Kiona Ligtvoet

Artist in Residence
Jan 2021 - Mar 2021

In Community Artist in Residence

A collage of many different papers and prints, some official documents and some etchings by Kiona Ligtvoet, in dark reds, off whites, light greens

Don’t look for this in the city archive.

Overview

I’d like to use the In Community residency as an opportunity for virtual, shared conversation centering (and sometimes critiquing) archives, enfranchisement, land acknowledgement, ghosts, nostalgia, and the complexities of place.

As an extension to my current practice, I’ll be continuing to remap the land I grew up on with my Moshom (we’re from Michel First Nation) to how I know it. For the ongoing install of this mapping, I’ll be using a specific wall in the individual studio space that SNAP is providing for the residency. This personal mapping will consist of a small number of stiff, 8” x 10” government documents outlining my nation’s enfranchisement, in contrast with and submerged by multiple small scale etchings, drawings, writings, and pieces of memorabilia that touch on how I know that land. Some of these small scale works will be from a never finished project that already exists, and some will be new and printed during the residency. The mapping would be photographed and shared with the community as it develops, becoming a form of personally reliable public archiving.

Community Programming

Partnered with this larger form of remapping on the studio wall, I would also like to digitally reproduce and then alter a version of the Michel First Nation settler-colonial map, to a more personally true state of mapping. This 8” x 10” map would then be part of a package made available for community dispersal, along with a brief written description of Michel First Nation, and a piece of grass, a chip of paint, a pressed flower, or a sliver of something physical to be shared from the disappearing land (or the house on it). Throughout the 3 month residency, I would love the opportunity to join in conversation virtually with community, to discuss anything from A Glossary of Haunting, collaborative community action, oral history of Michel First Nation, or shared making and conversation over any of the topics I mentioned in my Overview of this project. I want this community programming to be a space for displaced indigenous prairie folks to care for themselves in the face of homesickness, and for anyone who can empathize through their own memories of loss, care, and grief across varying circumstances. This mapping, verbal exchange, and community package would serve as an archive that has my family in it, as opposed to relying on normal archival systems that passively erase us in our enfranchisement.

Don’t look for this in the city archive.

Artist Statement

My name is Kiona Ligtvoet (she/her), I’m a Cree-Métis artist from Michel First Nation, currently practicing in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (so-called Edmonton). I primarily work in painting and printmaking, exploring narratives of grief, loss, and tenderness. I received my diploma in Fine Art from MacEwan University in 2017, then completed my BFA at the University of Alberta. Most recently, I’ve shown in the exhibitions Kiona Ligtvoet at Parallel Space, and Incidental Folds. I’ve also been working alongside other artists in initiatives of community care, including Latitude 53 and Mitchell Art Gallery’s project, Writing From Here and Mitchell Art Gallery’s Mentorship Exchange. I’m currently interested in exploring a non-linear telling of memories through narrative work, drawing from feelings of displacement within my own indigenous identity.

I grew up on what used to be reserve land, while living with my Moshom (grandfather in Cree). We were enfranchised, meaning, we no longer have government status as a nation, we don’t have reserve land, and we don’t have any ceremonial grounds. This was all lost through an illegal vote. My Moshom is the only person left living on the scrip land that Michel First Nation was assigned. As a result, this home became the sole meeting place for my relations. There’s an unspoken uncertainty around what will happen to this land when he can’t care-take it anymore. This history and reality manifests in a deep and complicated sense of gratitude and grief for a place that feels like a person.

Across printmaking and painting disciplines, I’ve been exploring preciousness and loss as it relates to my indigeneity. The narratives present in my work are from personal recollections, and are chosen based on person and place, as opposed to a colonially linear telling of events. I’ve been navigating formal qualities of distance and fragility within memory by practicing moments of drawn detail, a purposeful use of negative space, and barely-there text. Additionally, over the past year, community care has become part of what I consider to be my practice. Through varying programming opportunities and personal initiatives, I’ve been engaging in collective exchanges of writings and conversations on the complexity of settler-colonial barriers across gallery scenes, talking through questions that tend to fall on the shoulders of marginalized artists, and expanding the overall value that’s placed on BIPOC artists in general.

At its core, my practice is a personal exploration of intergenerational trauma and enfranchisement, but also of intimacy, care, and moments of full belly laughter. I want the work I produce to be a space for displaced indigenous prairie folks to care for themselves in the face of homesickness, and for those who can empathize through their own memories of loss, care, and grief across varying circumstances.

 

The In Community Artist Residency is made possible by the Edmonton Arts Council’s Connections and Exchanges Organizational Initiatives Grant.