SIDEBAR: Awi’nakola: Regenerating Land and Culture, a gathering of art and ideas

 May 16, 2023, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
 Gray Center for Arts & Inquiry

929 E 60th Street


“Awi’nakola” means “we are one with the land and the sea.” It is also the name for a foundation started by a group of Indigenous knowledge keepers, scientists, and artists working together to find effective responses to the climate crisis and to educate others through the process. The artists on the team work across media, from traditional carving to land-based performance to sound to the digital sublime. Join us as they share working processes and work-in-progress for Awi’nakola.

This program is part of the Awi’nakola artists’ week-long visit to Chicago to connect, share ideas, and plant seeds toward future collaborations. The Awi’nakola art team consists of artists Rande Cook (Ma’amtagila), Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde (Kanienke’haka), Kelly Richardson, and Paul Walde—all based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia—and Chicago-based curator Stephanie Smith. Smith will co-host the evening with the Gray Center’s Zachary Cahill.

Food and drink will be served.
Free and open to the public. 

For more about the week long program please click here.


About the participants

Rande Cook is a hereditary Kwakwaka’wakw chief from Yalis (Alert Bay, British Columbia), a visual artist, and the founder of Awi’nakola. Cook is passionate about preserving ancient forests on his territory, and around the world. His art stems from that passion: expressed through a mix of traditional and contemporary approaches and media and aligned with Kwakwaka’wakw stories and values.Cook has apprenticed with master carvers working in traditional Northwest Coast methods, received an MFA from the University of Victoria, and held the Audain Professorship of Contemporary Art Practice of the Pacific Northwest at the University of Victoria (2016–2017).

Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde is a Kanieknke’haka woman from Kahnawake. Her multi-media practice centers Indigenous theater and land-based dramaturgy, grounded in her philosophy of “Embodied Earth Healing.”  Delaronde holds an MFA and MA in Indigenous Communities Counseling Psychology from the University of Victoria, and is pursuing a PhD in Indigenous Governance. She holds the Audain Professorship of Contemporary Art Practice of the Pacific Northwest at the University of Victoria (2022–2023) and was the City of Victoria’s Artist-in-Residence (2017–2019).

Kelly Richardson uses digital technology to make works centered on environmental issues and our relationship to the planet. Her projects ask viewers to consider what it is that we truly value and where we might go from here.  Recent solo exhibitions include Dundee Contemporary Arts (Scotland), Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (Austria), CAG Vancouver (Canada), and Albright-Knox Art Gallery (USA). Group exhibitions include the Beijing, Busan, Gwangju, and Montreal biennials. She holds MFAs from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and Newcastle University and is Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Victoria.

Paul Walde is a multi-disciplinary artist best known for performance- and sound-based works staged in the natural environment. Central issues in Walde’s art include non-human communication, deforestation, and climate change.  Recent solo exhibitions include Kamloops Art Gallery (CA) and Indexical (USA), and group shows at venues including 3rd Coventry Biennial (UK), Musée des Beaux Arts de Montreal (CA), Anchorage Museum (USA), and Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum (NO). Walde holds an MA from New York University and is Professor at the University of Victoria.

Stephanie Smith is a curator, writer, and arts leader whose collaborative, socially engaged projects assert art’s power to envision and enact other futures. She values place-responsive, generous, and hospitable ways of working—honed through 25+ years of curatorial practice including senior roles at museums in the US and Canada, and international projects. Her current research addresses regenerative culture.  Smith holds an MA from Rice University and is pursuing her PhD with the University of Amsterdam. She is Provostial Researcher at the University of Chicago’s Franke Institute for the Humanities (2022–2023).

Image: Artist Kelly Richardson gathering high-resolution images of “slash piles” on a clear-cut site on Vancouver Island for use in a work for Awi’nakola, summer 2022 (Photo: Stephanie Smith)

The Awi’nakola artists’ visit to Chicago is supported by the University of Chicago’s Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry; Office of the Provost; Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity and Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society; and by the Center for Native Futures. Additional support for the Awi’nakola artists’ visit is provided by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Watershed: Art + Ecology.