OCAD University Welcomes Artist-in-Residence Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Vanessa Dion Fletcher in her studio (left), Artwork right: Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Colonial Comfort, 2016 (right)
Friday, January 25, 2019 - 11:45am

OCAD University is proud to announce an inaugural residency with artist Vanessa Dion Fletcher at the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion. Vanessa will complete an in-situ six-month Visiting Artist residency, which will be followed by a six-month post-residency to disseminate the results with their guidance and support. Funded by the City of Toronto’s Indigenous Arts and Culture Partnership Fund, the residency will be hosted by OCAD University’s Centre for Emerging Artists and Designer and the Indigenous Visual Culture program.

Indigenous vs. western capitalist models separate communal relationships; artists vs. students vs. teachers/scholars and create economic barriers and social hierarchies. This model is antithetical to Indigenous placemaking, economic, and creative expression. My residency time at OCAD U is an opportunity to interrupt and shift these Western institutional values, boundaries, and hierarchies embedded in the arts. I chose to partner with OCAD because decolonization is critical to OCAD University’s forward thinking, I will be able to create great alliances for social change/justice.

Vanessa Dion Fletcher



Monday, February 4th, 12:00 – 1:30 PM
Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers, Level 3, Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, 115 McCaul St.
Lunch catered by Nish Dish
Facebook Event

Vanessa’s residency will run from January 2019 to mid-June 2019. Her time with OCAD University will open with a welcome lunch and artist talk to take place at the Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers. All are welcome.



Vanessa Dion Fletcher employs porcupine quills, Wampum belts, and menstrual blood to reveal the complexities of what defines a body physically and culturally. She links these ideas to personal experiences with language, fluency, and understanding. All of these themes are brought together in the context of her Potawatomi and Lenape ancestry, and her learning disability caused by a lack of short-term memory. Her work is held in the Indigenous Art Center Collection in Gatineau, Quebec, and Seneca College. In 2016, Dion Fletcher graduated from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago with an M.F.A in performance. She is the recipient of the 2017 Textile Museum of Canada Melissa Levin Emerging Artist Award.




OCAD University’s Rosalie Sharp Pavilion is the home of the Experiential Learning Centre. The building’s refurbishment is a milestone in the Creative City Campus project, boldly re-imagining the use of space to expand studio, digital and work-integrated-learning learning.

Located on level 3, the Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers (CEAD) is OCADU’s Career Development office and Experiential Learning Program. The CEAD supports the early-career advancement of all OCAD U students and recent alumni. The Rosalie Sharp Pavilion is a wheelchair accessible space.



We encourage students and faculty to set up a time with Vanessa for mentorship, critique and conversation.

Please email Vanessa directly to set up a time.



Select Afilliations and Publications of Dr. Gerald McMaster

Cree Code Talker

2016, Cree Code Talker - INVC Research Centre - OCAD University
Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - 4:00pm

Before the Second World War, the Canadian and American historical context for Indigenous peoples was still, by and large, colonial in nature. The recession of the Dirty Thirties, the oppression of the residential and boarding school system, unemployment — to say nothing of the sub-par conditions on many reserves — led many Indigenous peoples, including the Métis, to view enlistment as a way of escaping the poverty of the reserve for a better life. Others saw the war as an opportunity to serve their country.

Cree Code Talker is a short documentary focusing on the journey of Charles “Checker” Tomkins during the Second World War. It also shows the crucial roles played by Canadian Aboriginal-Métis servicewomen and servicemen in protecting Allied secrets during the war. Sworn not to talk about their missions, many Cree code talkers have since died, taking their secrets with them to the grave. Unlike Native Americans — such as the Navajo in the U.S., who have been recognized by their country for their bravery — Canada’s Cree code talkers have never been officially acknowledged for their contributions. 


Boye Ladd is a member of the Zuni and Ho-Chunk Nations. His Indigenous name, Coming Home Laughing, was given to him by an uncle who fought during the Second World War. A long-time powwow dancer, educator, and storyteller, Boye is an American Vietnam Combat Veteran who served with Charlie Company, 75th Infantry Regiment (Airborne Rangers).

John Moses is a member of the Delaware and Upper Mohawk bands, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. He served in the Canadian Forces from 1980 to 1985, including as a signals intelligence operator (communicator research 291) at Canadian Forces Station Alert, Ellesmere Island, for which he received the Canadian Forces Special Service Medal. Moses is currently a policy analyst at the Department of Canadian Heritage, and a PhD candidate in cultural mediations (critical theory) at Carleton University. He is co-author of the DND/Canadian Forces publication, A Commemorative History of Aboriginal People in the Canadian Military.

Dr. Candace S. Greene is a museum anthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Her research focuses on Native North American art and material culture, especially Plains Indian drawings. In more than 20 years at the Smithsonian, she has worked on a variety of projects to promote access, preservation, and research use of the collections. She also teaches with the Anthropology Department at George Washington University.

(Moderator) Dr. Gerald McMaster is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University.


Arctic Amazon



  • To understand who the Arctic and its inhabitants were viewed by early Europeans
  • To catalogue early European explorers and their purpose; as well as their successes and failures


Arctic Amazon | INVC Research Centre | OCAD University
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 12:15am