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7th Annual New Sun Conference on Aboriginal Arts
Reaching Back + Reaching Out
Carleton University, March 1, 2008


Reaching Back + Reaching Out

The signature image for the 7th Annual New Sun Conference on Aboriginal Arts dramatically symbolizes this year’s theme, Reaching Back + Reaching Out. The photograph of dancer Santee Smith is a rich visual metaphor for a communal act of reaching back into the past to affirm the strength of traditions, to honour the knowledge of elders, to rescue stories from the shadows, and to revitalize art forms for a new generation. The photographic image is no less a metaphor for reaching out beyond the Aboriginal community to a myriad of other communities in a spirit of generosity and celebration.

At this year’s conference Six Nations dancer/choreographer Santee Smith will perform an excerpt from her work, Kaha:wi, and discuss the challenges and rewards of a life in dance. In tandem with her presentation, well known actor/choreographer Michael Greyeyes will screen the film, Triptych, an exploration of residential school fallout which he wrote, choreographed and performed in. Film is also the favoured medium of Kahnawake native Tracey Deer whose documentary treatments of urban Aboriginal youth have earned her a devoted following. Her recent award-winning film, Mohawk Girls, resonates with the experiences of youth far beyond the Aboriginal community.  No less compelling are the smart and sassy lyric poems of performance artist Taqralik Partridge, whose wry observations of urban Inuit life surge with a restless rhythm and energy. The rhythms and energy of contemporary Aboriginal life are given added context and historical depth by heritage language conservationist Clealls (John Medicine Horse Kelly), and ethnomusicologist and pianist Elaine Keillor, who will trace the development of the encyclopaedic websites, and Joining them in their presentation is singer Beverly Souliere, a contributor the latter website.

It promises to be a most rewarding day. 

All my relations,

Allan J. Ryan


A presentation of the New Sun Chair in Aboriginal Art and Culture
with the support of the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences and the New Sun Fund
administered by the Community Foundation of Ottawa .