13 February 2018

Is the contemporary art scene in Canada as inclusive as it claims to be? What about Quebec? In an article (French only) published in Le Devoir on 10 February 2018, Jason Lewis noted that “Quebec society is in denial about Indigenous people […] there is a very strong desire to identify communal space as Quebecois space.” Furthermore, “in the Western world, art is separate from knowledge, the artist from the scientist, the aesthetic from the political. For First Nations, these realities go together.” These are among the reasons why Lewis felt it has been difficult to create a dialogue in contemporary art that goes beyond the fundamental differences between Eurocentric and Indigenous conceptualizations of art.

Not all hope is lost, however. In an article published in Concordia University Magazine on 30 January 2018, Lewis exposed the innovative approach of the Indigenous Futures research cluster. “These clean divisions between science, engineering, art and the humanities are not clean at all,” he affirmed. And it is precisely through multidisciplinary work that the conversation on Indigeneity will break open.

Jason Lewis is a 2014 Trudeau fellow and the Concordia University Research Chair in Computational Media and the Indigenous Future Imaginary as well as a professor in design and computation arts. Read the Le Devoir article here and the Concordia University Magazine article here.

Jason Edward Lewis

Building on his work with First Nations high school students on the Mohawk reserve of Khanawake, Professor Lewis’ Trudeau project will launch a residency program in which Indigenous youth will lead the drive to imagine a prosperous future for Indigenous communities using interactive media.

2014 Fellows