Shifting Focus: Digital Possibilities for Indigenous Arts

Please note: Booking for this event has now closed but tickets are available on the door. 

How do indigenous artists challenge existing stereotypes of their cultures and communities?

Join us to hear from two leading performance makers in Canada’s vibrant Native arts scene, in dialogue with international scholars and artists working with them to tackle the legacies of colonial representation. The discussion will centre on the political and aesthetic issues at stake in contemporary artistic practice and offer a sneak preview of an interactive 3D digital display system being developed for a free exhibition, EcoCentrix: Indigenous Arts, Sustainable Acts.

The exhibition brings to London contemporary digital media, live performance, sound installations, and short film from indigenous artists in various parts of the world, asking how the ephemeral moment of performance can endure across cultures and time.


Vancouver-based Métis artist Marie Clements is an award-winning writer and director who ignites her own brand of independent story-making on screen, in new media and in live performance. Her works have been showcased in prestigious film festivals and performance venues throughout the Americas and Europe.

Kuna and Rappahannock actor and playwright Monique Mojica explores theatre as healing, as an act of reclaiming historical and cultural memory and as an act of resistance. She has played leading roles in Aboriginal arts in Canada, including as artistic director of Native Earth Performing Arts and as an actor in numerous works for stage and film.

Brenda Farnell is an anthropologist with a professional background in modern dance and an enduring interest in the rich complexity and diversity of movement practices in human lives. She is collaborating with Monique Mojica to explore ways of archiving indigenous performance.

Jamie Griffiths is an interdisciplinary conceptual artist, film director and performer working with photography, film, performance and interactive software. She designs experimental performance tools and interactive new media environments, as she digs into humanity’s failings and triumphs. 

Rita Leistner is a politically and socially engaged lens-based artist who uses conceptual approaches to create photographs with a special relationship to current events and the human condition. Her work in Iraq, Afghanistan and First Nations communities in Canada has been exhibited in leading galleries and magazines worldwide.

As a former astrophysicist, Rob Scharein is keenly interested in the interplay between science and art. He is a developer of high performance graphics software that draws from the beauty of nature to create engaging interactive art pieces. 

Panel Chair Helen Gilbert is curator of the EcoCentrix exhibition and leader of the interdisciplinary research project, ‘Indigeneity in the Contemporary World: Performance, Politics, Belonging’, based at Royal Holloway, University of London, and funded by the European Research Council 2009–14.

This event is presented by the Indigeneity project in collaboration with the October Gallery.  An open bar will be available for soft drinks.
We regret that there is no disable access at this venue.  

Related activity:
Kenyan artist Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga’s stunning exhibition of wall-hanging sculptures, Ituika–Transformation, is showing at the October Gallery from 12 September to 26 October and will be open to visitors during the evening. 

EcoCentrix runs at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, SE1 9PH, from 25 October to 10 November 2013. 
For further information, please contact:

Main Image credit: photo diptych from The Edward Curtis Project by Rita Leistner