UMSU is calling on Indigenous students from the U of M to create and submit artworks for its new Indigenous Student Art Program (ISAP). The goal of the project is to create paintings or print artworks that represent the history and repercussions of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people as a way to work toward reconciliation.
UMSU president Jaron Rykiss collaborated with Ishkode Catcheway, the UMSU Indigenous students’ representative and University of Manitoba Indigenous Students’ Association communications co-ordinator, to organize the initiative.
The program will choose five paintings or print artworks submitted by Indigenous students to be displayed in UMSU businesses and possibly in University Centre. After a year of being on display, the works can be auctioned off, at which time the money will go toward a charity that the artists, Indigenous students’ representative and the UMSU executive will work together to select.
Submissions must come from students at U of M who are Red River Métis, Inuit or First Nations. All submissions must be paintings or prints, and no other mediums will be accepted to ensure that all works can be displayed throughout University Centre. Further rules can be found on UMSU’s website or its Instagram page.
The artists that are chosen will be reimbursed at a flat rate of $150 for the art supplies they use for the creation of the work, and UMSU will provide $250 for each selected artwork. The selected artists must consent to be featured in promotional material as long their art is being displayed.
Rykiss said in an email to the Manitoban that his goal in creating the program is to allow Indigenous students to show off their talent and express their perspectives, as well as to remind students that the university is on Treaty 1 territory and the homeland of the Métis Nation.
The venture is a part of Rykiss’s campaign promise to decorate the university with more art. He stated that it is important to provide a space where Indigenous students can show off their artwork.
“I promised that I would make an effort to decorate our campus as much as possible with artwork, created by Indigenous students who live on Treaty 1, to ensure that their voice and artistic expression is promoted throughout,” the email read.
Rykiss said in his statement that he hopes these artworks will provide perspective for non-Indigenous students, and that theylead non-Indigenous students to ask questions, connect with Indigenous students and learn more about Indigenous history in Canada.
Catcheway said that she has been the primary Indigenous consultant guiding the creation of the ISAP, with Rykiss adding that the project was developed with the assistance of “many Indigenous faculty and staff.” She said that she would like to see the program continue in future years.
She hopes that Indigenous students apply to the ISAP to increase the representation of Indigenous artwork displayed on campus.
Catcheway said she is “just really encouraging our Indigenous artists at the U of M to
apply and get their artwork out in the world.”
Students can apply to the program by going to https://umsu.formstack.com/forms/isap. The
deadline to apply is Feb. 17 at 11:30 p.m.