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Gallery to Host Performance Marathon by Visual Artist Ursula Johnson

February 24, 2015

Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw artist will split and shave wood for 24 hours over four days

(Charlottetown, P.E.I.) - Now showing at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Ursula Johnson: Mi'kwite'tmn (‘Do You Remember') examines the state of traditional Mi'kmaw basketry. Organized by the Saint Mary University Art Gallery and curated by Robin Metcalfe, this nationally touring exhibition uses three separate components - a ‘Museological Grand Hall', an ‘Archive Room', and a live performance piece - to confront ideas of identity, ancestry, and the exhibition of aboriginal material culture.

The live performance element will take place from March 7 to 10 in the Centre's lower east gallery. Johnson has set herself the brutal task of splitting, pounding, and shaving an ash wood log into thin splints for weaving -- brutal because the artist will purposely makes the splints unusable, emphasizing the current generation's disconnect from traditional material culture. The resulting deposit of tools and shavings will remain in the gallery after the performance has finished. This is a public plea to encourage learning about these skills and Mi'kmaw history, and a pointed contrast to the practice of preserving such artifacts in museum spaces and archives.

"I hope visitors will take this opportunity to explore the exhibition and see the artist perform," says Gallery Director, Kevin Rice. "This unique performance is really an act of endurance-pointing out the tenuous position of knowledge and language associated with Mi'kmaw culture." The public is invited to view this rare marathon of a visual art performance as Johnson cuts and hammers wood into splints over four days. There is no charge to attend and Johnson will welcome questions and comments about the exhibition during her breaks. The performance will take place on March 7, from 11 a.m. until into the early hours of the Gallery's Winter Art Gala at 7 p.m.; then March 8, from 1-5 p.m.; March 9, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; and March 10, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Photo Cutline: From March 7 to 10, the Art Gallery will present a performance piece from Nova Scotia visual artist, Ursula Johnson. as part of the touring exhibition, Mi'kwite'tmn (‘Do You Remember') (Chris Smith photo).

Media requests:
Fraser McCallum, Communications Manager, Confederation Centre of the Arts
T: 902.628.6135 (office) E:| Twitter: @confedcentre

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Confederation Centre of the Arts is Canada's national memorial to the Fathers of Confederation, located in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Home to The Charlottetown Festival and an art gallery with a national mandate, this living memorial was first opened as part of Canada's centennial in 1964. 50 years later it continues to present the finest in Canadian visual and performing arts, heritage programming, and arts education.