March 26 – June 5, 2022

In August 2021 and continuing to December 2021, the artist Tanya Lukin Linklater began a process of collaborative choreography—albeit one that was geographically dispersed—with four dancers over ten weeks: Ivanie Aubin-Malo and Hanako Hoshimi-Caines from Montréal and Ceinwen Gobert and Emily Law, based in Toronto. Tanya initially composed and sent concise texts and instructions (which can be understood as scores) to prompt the dancers’ physical investigations. The dancers in turn produced short works for the camera with recorders provided by the artist. The work takes place where each performer lives: in Toronto and in Montréal. Formed in response to the pandemic moment, Tanya describes the process as one intended to be sustainable and a means to support collective well-being despite the alienation of distance. Lukin describes this collaborative process as follows:

… relationships built over time … are tended to in a process of communication and reciprocity. I consider collaboration an anticolonial approach in that I work to eliminate violence within the process; to do no harm (Paul Cormiere, an Anishnaabe scholar in Ontario, recently spoke about this). Beyond the elimination of violence within the process, I attempt to embody and transmit Indigenous ethics in these relationships.

Central to the work are two sculptural elements installed at 72 Perth. One is a round performance platform clad in wood with its sides painted in copper, a nod to the role of copper in Indigenous communities as a signifier of both inherited and communal wealth. The other is a suspended sculpture created from the fabric used to make what are called kohkom scarves, worn by Indigenous women and increasingly as a sign of Indigenous solidarity. Kohkom is Cree for grandmother, and for Tanya, the scarves are a way to evoke “women’s intergenerational, embodied, experiential (and sometimes land-based) knowledge.”

Tanya’s work also intervenes in the usual hierarchies that exist in museum and gallery spaces by generating a sense of community through her collaborators, including the land itself. She explains:

Hierarchies of value and power exist in performance and museum systems, but I attempt to work against that. In performance, a kind of community is made with the people you’re working alongside. The institution is not built for people; it is built for objects. All of the conversations I have in advance, in the proposal (paying dancers a living wage), the ways in which we orient ourselves to the space and inhabit it for a short duration, our way of being with one another—these are ways I work against the ongoing violence of [institutional] systems.

Monitors on the wall play the short-form choreographies by each of the dancers, some of which take place on land, others in relation to water. For Tanya, location is important as it is tethered to how direction is embedded within Indigenous ideologies as a means to orient oneself and the basis of systems of belief.

Commissioned by the Toronto Biennial of Art. Made possible with the generous support of the Women Leading Initiative, Ontario Arts Council, Dickinson Wright LLP, and Audrey S. Hellyer Charitable Foundation.

A related exhibition of the artist’s work, My mind is with the weather, will be at Oakville Galleries opening June 5th, 2022.

Audio Didactic:


Tanya Lukin Linklater’s performances, works for camera, installations, and writings cite Indigenous dance and visual art lineages, our structures of sustenance, and weather as an organizing force. She undertakes embodied inquiry and rehearsal in relation to scores and ancestral belongings in museums and elsewhere alongside dance artists, composers, and poets. Through collaboration, her work reckons with histories that affect Indigenous peoples’ lived experiences, (home)lands, and ideas. She continues to write in relation to what she has come to call felt structures. Her forthcoming and recent exhibitions include the 14th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea; Aichi Triennale, Japan; Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver; Chicago Architecture Biennial; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville; Heard Museum, Phoenix; Jan Kaps, Cologne; La Biennale de Montréal; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Oakville Galleries, Ontario; New Museum Triennial, New York; Remai Modern, Saskatoon; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Toronto Biennial of Art; and Winnipeg Art Gallery. Tanya Lukin Linklater is represented by Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver. She is the recipient of the Wexner Center for the Arts Artist Residency Award and The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. Slow Scrape, her first collection of poetry, was published by The Centre for Expanded Poetics and Anteism, Montréal (2020) with a second edition published by Talonbooks, Vancouver (2022). Her Sugpiaq homelands, Afognak and Port Lions, are in southwestern Alaska, and she lives and works in Nbisiing Anishinaabeg aki in Ontario. Participated in the “Contingencies of Care” Residency, 2021.

Exhibition Site

72 Perth Avenue

72 Perth Ave
Toronto ON
M6R 2C2