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Artists as Writers: Maskegon-Iskwew, Ahasiw

Artist Biography

(still from INDIANacts Conference Panel (30 Nov 2002), all rights reserved by grunt gallery's Ghostkeeper website (part of Activating the Archive ATA project))

MASKEGON-ISKWEW, Ahasiw (1958 - 2006)

Areas of Expertise

Performance, Installation, Education, Indigenous Perspectives, Curation, Spoken Word, Writing

Biography

Ahasiw Maskegon-Iskwew was a Cree/French Métis born in McLennan, Alberta in 1958. He graduated in performance art and installation from Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Vancouver, British Columbia in 1985. He was Director, Exhibition and Performance Coordinator, and Board Member for the Pitt Gallery in Vancouver (1988-1990) and worked as Adult Education Instructor for the Native Education Centre in Vancouver teaching Contemporary Native Cultural Studies, College Preparation English, and Native Studies (1990-1991). Maskegon-Iskwew was accepted in the two year Equity Internship Program at the Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa, where he received training in the Media Arts and Visual Arts Sections, and the Art Bank (1992–1994). Two residencies in the internship also included work with the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College and Circle Vision Arts Corporation in Regina, and the Aboriginal Film and Video Art Alliance at the Banff Centre for the Arts.

He then became Program Coordinator, Acting Executive Director, and Assistant Editor of the Talking Stick First Nations Arts Magazine for Circle Vision Arts Corporation (1994-1995) and went on to develop the position of Production Manager for SOIL Digital Media Production Suite at Neutral Ground Artist-Run Centre (1996-1998). Maskegon-Iskwew also worked as the Web Editor for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (2000–2004). He was editor of the online Aboriginal arts magazine ConunDrum that premiered in July 2005 produced by Urban Shaman Aboriginal Artist-Run Centre in Winnipeg as well as rapporteur for the online performance art discussion After the Factsproduced by Fado Performance Art in Toronto. 

Another project was the on-line Aboriginal media arts research and creative community development project Drumbeats to Drumbytes that began touring at OBORO in Montreal, February 2005, in the group exhibition Language of Intercession curated by Steve Loft for the Art Gallery of Hamilton in 2003. In May 2005, Maskegon-Iskwew was awarded a two year Aboriginal curatorial residency grant by the Canada Council for the Arts to take up the position of New Media Curator at Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery to pursue his curatorial theme Storm Spirits: The Cultural Ecology of Aboriginal New Media Art

Maskegon-Iskwew was an accomplished writer, editor, performance and spoken word artist, video and visual artist, curator and teacher whose critical writing has been published in Mix and Fuse Magazine and in the anthology The Multiple and Mutable Subject: Postmodern Subjectivity and the Internet (2002), published by the St. Norbert Arts Centre. 

© Above biography from Drumbeats to Drumbytes website and from grunt gallery's Ghostkeeper website

Online Resources

Ghostkeeper, a website by Vancouver's grunt gallery as part of their Activating the Archives project. The website includes biographical information as well as Maskegon-Iskwew's writings, images, and video works/interviews.

View Maskegon-Iskwew at 2002 IndianACTS Conference in panel discussions regarding the violence in making art, children who have lost their histories & ceremonies, and Hollywood and the pedagogy of the oppressed from grunt gallery's archives' INDIANacts website, part of Activating the Archives (image © grunt gallery from Ghostkeeper website, all rights reserved)

Maskegon-Iskwew's Drumbeats to Drumbtyes website with his biographical & bibliographic information and details regarding the Drumbeats to Drumbytes project.

isi-pîkiskwêwin-ayapihkêsîsak "Speaking the Language of Spiders" collaborative project by Maskegon-Iskwew and other artists (original project 1996-2005). The above website is an updated version of the project by Cheryl L'Hirondelle for 2012 exhibition Ghostkeeper, an exhibition by grunt gallery & On Main Gallery 1965.

Writing by Akasiw Maskegon-iskwew

Please note that not all works are available through the OCADU library. To acquire one of these works through Interlibrary Loan or other means, please contact the library for assistance.

Akasiw Maskegon-iskwew: Writing for and about his own art

"Children Shining on the Moon (performance text)."
Read this text online from Ahasiw's old website. This text is also found on the Spider Languages site with accompanying visual work 

"Artist Statement." Banff Centre for the Arts, 1996-2005 Read this artist statement from Spider Languages website.
The statement was for a collaborative project to create aboriginal art space with Ahasiw as artistic director. It includes various aboriginal artists in making of multimedia work, collaborative storytelling work that includes poetry, photographic, and computer generated images.

Akasiw Maskegon-iskwew: Writing about art and visual media

"Aboriginal Authorship and Production in Virtual Reality." Banff Centre for the Arts, May 20-22, 1994.
A paper presentation at Cyberconf: The Fourth International Conference on Cyberspace as part of Diversity, Technology and Cyberspace panel moderated by Sara Diamond.

"Drumbeats to Drumbytes." A report about the gathering of aboriginal media artists, Drumbeats to Drumbytes, hosted by Aboriginal Film and Video Arts Alliance and Banff Centre for the Arts, 1994. View the report edited for Ahasiw's website with information about the project and timeline, or read the original report in PDF from Ahasiw's website

"The Mocassin Telegraph Goes High-Tech." Talking Stick: First Nations Arts Magazine 1.2 (Spring 1994): 26.

Curatorial statement in exhibition catalogue nanâtawihitowin-âcimowina (Healing Stories): Three Collaborative First Peoples Performances. Banff: Walter Phillips Gallery, 1995.

"Native Love: Subverting the Boundaries of the Heart."  FUSE 19.4 (Summer 1996): 24.

 "Nêhiyawêwin and Virtual Reality." 6th International Symposium on Electronic Art conference proceeding (1995) • also included in MIX: The Magazine of Artistrun Culture (formerly Parallélogramme) 21.4 (Winter 1995): 38-9. Read online from ISEA webarchive or read online from Ahasiw's old website.

"Talk Indian To Me #1." MIX: The Magazine of Artistrun Culture (formerly Parallélogramme) 21.4 (Fall 1995). Read from grunt gallery's Ghostkeeper website or from Ahasiw's old 1996 website.

"Talk Indian to Me #2 (Neheyawewin and Virtual Reality)."  MIX: The Magazine of Artistrun Culture (formerly Parallélogramme) 21.4 (Winter 1995): 38-9. Read from Ahasiw's old 1996 website.

"Talk Indian to Me #3 (wêmistikôsiwi--mîcim)." MIX: The Magazine of Artistrun Culture (formerly Parallélogramme) 21.4 (1996): 36-8. Read online from grunt gallery's Ghostkeeper website or from Ahasiw's old 1996 website.

"Talk Indian to Me #4 (Speaking Spider Languages)." MIX: The Magazine of Artistrun Culture (formerly Parallélogramme) 22.1 (Summer 1996): 62-3. Read online from grunt gallery's Ghostkeeper website.

"Talk Indian To Me #5 (Walking in Beauty)." MIX: The Magazine of Artistrun Culture (formerly Parallélogramme) 22.3 (Winter 1996): 58-60. Read online from grunt gallery's Ghostkeeper website.
Writing about the performance work Ancient Memories

Ahasiw was part of the "Sublime and Impossible Bodies Panel" at SIGGRAPH 98. SIGGRAPH 98 Conference abstracts and applications. New York: ACM, 1998  Read Ahasiw's short statement about it online.

"Front Line Art: Forum on Community Arts Report." Eds. Louise May & Gerry Atwell. Winnipeg: St. Norbert Arts and Cultural Centre, 1999.

"Hysterical, Auto-Cannibalist Culture versus Trans-temporal Interwoven Identities." The Multiple and Mutable Subject. Eds. Vera Lemecha and Reva Stone. St. Norbert, MB: St. Norbert Arts Centre, 2001.

Statement for "Aboriginal Collaborations—Within and Between Nations, Within and Between Cultures" panel at Banff New Media Institute's Bridges Two Consortium, 2002.
Read Ahasiw's abstract for the panel, or listen to Ahasiw's presentation (17:18). Also see the website for Bridges Two Consortium.

"Cyberskins." Paper presentation by Ahasiw at ISEA 2004 Twelfth International Symposium on Electronic Art.  See ISEA archive mentioning this paper presentation.

"Weak Credentials: Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge in Contemporary Colonial Art." Tiré à part/Off Printing: Conference proceedings. Montreal: RCAAQ,  June 2005. Read online from Ahasiw's website.

"The Strength of Uncertain Relations: Violence, Indeterminance and the Art of Peace, Rapporteur's Interim Report." After the Facts. Toronto: Fado Performance Art, 2004-2005.
An online discussion of performance art, moderated by Paul Couillard.

"Documenting Fluid Memes: Slippery Translucence and Visceral Reflection in Performance Art,Rapporteur's Final Report." After the Facts. Toronto: Fado Performance Art, June 2005. Read online from Ahasiw's website.
An online discussion of performance art, moderated by Paul Couillard.

"Sneakup and the Totentanz: All Our Relations Confronting the Dance of Death." INDIANacts - Aboriginal Performance Art. Curated by Lori Blondeau and Dana Claxton, edited by Florene Belmore. Vancouver: grunt gallery, 2002. Read article online from Ahasiw's website. See also:

"Drumbeats to Drumbytes: Globalizing Networked Aboriginal Art." Transference, Tradition, Technology: Native New Media Exploring Visual & Digital Culture. Eds.Dana Claxton, Steven Loft, Melanie Townsend. Banff: Walter Phillips Gallery Editions in association with Art Gallery of Hamilton & Indigenous Media Arts Group, 2005.

"Mapping Homunculi at War: Aboriginal Performance Art Sneaks Up." A curatorial essay in exhibition booklet Signified: Ritual Language in First Nations Performance Art. Regina: Sâkêwêwak Artists Collective, 2002.
This is essay is about the performance art of Reona Brass and Bently Spang

"Cheryl L'Hirondelle Waynohtêw: Waynohtêw and the âpihtawikosisân Infiltration of Deep Structure." Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women. Eds. Tanya Mars and Johanna Householder. Toronto: YYZ Books, 2004. 306-314.

Akasiw Maskegon-iskwew: Interviews and Panel Presentations

Ahasiw & Sherrill L'Hirondelle at INDIANacts Conference panel, 30 Nov 2002. Watch interview online.

Ahasiw speaking at INDIANacts Conference panel, 30 Nov 2002. Watch interview online.

Ahasiw INDIANacts interview (interview begins at 14:35)

A longer interview with Ahasiw from grunt gallery's Ahasiw Ghostkeeper website

Ahasiw at INDIANacts (2002) on panel discussing "How do you contend with the violence of making art," "Refugee Children," and "Hollywood and the pedagogy of the oppressed" [watch online]

Electric Living in Canada. [DVD-ROM] by James K-M & Carol Sill. Vancouver: Electric Living Productions, 2003.
On this DVD, Ahasiw is interviewed in this collection of interviews with 90 media artists about their work & significance

Akasiw Maskegon-iskwew: Fiction

Cannibal God. Part of Storybook Story exhibition curated by Luanne Martineau. Art Gallery of Calgary, 2002. Read online from Ahasiw's website.

Akasiw Maskegon-iskwew: Curatorial Work

Curatorial statement in exhibition catalogue nanâtawihitowin-âcimowina (Healing Stories): Three Collaborative First Peoples Performances. Banff: Walter Phillips Gallery, 1995.

"Mapping Homunculi at War: Aboriginal Performance Art Sneaks Up." A curatorial essay in the exhibition booklet Signified: Ritual Language in First Nations Performance Art. Regina: Sâkêwêwak Artists Collective, 2002.
This essay discusses the performance art of Reona Brass and Bently Spang.

Akasiw Maskegon-iskwew: Editorials and Editing Work

"ConunDrumOnline.ca Editorial." Winnipeg: Urban Shaman Aboriginal Artist-Run Centre. Read Steve Loft and Ahasiw's editorial from Issue #1.