Ke’tapekiaq Ma’qimikew: The Land Sings Cherish Violet Blood
Ursula Johnson
Rosary Spence

Wednesday, January 10, 3–8pm
Blackwood Gallery


Presented in conjunction with the exhibition #callresponse on view at the Blackwood Gallery from January 8–27, 2018, and as part of Take Care, Circuit 4: Stewardship.

Ursula Johnson and Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Nikamon Ohci Askiy (Ke’tapekiaq Ma’qimikew): The Land Sings (performance documentation), 2016. Created for FADO Performance Art Centre’s MONOMYTHS program. Song lyrics co-written by Cheryl L’Hirondelle and Joseph Naytowhow, song melody co-written by Cheryl L’Hirondelle and Ursula Johnson, © 2016 Miyoh Music/SOCAN.
Photo: Henry Chan. Courtesy the artists.

Ke’tapekiaq Ma’qimikew: The Land Sings
Performance by Cherish Violet Blood, Ursula Johnson, Rosary Spence
Wednesday, January 10, 3–8pm
Innovation Complex Rotunda, UTM

A FREE shuttle bus departs Mercer Union at 5:30pm and returns downtown at 8pm.

Ke'tapekiaq Ma'qimikew: The Land Sings is an audio-based endurance performance that offers an apology to the land for the ways in which our human impact has shaped the landscape and displaced the voices of many Indigenous peoples. Johnson’s project posits song as a positive force that brings people together in the act of singing. The land is recognized as a feminine body and a matriarch by many Indigenous nations, and many cultures determine their movement on the land through song. In the process of collaboration, the song takes shape and gains a new title in the language of the participants and in response to the land on which it is performed.


Cherish Violet Blood is a professionally trained, seasoned performer with active followings in the national Native and Toronto theatre community. She is an actor, storyteller, comedian, activist, and Blackfoot woman from the Blood Reserve, AB, with extensive traditional hand drumming and contemporary singing skills. A graduate of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto,  Blood has performed all over North America and is a member of New York’s Spider Woman Theater company.

Ursula Johnson is the winner of the 2017 Sobey Art Award. She is an interdisciplinary artist and an enrolled member of the Eskasoni First Nation Mi’kmaq Community on Cape Breton Island, currently based in Dartmouth, NS. She is active in Mi’kmaw language revitalization and descendent from a long line of esteemed basketmakers. Her nationally touring solo show Mi'kwite'tmn (Do You Remember) considers the consumption of traditional knowledge within colonial institutions. Johnson was awarded The Hnatyshyn Foundation’s 2017 Reveal Indigenous Art Award.

Rosary Spence is a recognized Indigenous singer, steeped in time-honoured rhythms and styles. Spence's debut album Maskawasiwin (a Cree word for “strength”) was released in 2015. She is a featured artist on a variety of albums and collaborations, most recently a 12-track compilation titled Women's Voices For Attawapiskat, dedicated to the people of Attawapiskat First Nation. Spence is originally from the coastal Cree community of Fort Albany First Nation, off the coast of James Bay.


#callresponse is co-organized by Tarah Hogue, Maria Hupfield and Tania Willard. We acknowledge the politics of violence in North America as it relates to Indigenous lands and bodies including on the many Indigenous territories where the projects take place, whether they are ancestral, traditional, unceded, unsurrendered, urban, rural and/or reserve.

#callresponse, Blackwood Gallery, and Letters & Handshakes extend deepest thanks to all the participating artists, respondents, and the networks that support the important work they undertake at all levels. Thank you also to those who have led and participated in the programming around the exhibition.

The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the operating support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the University of Toronto Mississauga.


The Blackwood Gallery is grateful for the generous support of #callresponse from the Jackman Humanities Institute Artist-in-Residence Program, the BC Arts Council, and grunt gallery, with additional support from the Department of Visual Studies and Women and Gender Studies (UTM).

Funding for staff support was made possible through the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations Graduate Internship program, Department of Canadian Heritage. The Canadian Museums Association administers the program on behalf of the Department of Canadian Heritage.