizations.
In my curatorial practice for the past year, I have been heavily discussing the state of treaty rights in Ontario and developing a large scale project with Maurice Switzer and the Union of Ontario Indians entitled “Polishing the Chain” which references imagery from specific wampum belts and renewing relationships between Indigenous people and settler allies.
At the CPAMO Gathering, I was lucky enough to hear many presenters before it was my time to speak on behalf of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective. I had a powerpoint ready presenting the ACC-CCA and stating the current actions that the ACC-CCA are taking either for our own development or in response to the changes of our industry. Although I did talk about the ACC-CCA, I found myself wanting to conduct artistic actions… NOW… and I could not suppress my impulse to disrupt convention.
All the discussions about bridging gaps between communities and representatives were fantastic but they also remained behind closed doors discussing them entirely between our organizational peers. My impulse controls became overridden and I found myself thinking about Idle No More and bringing conversations to the streets. I thought about “Polishing the Chain” which was what this event was doing, it was sharing information between allies and reaffirming relationships to form partnerships.
I cut my presentation short and bright the entire conference out onto Yonge St. with the help of all the other presenters and the CPAMO staff. We formed a giant friendship circle blocking traffic on Yonge St. right at lunch time. The intervention was only for a few minutes but it felt great to bring messages of unity and friendship out into the public. I managed to grab a panino snap of the disruption. It was a very exciting and worth while event.
For information about the gathering or to see other things that CPAMO are doing please visit: https://cpamo.org/2016/04/13/the-gathering/