Meet Anishinaabe artist Katheryn Wabegijig

My name is Katheryn Wabegijig. I am a 37 year old Ojibway/Odawa multi-disciplinary artist, custom picture framer and emerging writer who grew up in the small mining town of Elliot Lake, Ontario with ancestry in Wikwemikong, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek and belonging to Garden River First Nation/Ketegaunseebee. I graduated from Cambrian College’s 4 year Fine Arts program in 2003 and in 2016 with a BFA from OCAD University majoring in Drawing and Painting and minoring in Indigenous Visual Culture where I furthered my cultural education and continued on my path towards Decolonization through cathartic personal explorations.

It is not difficult to see why OCAD University is the leading academic institution of choice for Indigenous students pursuing Art and Design post-secondary education and I would like to share with you some of my experiences here at OCAD and in the INVC program. I believe that Indigenous students in communities across Turtle Island have a great opportunity to excel as artists and designers through the various programs that are offered here and the amount of support offered to students. I also believe that it is vital to go directly to those communities, engage those wishing to further their arts education and inspire their choice to be OCAD University.

I, myself, entered OCAD University as a second year transfer student and mature student after 10 years of focusing on my custom picture framing career. I graduated from Cambrian College where I took their 4 year Fine Arts program in 2003 but always had the dream of attending OCAD. I had to make a choice between my career and furthering my education and so, I told myself, “If I get accepted into OCAD University this time, I’m going!” The professors, staff and fellow artists here made my experience at OCAD University the very best decision of my life and I wish I had had the courage to take the step earlier. It was the best decision that I have ever made for myself as an artist and as an individual. I took Drawing and Painting as my major. I felt that I absolutely needed to take the Indigenous Visual Culture program because it was vital to my learning as an Anishinaabe artist who is continually searching for my place in each of the communities that I have grown up within.

Not only did I achieve my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an INVC minor but I had the opportunity to witness and learn from amazing Indigenous artists and staff at INVC who profoundly changed and supported my art practice. OCAD U and INVC made it possible for me to delve into my art by working through personal and cultural issues in a safe and supportive environment. In fact, my artwork that was featured in the culminating Grad Ex show for the graduating class was purchased by the Royal Ontario Museum! So, the opportunities here at OCAD University are truly countless, with exhibition opportunities that are attended by some of the most influential people in the art industry.

Also, students will find that throughout their time here that they will continually be surrounded by those influential presences. To be able to hear Janet Rogers recite and perform her powerful pieces of writing, to share in the knowledge of respected Elders and artists like Duke Redbird, to go on a tour of the ROM led by Bonnie Devine (the founding Chair of INVC) speaking on her masterpieces or to be lucky enough to be taught by her or Ryan Rice, an amazing Curator and the Chair of INVC, is undoubtedly an honour and only to be experienced here at Canada’s oldest and largest art, design and new media university.

The INVC Student Centre creates many community building events and activities including Buffalo Stew lunches held every Wednesday, Bead and Read which brings together readings from amazing authors while learning new beading techniques. The Mighty Pen, a writing group held for Indigenous students and students of colour began in my final year at OCAD U. I had the privilege of being involved with the very first group. What stemmed from that was a reconnection to my love for writing that led to my first published piece this year. My mentor from that group was and still is an amazing support. These groups, staff and spaces offer a welcoming gathering place to share experience, grow as artists and make friends that will last well beyond your OCAD University experience! Organized trips that I was able to attend were The McMichael Gallery and the Petroglyphs in Peterborough, which had an incredible impact on my art practice. That list is ever expanding, connecting students in this amazing program to culturally significant and life-altering experiences in Toronto and surrounding areas.

The way that I was able to delve into my art by working through personal and cultural issues in a safe and supportive environment allowed me to come to many realizations and revelations that carry with me in my professional career as an artist and as Collections Manager at Canadian Arctic Producers.

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Indigenous Visual Culture’s Nigig Visiting Artist: Joi T. Arcand

Artwork made with neon signage
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Indigenous Visual Culture with the Faculty of Design at OCAD U welcomes Joi T. Arcand as our Fall 2017 Nigig Visiting Artist in ResidenceOctober 15 – November 11, 2017

Joi T. Arcand is a photo-based artist and a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation currently based in Ottawa. Arcand's work has recently been exhibited at the Contemporary Native Art Biennial – Art Mur (Montreal), Kenderdine Art Gallery (Saskatoon), aka artist-run (Saskatoon), Access Gallery (Vancouver) and internationally in the United States, London UK, and Bilbao, Spain. She curated the exhibition Language of Puncture  at Gallery 101 (Ottawa) that runs until October 28.

Arcand received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2005. In 2006, along with Felicia Gay, she co-founded the Red Shift Gallery, a contemporary Indigenous art gallery in Saskatoon. In 2012, she founded kimiwan 'zine, a quarterly Indigenous arts publication.

The Nigig Visiting Artist Residency, hosted by the Indigenous Visual Culture Program at OCAD University, is a program that provides an opportunity for an Indigenous artist to visit OCAD University for a three-to-four week period to focus on a short-term project and explore in a collaborative environment, issues impacting their work. The visiting artist will engage and interact with students and faculty in the capacity of mentorship, critique, lecture and a public workshop and/or demonstration.

The Nigig Visiting Artist Residency supports the dynamism located in Indigenous contemporary art and design practices and is a tremendous educational opportunity for the artist and students.

Faculty interested in scheduling a classroom visit with Joi may email the Nigig Visiting Artist Residency coordinator Vanessa Dion Fletcher – after October 2.

Public NIGIG Hosted Events

Wednesday, October 18             
Welcome/Buffalo Stew Luncheon/Artist Talk

Other events will be announced.


Image: Joi Arcand, (ēkāwiya nēpēwisi), 2017. Neon channel sign (pink). 120.7 x 182.9 cm.  Morning Star exhibition, The Jackman Humanities Institute, 170 St George Street, 10th Floor


Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 6:45pm

Indigenous Visual Culture at OCADU in partnership with Culture Shifts (OCAD U’s Documentary Series) and Vertical Features (Ryerson University) present a screening of;

[it shines a certain way. to a certain place/it flies. falls./]

Wednesday, September 27
6:45 – 9pm
Room 190 (Auditorium), 100 McCaul, Toronto, ON

The free public screening will be followed by a Q&A with the directors in conversation with artist Bonnie Devine, INVC program founder and OCAD U Faculty.

Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil’s new film re-imagines an ancient Ojibway story, the Seven Fires Prophecy, which both predates and predicts first contact with Europeans. A kaleidoscopic experience blending documentary, narrative, and experi...mental forms, INAATE/SE/ transcends linear colonized history to explore how the prophecy resonates through the generations in their indigenous community within Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With acute geographic specificity, and grand historical scope, the film fixes its lens between the sacred and the profane to pry open the construction of contemporary indigenous identity.

INAATE/SE/ premiered at the closing night of MoMA's Doc Fortnight last February and has been playing at festivals across N. America. We're planning a tour of the film this fall at universities, micro-cinemas, and community organizations in and around the Great Lakes. 

“OCAD’s Culture Shifts presents documentary media as a catalyst for critical discussions and community action for social change”

“Vertical Features is a film series at Ryerson U with hopes to promote vital non-fiction film and video that has had little or no Toronto exposure, including documentary, essay films, hybrid experiments, and artists’ moving image, placing contemporary films in dialogue with historical rediscoveries.”


The program is supported though the Delaney Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD U.

Venue & Address: 
Room 190 (Auditorium), 100 McCaul, Toronto, ON

OCAD University and ROM to showcase Indigenous culture and history

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

OCAD University is pleased to announce an innovative collaboration with the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) to showcase Indigenous culture and history before and beyond Ontario’s 150th anniversary. Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation is investing $200,000 in the project.

Students from OCAD U’s Indigenous Visual Culture program will explore relevant cultural objects at the ROM and use digital and other media to share them with a larger audience. The project will include the creation of an interactive online learning environment that will incorporate gaming, commentary and the exchange of local stories through social media.

“We are very pleased to participate in this important collaboration with the Royal Ontario Museum that will further widen participants' understanding of Indigenous history and knowledge,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University. “The project is aligned with OCAD University's deep commitment to be inclusive of Indigenous culture and knowledge.”

The project offers OCAD U students an opportunity to examine, interact with, and respond to cultural objects in the ROM’s Indigenous Ontario collection. “Our students' research into current and historical scholarship about these objects, and their contemporary, speculative, and innovative visual responses to them, will result in an on-line recasting of the stories and trajectories embedded in these cultural treasures,” said Bonnie Devine, Associate Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies, Faculty of Art, and Graduate Studies and Founding Chair, Indigenous Visual Culture Program OCAD University

OCAD University was one of the first art and design institutions in Canada to launch a degree in Indigenous Visual Culture. The university works in tandem with its Aboriginal Education Council, Indigenous Student Association, and with all faculty and staff across the university to support the process to decolonize the institution and to recognize, acknowledge, implement and vitalize Indigenous visual culture.




CIBC funds Indigenous and Design scholarships at OCAD University

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 11:00am

CIBC has pledged a gift of $100,000 in scholarships to OCAD University to support two of the institution’s unique programs, the Indigenous Visual Culture Program and the Inclusive Design Program.

“We deeply value CIBC’s support of these two outstanding programs,” says Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University. “This generous gift supports our mandate of providing a learning environment that fosters inclusivity and diversity, and that values Indigenous cultural knowledge and the recognition of First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories’ significance in contemporary art and culture.”

The CIBC Scholarships in Indigenous Visual Culture will be awarded to students enrolled in the undergraduate Indigenous Visual Culture Program. Multiple scholarships will be made available based on program needs.

The program prepares students to engage in complex and evolving global discourses in Indigenous history, art history and contemporary art practice across a range of expressions, material and media. 

The CIBC Inclusive Design Entrance Scholarships will be awarded to new domestic students enrolled in the Inclusive Design graduate program. Two scholarships will be offered each year to candidates selected by an admissions committee.

Inclusive design advances accessibility and encompasses the full range of human diversity including ability, language, culture, gender and age. From policies, customer service, infrastructure, technology and buildings to everyday products, design can accommodate and include everyone.

“CIBC is committed to the advancement of both diversity and student opportunity, and through supporting these programs, we look forward to nurturing Indigenous education and investing in our leaders of tomorrow,” said Alicia Dubois, MVP Indigenous Markets, CIBC.



OCAD U’s Dr. Gerald McMaster advisor on new CBC series 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

CBC’s new ten-part docu-drama series, CANADA: The STORY OF US, highlights extraordinary moments in Canada’s history and people that helped forge a nation, from early Indigenous history to the 20th century.  The series was produced under the guidance of historians and academic consultants, including OCAD University’s Indigenous Scholar, Dr. Gerald McMaster, who served as one of the primary consultants. Ground-breaking curator, author, artist and educator, Dr. McMaster is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture & Curatorial Practice at OCAD U.

CANADA: THE STORY OF US takes viewers inside Canada’s history with dramatic re-enactments, ground-breaking CGI sequences and documentary-style virtual reality experiences. The series features the stories of Indigenous peoples, women, immigrants, pioneers, rule-breakers, scientists and entrepreneurs – many of them untold until now. The series highlights key moments spanning centuries of history beginning with Indigenous nations in the pre-contact era to 1608 with the arrival of explorer Samuel de Champlain in “Worlds Collide,” to the introduction of the sea otter trade by Mowachaht leader and statesman Chief Maquinna in “Hunting Treasure” (1778-1802), to “Boom Bust” (1911-1937) with populations exploding in urban centres, concluding with the creation of Nunavut in “Canadian Experiment” (1970-1999).

Each week, during the run of the series, in partnership with, the world’s largest online family history resource and an integrated sponsor of CANADA: THE STORY OF US, CBC will air a short vignette featuring a Canadian celebrity from the series, including Susan Aglukark, Wendy Crewson, Sarah Gadon, Mike Holmes, Missy Peregrym, Jennifer Podemski and Mary Walsh, who will discover something new and surprising about their own family histories.

CANADA: THE STORY OF US will also be brought to life online through a trio of immersive, 360-degree videos that will put viewers inside key moments in Canadian history. Through these interactive vignettes, viewers will be transported into the lives of Chief Maquinna; Laura Secord; and Richard Rettie and W.C. Wilkinson – two Canadian scientists who led a team to decode the Nazi Smart Bomb. Produced by Secret Location, all three 360 videos feature ambisonic sound to further immerse viewers in the scene. The videos will be available at and on Facebook for viewing on desktop, mobile and tablet devices.

Series premieres Sunday, March 26 at 8 p.m. on CBC

INVC's Nigig Artist In Residence Open Studio / Closing Reception

Neebinnnaukzhik Southall showcases her work.
Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

You Are Invited
Nigig Visiting Artist Residency Open Studio
Neebinnnaukzhik Southall

Neebin will share the project she has developed during the NIGIG Artist Residency. The project focuses on the creation of Anishinaabe stock art and icons, which promotes visual sovereignty by exploring Anishinaabe visuals and material culture such as petroglyphs, floral beadwork, and Birch bark pictographs.

Neebinnaukzhik Southall, a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, is a graphic designer, photographer, artist, and writer. 

Open Studio / Closing Reception
Thursday March 16
113 McCaul (OCAD U Annex)
Room 1401, 4th Floor

For more information contact:

Venue & Address: 
113 McCaul (OCAD U Annex)

Nigig Artist In Residence Welcome Lunch - Neebinnaukzhik Southal

Multic-coloured button pins on a white background
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Indigenous Visual Culture with the Faculty of Design at OCAD U welcomes Neebin Southall as our Winter 2017 Nigig Visiting Artist in Residence (February 27 - March 18).

Welcome Lunch - Buffalo Stew and Artist Talk
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 from 12 pm - 2pm
Indigenous Visual Culture Student Centre, Room 410, 113 McCaul at OCAD University.

The Nigig Visiting Artist Residency, hosted by the Indigenous Visual Culture Program at OCAD University, is a program that provides an opportunity for an Indigenous artist to visit OCAD University for a 3-4 week period to focus on a short-term project and explore in a collaborative environment, issues impacting their work. The visiting artist will engage and interact with students and faculty in the capacity of mentorship, critique, lecture and a public workshop / demonstration.

The Nigig Visiting Artist Residency supports the dynamism located in Indigenous contemporary art and design practices and is a tremendous educational opportunity for the artist and students.


Neebinnaukzhik Southall, a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, is a graphic designer, photographer, artist, and writer. Neebinnaukzhik means "summer evening" in Ojibwe, and marks the time when she was born. In 2011, Neebin graduated magna cum laude from Oregon State University, earning an honors BFA in applied visual arts with a minor in fine arts, through the University Honors College and OSU’s competitive graphic design program. Neebin works as the public relations and web coordinator at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and she also takes on selective projects through her small creative business Neebin Studios. She is particularly interested in graphic design as it relates to Indigenous peoples and cultures, and is passionate about promoting Native graphic designers. She writes articles for the column "Exploring Native Graphic Design" for First American Art Magazine, and manages the Native Graphic Design Project (, where she is compiling a growing list of Indigenous designers.

Venue & Address: 
Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University Room 410, 113 McCaul Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T 1W1

TERRA INCOGNITA: submission call

Thursday, February 16, 2017 to Friday, March 31, 2017

Terra Incognita can be defined as "an unknown territory, an unexplored country or field of knowledge". Artists may want to consider or reflect on the colonial historical narrative enforced through the celebration of Confederation. It is important to note that the exhibition will run concurrently with Canada's 150th anniversary.

This call is open to all Black, Indigenous, People of colour (BIPOC) students across the country!
The Indigenous Student Association (ISA) is looking for two-dimensional, three-dimensional and mixed media work for an exhibition that will run from July 6, 2017 to August 31, 2017.

Submission deadline: March 31, 2017.

All submissions must be made through Submittables: and must include 3 to 5 images, a short biography and artist statement. For more details, see exhibition call poster or send us a message via Facebook or e-mail if you have any questions!

Please like and share widely and if you would like us to send you an image file so that you may print out the poster and display it at your institution please do not hesitate to send us a message.

We are so excited to share this with you, it is a long time coming! Please consider submitting!

The Indigenous Student Association (ISA) is a group of students from OCAD U who wish to create a positive, nurturing, and inclusive community. The ISA strives to collaborate and unify perspectives and thoughts, through our artworks, community involvement, and exhibitions. We are active within our communities individually, but by coming together in the IASA, we can contribute collectively and work towards a common goal.

Find out more about this and other OCAD U student-run groups:

Venue & Address: 
Artscape's Daniels Spectrum 585 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON
Terra Icognita poster



  • To link the global common/network/discourse of the other that’s in relation to the West
  • To create a complete bibliography of exhibitions, critical essays
  • Create a visual library of images of art, artists, exhibitions, curators, exhibitions, activities (visual documentation)
  • To identify key curators and their curatorial strategies