RENDER ART GALLERY (Waterloo, Ontario)

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A project by Jeff Thomas commissioned by RENDER
November 6, 2009 through February 13, 2010

Opening reception, roundtable discussion and video screenings:
Saturday, November 21

1 – 4 pm @ RENDER, University of Waterloo main campus
6 – 9 pm @ Waterloo Architecture, Cambridge

With Home/land & Security, artist and curator Jeff Thomas offers a distinct response to the land disputes that have erupted along Ontario’s Grand River valley on land defined as the Haldimand Tract. Initially developed out of a consideration of the ongoing conflict between members of the Six Nations and building developers in the town of Caledonia, Thomas’s project has expanded to embrace broader concepts of home and security and to explore the divisions between native and non-native communities. Commissioned by RENDER, the project embodies a hybrid artist/curator approach, with Thomas producing a new body of work that forms the basis of a dialogue with other artists. Thomas’s goal is to encourage cross-cultural dialogue and a deeper understanding of the history of the region.

The Six Nations were granted the Haldimand Tract by the British crown in 1784 following the American Revolution. Originally encompassing all of the land six miles back from each shore of the Grand River, the tract was reduced over the years through land transfers (many disputed) and government intervention, leaving the Six Nations with only a small reserve located between Brantford and Caledonia. Challenges to the loss of land have been ongoing since the late 18th century, however, in recent years these have become more high profile and confrontational with the recent standoff at the Douglas Estates near Caledonia being a prime example. Much of the original Haldimand Tract is now the site of established towns and cities, including Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge (RENDER’s primary programming region), and areas of these communities are the focus of additional land disputes.

Home/land & Security
 includes new works by Barry Ace, Sara Angelucci, Mary Anne Barkhouse, Michael Belmore, Ron Benner, Rosalie Favell, Lorraine Gilbert, Jamelie Hassan, Pat Hess, Penny McCann, Wanda Nanibush, Shelley Niro, Bear Thomas and Eric Walker, along with works by Jeff Thomas and archival images from Six Nations. Home/land & Security is a major programming initiative for RENDER. It represents a considered extension of RENDER’s interdisciplinary research approach and further expands on the critical links between the university and surrounding community by engaging with a complex issue that will actively define the future of the region.

In addition to the exhibition in RENDER’s gallery space on the main campus of the University of Waterloo, works will also be installed at Waterloo Architecture and at the Grand House in Cambridge.Home/land and Security has received the support of The Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.


UW Daily Bulletin: Artists’ rendering of Ontario land claims