Ruth Phillips will present in the Indigenous Arts in Transition Seminar on Wednesday, January 17, at 6 pm. Her talk is entitled “The Circle and the Rectangle: Indigenous Art, Canadian Residential Schools, and the Dynamics of Oppression and Healing.”

This talk explores the key role played by North American Indigenous artists in confronting and healing the traumatic legacies of federally mandated residential and boarding schools. Many students experienced the abrupt transition from lives lived on the land to the rigid rectangular spaces of the school buildings as profoundly embodied experiences of constraint and confinement. Yet the limited art education made available by individual teachers in some of the schools could also introduce receptive students to Western pictorial traditions. This lecture explores the ways artists have both appropriated and resisted the spatial geometries of Western art and architecture in order to negotiate traumatic cultural losses and to create artistic projects that promote understanding and healing.

Ruth B. Phillips is Canada Research Professor and Professor of Art History at Carleton University in Ottawa. Her research focuses on the Indigenous arts of North America and critical museology. She is the author of Museum Pieces: Toward the Indigenization of Canadian Museums (2011); Trading Identities: The Souvenir in Native North American Art from the Northeast (1998); and Representing Woman: Sande Masquerades of the Mende of Sierra Leone (1995); and co-author, with Janet Catherine Berlo, of Native North American Art (2nd edition, 2015). She has served as director of the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology and president of CIHA, the International Committee on the History of Art. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

This event will be livestreamed. Please check back the day of the event for a link to the video. To watch videos of past events please visit our YouTube page.