OCAD University community members showcased at Planet IndigenUS festival

Nancy King, Medicine Man (2015) – part of re:GENERATION
Cody Kullman, Non-textile (2014) – part of re:GENERATION
Thursday, August 6, 2015 - 5:00pm

OCAD University students, alumni, staff and faculty are well represented at this year’s Planet IndigenUS festival at Harbourfront Centre.

re:GENERATION opens at 7 p.m. on August 7 and runs until 7 p.m. on  August 9. Presented by OCAD U’s Indigenous Visual Culture Program (INVC), it features the artwork of 15 artists. Lisa Myers is re:GENERATION’s curator and an instructor in the OCAD U Faculty of Art. Myers says that the artists “express their perspectives on how the past, present and future both connect and encourage continuity and accountability for the next seven generations.”

Melissa General (BFA, Photography), the INVC’s program manager, is displaying work at Planet IndigenUS called Nitewaké:non, which explores her connection to the history and narratives of her home, the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. “I attempt to reconnect with and honour the memory and history intrinsically ingrained in Haudenosaunee territory.”

Also on at Harbourfront (June 20 to September 20) is the group show our land, together. Curated by OCAD U alumna Suzanne Morrissette (MFA, Criticism and Curatorial Practice) and including the work of alumna Cheryl L’Hirondelle (MDes, Inclusive Design), the show reflects indigenous peoples’ “relationships to place within our land.”

Shelley Niro: Seeing Through Memory - Artist Talk and Book Launch

Black and white photograph of female forms
Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 11:00pm to Friday, February 6, 2015 - 2:00am

Co-presented by the Indigenous Visual Culture program and the Visual & Critical Studies program, OCAD University is pleased to launch Madeline Lennon's Shelley Niro: Seeing Through Memory (Blue Medium Press, 2014). Published as part of the Canadian Artist Monograph Series (CAMS), this book is the first illustrated study of the work of this important First Nations artist in Canada and includes an interview with Niro.

Shelley Niro's artist talk begins at 6:30 pm
followed by the book launch and reception at 7:30 pm

Image caption: Shelley Niro, Flying Woman #7, 1994

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul, Room 187
Open and free to the public.

Sharp Centre 10th anniversary celebrated with $5 million gifts

Rendering of Centre for Experiential Learning at 115 McCaul St. Bortolotto Architects.
Sara Diamond with benefactors Rosalie sharp and Kiki Delaney
Thursday, November 27, 2014 - 2:15pm

Benefactors Rosalie and Isadore Sharp, founders of the famed Four Seasons Hotel chain, pledged $3 million to OCAD University, Canada’s largest art, design and digital media university at an event marking a decade since the opening of the iconic structure bearing their name.

The Sharp donation will be used to create a dramatic new façade on the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion at McCaul and Dundas Streets and to transform the building into the OCAD University Centre for Experiential Learning. This student-focused centre is dedicated to studio-based learning across the university’s program areas, partnerships with community and industry, and training in professional and business skills. Bortolotto Architects have been selected to transform the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion into a striking landmark that will anchor the schools’ cultural corridor leading along McCaul St. 

A second gift of $2 million from OCAD University Chancellor Kiki Delaney on behalf of the Delaney Family Foundation was also announced. The donation will fund scholarships for undergraduate and graduate visual artists. It will also support the university’s Indigenous Visual Culture program - its curriculum, Research Centre, outreach and campus-wide activities as well as the Delaney Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture.

“Our generous donors are changing the landscape of the cultural corridor anchored by OCAD University. They are supporting our strong tradition of studio-based education and new ways of learning through experiential education. They are allowing us to nurture the tremendous creative talent in the indigenous community. This creates opportunities for students, faculty, our many partners, and the public.  We are greatly indebted to them,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor of OCAD University.

The new Sharp donation “builds on the bold look of the Sharp Centre by creating an innovative gateway that will become widely admired. It will be an embodiment of the imagination at work at OCAD University,” said Diamond.

The Sharps donated $5 million in 2004 towards building the internationally acclaimed Sharp Centre for Design, designed by famed British architect Will Alsop who was on hand for the celebration. The building has been lauded by architect and arts critics alike and is one of the must-see stops for visitors to Toronto. It has played a transformative role in OCAD University’s transition to a university.

“We funded the creation of the Sharp Centre for Design at a time when the institution was literally and figuratively being lifted to a new level,” said Rosalie Sharp. “With this donation, we are helping build another artistic landmark that solidifies OCAD U’s place as a hub of innovation in Toronto.”

“As the Chancellor of OCAD University, I have seen the new opportunities created in our indigenous program, Faculty of Art and graduate studies. Our family looks for ways to help students and these two areas provide great opportunities,” said Delaney, who is president of Delaney Capital Management.

Images top right: Rendering of Rosalie Sharp Pavillion redevelopment by Bortolotto Architects
President Sara Diamond with benefactors Rosalie Sharp and Kiki Delaney

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Bonnie Devine’s Battle for the Woodlands on view at the AGO

Bonnie Devine with her installation. Image courtesy AGO.
Bonnie Devine's Battle for the Woodlands in the gallery. Image courtesy AGO.

Bonnie Devine, an associate professor and the founding chair of OCAD U’s Indigenous Visual Culture program, spent part of her summer installing a new work, Battle for the Woodlands, at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The installation expands an early 19th century map of Upper and Lower Canada to reflect an Anishinaabe world view. 

Battle for the Woodlands will be on view at the AGO for a year, and is an extension of the AGO’s major temporary summer exhibition, Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes, which features work by leading modern and contemporary artists, including Norval Morrisseau, Michael Belmore, Daphne Odjig, OCAD U instructor Robert Houle, and others. Before and After the Horizon opened on July 30 and runs until November 25.

Before and After the Horizon is co-organized by the AGO and the National Museum of the American Indian. It’s a celebration of visual expressions of the spiritual and social dimensions of our relations with the earth, and at the same time challenges certain accepted accounts of history. 

Devine, whose work “Letter to William,” is part of the temporary exhibition, was talking with Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s curator for Canadian Art, about a historic map of upper and lower Canada and what it meant one day earlier this year when she came up with the idea to overlay an Anishinaabe vision over the map to show the four great lakes represented as spirit animals, as well as the important sites of conflict and contact between European and Anishinaabe people. 

Hunter saw the idea as an opportunity to both respond to and extend the ideas of the temporary exhibition through the rest of the gallery and spark conversations. As part of the installation process, Devine worked in the gallery during viewing hours so she could engage with viewers and answer questions. 

“Devine’s installation has accomplished a great deal, and at the same time resulted in endless intense and meaningful conversations with the public, guests and officials in the gallery,” said Hunter. “The goal for us with projects like this to create a deep engagement, not only between the AGO and OCAD U, but also with this place and the land — the deep human history and our part of our community. It challenges the institution to learn, change and grow.”


Learn more

Before and After the Horizon 

Bonnie Devine image timeline 

Bonnie Devine faculty biography 


OCAD University and the Métis Nation of Ontario establish endowment to support Métis students

Monday, August 23, 2010 - 4:00am

(Toronto — August 23, 2010) The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), in partnership with OCAD University (OCADU) is thrilled to announce the establishment of the Dr. Tony Belcourt Endowment Fund for Métis in the Arts.

“It is an honour to be in partnership with such a successful and acclaimed University. Because of the introduction of this fund, Métis students will have greater opportunities for future careers in the arts,” said MNO President Gary Lipinski. “It is important that we encourage our youth to grow and to learn and to support them in all their endeavours.”

The award will be established in recognition of the Métis Nation of Ontario’s founding president, Tony Belcourt’s more than 40 years of service to the nation and Métis people. It will serve as acknowledgement of Dr. Belcourt’s invaluable role and continued leadership excellence across Ontario and Canada.

“OCAD University is strongly committed to building an Aboriginal Visual Culture Program”, said Dr. Sara Diamond, President of OCAD University. “We’re honoured that the Métis Nation of Ontario has chosen to support OCADU students of Métis descent in recognition of their founder. The Dr. Tony Belcourt Endowment Fund for Métis in the Arts will provide support for a Métis student to undertake research and creation that is rooted in their culture. The Endowment Fund is a welcome addition to our existing student funding, and aligns with OCADU’s deep commitment to Aboriginal culture and diversity.”

Once established, the bursary will be open to Métis students residing in Ontario who are pursuing arts and design related careers through OCADU’s superior programs.

Belcourt would like to see the endowment fund not only have enough revenue to support bursaries for Métis artists but also enough to support a scholarship, especially for further studies on Métis history and Métis art in history.

“The MNO’s contribution has been the building block to help this fund grow. My hope is to give back by holding fundraising events,” said Belcourt. “I’m very grateful to MNO for making this possible. It’s truly an honour to me personally but it is going to be a tremendous benefit to Métis people who want to consider art as a career.”

Belcourt’s three children are all involved in arts careers and were part of the reason that OCADU was chosen for the bursary. “President Lipinski brought the idea to my attention several months ago and after considering other institutions, my kids all said, ‘it’s gotta be at OCADU, dad.’”

Belcourt hopes that the introduction of the endowment fund will create a greater profile of Métis art at OCADU.

About the Métis Nation of Ontario
The Métis are a distinct Aboriginal people with a unique history, culture, language and territory that includes the waterways of Ontario, surrounds the Great Lakes and spans what was known as the historic Northwest. The Métis Nation is comprised of descendants of people born of relations between Indian women and European men. The initial offspring of these unions were of mixed ancestry. The genesis of a new Aboriginal people called the Métis resulted from the subsequent intermarriage of these mixed ancestry individuals.

About OCAD University (OCADU)
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information or to request images, contact:

Rebekah Wilson, Registry and Communications Assistant, Métis Nation of Ontario
613.798.1488 Ext. 109

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)