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Five Indigenous Creatives You Need to Check Out Now
Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs
Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs has been impressing Canadian audiences for years. The Mohawk actor was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award in 2013 for her leading role in the TIFF film Rhymes for Young Ghouls, has been seen on Canadian TV series like Mohawk Girls and has a role in the upcoming third season of CTV’s murder-mystery Cardinal. Last year, The Hollywood Reporter named her as one of Canada’s rising stars for 2017. Keep an eye out for Jacobs: she just landed the role of college student Sam Black Crow in season two of American Gods, an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s fantasy hit, which is slated to premiere in 2019.
Billy-Ray Belcourt’s stunning debut book of poetry, This Wound is a World, is fresh off of its 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize win earlier this month. And that’s not the only acclaim for Belcourt, who is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation. The former Rhodes Scholar also won Most Significant Book of Poetry in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer at the Indigenous Voices Awards. Part memoir, part manifesto, This Wound is a World (which was published last year) explores the hope for a queer Indigenous future.
If you’ve yet to listen to Tanya Tagaq’s music, add her to your playlist now. The Nunavut-born Inuk throat singer calls herself an experimental vocalist, blending electronic, rock and punk sounds into her music. Tagaq won the Polaris Prize for her 2014 album Animism and is also a Juno Award winner and an Indigenous Music Award winner. You can catch her performing across Canada this summer, including at the Ottawa Jazz Festival later this month. This fall, the multi-talented artist is also dropping her first book, Split Tooth, which combines fiction and memoir, myth and reality to tell the story of a girl growing up in 1970s Nunavut.
Oji-Cree, two-spirit storyteller Joshua Whitehead (who is from the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba) is a poet and novelist. Whitehead’s debut novel Jonny Appleseed, which was published in May, is a powerful coming-of-age story that follows a two-spirit Indigequeer young man who becomes a cybersex worker to make a living off reserve. As Jonny prepares to return home for his stepfather’s funeral, he recalls the stories and memories of his past, which touch on family, love, lust and trauma.
Jeneen Frei Njootli
Jeneen Frei Njootli, who’s from the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in the Yukon, is a Vancouver-based interdisciplinary artist. She frequently uses printed images, sculpture and performance to explore traditional Indigenous practices and land-based knowledge. Recently, she presented at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto, had her first solo exhibition in NYC and made the shortlist for the National Gallery of Canada’s Sobey Art Award. Next for the artist? Another solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver that opens in July.
the face I make when I realize I love something…?I LOVE WAXING CLOTHING.? made 4 of these bad boi summer parkas for @mourningcoup @gay_billl @willardart and myself. They are becoming sculptures for Coney Island Baby’s exhibition at TPW in tkaronto this September! #parka #sewing #rabbits #hare #BUSHgallery #bush #waxedcanvas #waxeddenim #love #infatuation #TPW #DENIM #land