Indigenous Fashion Arts presents a new fashion installation at Nuit Blanche 2022 on October 1 at 1 The Esplanade (Yonge and Front Street underpass) called Ho’reh Tih Yeh Kuh, which loosely translates from Denesųłįné to English, meaning “To see the horizon at dawn,” featuring Catherine Blackburn (Dene), Melanie LeBlanc (Dene), Orlando Dugi (Diné, USA), Bibi Chemnitz (Inuk, Greenland), Victoria’s Arctic Fashion (Inuk), Curtis Oland (Lilwat) and Celeste Pedri-Spade (Anishinaabe) with music by Tanya Tagaq, Cris Derksen, Bear Fox, Ziibiiwan, Cliff Cardinal & the Skylarks and the Snotty Nose Rez Kids.
Inspired by the contrasting stories of The Woman on the Land from Denesuliné territory in Treaty 10 and The Cave by Plato, the European philosopher, this fashion installation invites you to physically move to view the works and consider how and what you choose to see. These stories speak to place, mobility and collective knowledge, which we express through mainstream fashion, Indigenous art and cultural practices in this installation.
In the story “The Woman on the Land,” Dene people reach their traplines, communities and trade routes in northern Saskatchewan by following a woman’s silhouette formed by landmarks of waterways and paths that are only seen aerially. These landmarks and the narrative of the woman on the land show how knowledge and viewpoints are shared for vital acts of collective migration, ways of knowing and survival.
In The Cave, chained prisoners see moving shadows cast on the cave wall. The shadows are made by living humans and animals outside the cave, though the prisoners (community members) are barred from knowing that. Knowledge is intentionally withheld to enforce authority and philosophical transcendence rather than collective well-being and survival.
In Ho’reh Tih Yeh Kuh, we invite audiences to question what they understand what is in front of them, how they choose to see that which is blocked and how they share that knoweldge. You will experience Indigenous-made fashion through various vantage points in 15 fashion vignettes. Hourly playback of commissioned music audibly alters perspective. Finally, lighting will stimulate our concept of land and place by inverting light rays of water and sky.
Featuring fashion works by seven Indigenous artists and designers with music playback by six Indigenous musicians, the 12-hour installation is at the Yonge and Front Street Underpass (1 The Esplanade). It is installed behind obstructing concrete archways and construction scaffolding.
We are thrilled to present the following collaborators and their works:
Catherine Blackburn and Melanie LeBlanc (Dene), “Convergence”
Curtis Oland (Lilwat), “Of the Undergrowth”
Victoria’s Arctic Fashion (Inuit), “Upingaksaaq”
Bibi Chemnitz (Inuit, Greenland), “Spring/Summer 2022 Collection”
Celeste Pedri-Spade (Anishinaabe), “NDN Rose”
Orlando Dugi (Diné, USA), “2022/2023 Mens Collection”
Tanya Tagaq (7pm & 1am)
Bear Fox (8pm & 2am)
Ziibiiwan (9pm & 3am)
Cris Derksen (10pm & 4am)
Cliff Cardinal & The Skylarks (11pm and 5am)
Snotty Nose Rez Kids (12am and 6am)
Musician soundscapes will play with the fashion works on an hourly rotation.
Production and Creative Team
Sage Paul, Curator & Director
Shannon Lea Doyle, Set Design
Gabriel Cropley, Lighting Design
Lindy Kinoshameg, Production Manager
Lesley Beardy, Program Coordinator
Simon Paul-Dene, Dene Language & Cultural Advisor
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the City of Toronto and Nuit Blanche, and we further extend our gratitude to Artistic Director, Dr. Julie Nagam and her team.