Union Gallery

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off-site projects

Union Gallery Vitrine Project

December 9, 2017 - February 28, 2018 | Tanya Lukin Linklater: The Harvest Sturdies and A Girl
Curated by Magdalyn Asimakis
Located just outside the gallery - stop by any time of the day

Image: excerpt from The Harvest Sturdies, 2013, by Tanya Lukin Linklater

Tanya Lukin Linklater’s text practice engages with poetry, pedagogies, Indigenous conceptual space, languages, and institutions. The Harvest Sturdies and A Girl are meticulous visual compositions that consider strategies and potentials of exceeding structures while dealing directly with contemporary political issues around gender and Indigenous spaces. Lukin Linklater’s interest in structural critique and pedagogy are also the interests of the curator, and the Union Gallery Vitrine is a compelling space in which to explore these themes. The vitrine as a western display concept is largely unquestioned in museums despite having a relationship of tension with objects tied to histories of colonization. It is generative to explore these contradictions. The unconventional design of the Union Gallery Vitrine gestures to both the art gallery and the library. This duality is reflected in Lukin Linklater’s exploration of text and visual art, institution and critique, and pedagogy and alternative structure.


“A Girl” was written in November and December, 2012 in response to the attempted assassination of girls’ education activist, Malala Yousafzai, in the region of Swat Valley, Pakistan.

“The Harvest Sturdies” was written in response to Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike, a 44-day action that began December 11, 2012. The mitts Chief Spence wore in many of her press engagements are an important symbol for the people of James Bay. Interviews with Agnes Hunter, Marlene Kapasheshit and Lillian Mishi Trapper during January and February 2013 regarding the process for making traditional James Bay Mitts were conducted for this poem.

On Cree translation

Agnes Hunter and Duane Linklater provided spelling and translation of Cree words in “The Harvest Sturdies.”

askiy: earth
astisak: mitts or mittens
atik: caribou
atikowayan: caribou hide
awasisak: children

Artist Biography

Tanya Lukin Linklater’s performance collaborations, videos, and installations have been exhibited internationally and her poetry and essays have been published in several critical art magazines and museum publications. In 2017, as a member of Wood Land School, Tanya participated in documenta14 in Kassel. She was also the inaugural artist in residence at All My Relations Arts in Minneapolis and artist in residence at Art Gallery of Ontario. She originates from the Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions in southern Alaska and is based in northern Ontario, Canada.

Curator Biography

Magdalyn Asimakis is an independent curator and a PhD student in the Art History department at Queen’s University. She was most recently a Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program where she co-curated the exhibition That I am Reading Backwards and Into for a Purpose, To Go On: and co-authored a book by the same name, that included writing by Tanya Lukin Linklater. Magdalyn’s curatorial practice is concerned with duration, ideological systems and institutional critique. Her writing has been published in BlackFlash Magazine, Brooklyn Rail and several museum publications.

Selections from Explorations of Histories and Representation

This exhibit is a selection of catalogues produced by the Union Gallery from 2007 to 2016. The selected exhibitions examined identity within the larger structure of history and representation; by questioning these ascribed notions, reimagining them, invoking them, or parodying the, these artists present a critical view of the past and present, asking us to face difficult but necessary questions about the world around us and the roles we occupy within it.

Kent Monkman’s Theatre de Cristal examines the artistic canon’s treatment of indigenous people and reimagines indigenous representation as it relates to his identity and to Canadian art history.

Emily Jan’s After the Hunt observes the role of nature within a capitalist, colonial state. Her work reinterprets the genre of the still life, critiquing the role it played in establishing and supporting oppressive systems of power.

In Allyson Mitchell’s Brain Child, the role of women in society is explored through a feminist lens, questioning the role of global power structures and consumerism in a patriarchal society.

Auriane Sokolosky further examines these power structures, through her imagining of the institution of marriage. In Made in Taiwan she poses important questions about the role and representation of women in marriage on a global scale.

The show Abject Nature, presented by Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby examines our relationship with land and the environment through the lens of popular culture. They observe the way that nature is performed and managed to produce, manipulate and reduce land into a consumable product.

Erin Finley’s Daisy Chain examines the role of women within popular culture and society. Her work highlights the performance and construction of the body, particularly the female body, and the politics and perceptions which surround it.

Curator Biography

Miranda Ramnares is currently a summer student intern at the Union Gallery and a student at Queen’s University studying Art History and Film & Media. Her research interests include indigenous visual art and feminist theory in film. She has produced short films for the Queen’s Focus Film Festival in 2016 and 2017. Published writing includes A Conversation with Dylan Robinson in Syphon (Fall 2016), a publication of the Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre.