Maurice Switzer et Clayton Windatt

Maurice Switzer is a citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation and a member of the Sons of Jacob congregation in North Bay. He is the principal of Nimkii Communications, specializing in presentations on the Treaty relationship to school boards across Ontario. The first Indigenous student to attend Trent University, he has served on the faculties of the University of Sudbury, Huntington University, Canadore College, First Nations Technical Institute, and the Banff Aboriginal School of Leadership and Management. During a lengthy career in the newspaper industry, he became the first Indigenous publisher of a Canadian daily, and later served as director of communications for the Assembly of First Nations and the Union of Ontario Indians. His articles regularly appear in the Anishinabek News and North Bay Nugget. Currently a board member of the White Water Gallery, North Bay’s Coordinating Body for Arts, Culture, and Heritage (CBACH), and the Aanmitaagzi art collective, he previously served on the boards of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Laurentian University Museum and Arts Centre in Sudbury, and the W.P. Kennedy Gallery in North Bay. He produces freelance articles on the North Bay arts and culture scene for the daily North Bay Nugget. He is the author of “We are all Treaty People“ — a graphic novel that has sold over 8,000 copies — and “Bruno Cavallo: a Conversation”, about a Sudbury artist who studied and painted with five members of the Group of Seven. Maurice was the recipient of an Anishinabek Nation Lifetime Achievement Award and inducted into the Nipissing District Human Rights Hall of Fame.

Born in St. Catherines, Clayton Windatt has lived in the Northeastern region of Ontario for most of his life and is a Métis Multi-artist. After previously working as Director of the White Water Gallery Artist-Run for 7 years he now works as Interim Director of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and as an independent curator. Clayton holds a BA in Fine Art from Nipissing University and received his Graphic Design certification from Canadore College. He works actively with several arts organizations locally, provincially and nationally on committees and boards of directors including working with the National Arts Service Organization planning committee, Visual Arts Alliance and CARFAC Ontario. Clayton maintains contracted positions with various theatre programs and works as a writer for the North Bay Nipissing News, Muskrat magazine and Dispatch magazine. He works with the ON THE EDGE fringe festival, is a mentor member of the Future In Safe Hands Collective and currently works with Business for the Arts as a Mentor for their ArtsVest program. He aids Aanmitaagzi with their different community arts events and contributes actively as a writer, designer, curator, performer, theatre technician, consultant and is an active visual and media artist.

Invited to FAAS 5 by ZAKIDE

The use of the Ojibwe word “Zakide” is both in respect for the Aboriginal territory that we inhabit, but also the excitement towards the events that we are planning. This collective/group has been created to explore Aboriginal programming free of any existing institutions and it may become the first Aboriginal specific Artist-Run Centre to exist in Ontario as it grows and becomes more established. Currently we are being realistic about our path, which is why we have adopted the all-encompassing mandate: To advance the public’s appreciation of contemporary Aboriginal art by producing public art exhibitions and presentations, and by providing a forum for qualified Aboriginal artists to exhibit, present, or perform their artistic works through participation in such events. This mandate does not define parameters making opportunities available for artists from across Canada as well as opportunities for events to take place both locally and nationally when possible. Our focus will be to create an Aboriginal voice for the contemporary arts in Ontario. There are obvious ways for cross-cultural collaboration, but Zakide will always remain within the Aboriginal perspective no matter the content of its shows. Over the past two years different Aboriginal Artists directly connected to Zakide have been conducting small multi-arts projects as a way of testing the waters and building interest in the formation of Zakide. Currently Zakide remains an ad-hoc group and loose collective of artists from across Ontario but as we move forward we will be looking at formalizing in many ways while keeping our options open and refining our actions over time as events occur and feedback is gained from our peers.