by Katya Serré

Exhibition statement

Wiijiiwdiwag moves through the complicated, enforced false dichotomies between modernity and tradition; Indigenous artistic and cultural practices are often falsely assumed to be exclusively historical and therefore incompatible with contemporary artistic discourse. It is this precise site of tension that Katya Serré’s solo exhibition Wiijiiwdiwag pushes back against as an insistence that Indigenous artistic and cultural praxis remains not only critically relevant and timely as an anticolonial analytic, but also a wonderful discourse unto its own. By including popular cultural references such as Gengar from Pokémon and Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars, Serré underscores the expansive breath of Indigenous artistic practice that too often is met with curatorial or institutional categorizations of tradition, and instead pushes for a celebration of Indigenous heterogeneity.   

Every piece included in Wiijiiwdiwag repeats a circular composition or substrate, nodding to an Anishinaabe worldview of cyclical existence and the many teachings of the medicine wheel. Additionally, by including, for example, a drum and Gengar stickers with woodland designs, Serré invites us to consider our varying relationships to objects, and the metaphysical relationships we do or do not form accordingly. 

The title Wiijiiwdiwag – they go with, come with, accompany each other – reminds us of the interconnectedness inherent in Indigenous cosmologies. Combined, the 5 works in Wiijiiwdiwag denote a state of mutual accompaniment across temporal, aesthetic, and cultural boundaries towards a brilliant, manifold praxis of contemporary Indigenous art. 

Artist Biography

Katya Serré is a two spirit Anishinaabe interdisciplinary artist from Nipissing First Nation. Her artistic practice often revolves around complications between notions of tradition and modernity working in harmony, or in some cases, in dissonance with one another. For Serré, Anishnaabe artistic discourse is both a means of cultural and communal building and celebration while serving as a form of anticolonial resistance. Katya graduated from Nipissing University (North Bay, ON) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (honours, with distinction) minoring in Indigenous Studies. She is currently serving as the Network Facilitator for the Near North Mobile Media Lab. Previously, she was a Program Facilitator for Digital Creator North and was integral in this North Bay-based digital art program’s success with the youth. Serré has shown work at: WKP Kennedy Gallery, White Water Gallery; North Bay, and the Temiskaming Art Gallery; Haileybury.

Using Format