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Grounds of the former Pelican Lake Indian Residential School. Artist Lara Kramer is standing at the base of a tall conifer tree. Kramer is looking into the distance to the right with a frightened expression in her eyes. She is wrapped in a long white sheet at her chest that drapes below her feet and which has dirt and red stains at the hem. There is a red band or string wrapped around her left foot that follows up to her left upper arm, lower jaw, left shoulder, and upper back.

Colleges

Lara Kramer

2017-2018 Ashley Fellow

Political Studies, Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies, Champlain College, Gzowski College, Traill College and Artspace Gallery present the 40th annual Ashley Fellow, Artist Director Lara Kramer (Oji-Cree) of Lara Kramer Danse with partners Public Energy and Bodies and Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life.

2018 Ashley Fellow Public Access Guide


Trent Ashley Fellow, Artist Director Lara Kramer (Oji-Cree) of Lara Kramer Danse, is being hosted by Champlain College and Gzowski College in partnership with Political Studies and Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies, Artspace Gallery, Traill College, Public Energy, and Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life.

The Ashley Fellowship is funded by a bequest from the late Professor C.A. Ashley, longtime friend of Trent University and an enthusiastic proponent of the role which the informal contacts of College life can play in the academic pursuits of the University. The Ashley Fellow is therefore a visiting scholar who is a resident guest in one of Trent's residential Colleges. By the terms approved by Senate in 1976, and in keeping with Professor Ashley's wishes, "scholar" should be broadly interpreted to include persons not necessarily holding an academic appointment.

Biography of Lara Kramer

A seated headshot portrait of Lara Kramer in monochrome with her bent right elbow resting on the top of the chair backrest with right hand placed at the side of her head. She is looking directly at the viewer with what could be interpreted as an air of confidence and self-possession.Lara Kramer is the artistic director and choreographer Lara Kramer Danse (Montreal). Kramer is an Oji-Cree (Ojibwe and Cree) choreographer and multidisciplinary artist whose work is intimately linked to her memory and Aboriginal roots. She received her BFA in Contemporary Dance at Concordia University. Working with strong visuals and narrative, Kramer’s work pushes the strength and fragility of the human spirit. Her work is political and potent, often examining political issues surrounding Canada and First Nations Peoples. Kramer has been recognized as a Human Rights Advocate through the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre. Her work has been presented widely across Canada and abroad to Australia. Kramer's works have been hailed by critics, these include Fragments (2009), inspired by her mother's stories of being in residential school, and Native Girl Syndrome (2013), which exposes the marginalization and victimization of Indigenous women and the effects of cultural genocide. In 2017 the installation and performance piece This Time Will be Different, created in collaboration with Émilie Monnet, denounced the status quo of the Canadian government's discourse regarding First Nations and criticized the "national reconciliation industry". Phantom Stills & Vibrations (2018), created in collaboration with Stefan Petersen pulls the spectator into the former Pelican Falls residential school near Sioux Lookout, Ontario where three generations of her family attended. 

Photo credit left: Stefan Petersen

Learn more about Lara Kramer

Phantom, stills & vibrations

The photo is on the grounds of the former Pelican Lake Indian Residential School. Artist Lara Kramer is standing at the base of a tall conifer tree. Kramer is looking into the distance to the right with a frightened expression in her eyes. She is wrapped in a long white sheet at her chest that drapes below her feet and which has dirt and red stains at the hem. She is grabbing the tree with her right hand, extending her arm above her head. Her left arm is bent with her elbow resting in the crease of her left thigh as she prepares to mount the tree with her left leg bent and left foot in the crease of the tree which she can reach while her right food is on the ground. She is standing amidst thigh high tall plants. There is a red band or string wrapped around her left foot that follows up to her left upper arm, lower jaw, left shoulder, and upper back. There is a white two storey building with horizontal siding immediately left and behind the tree, and another two storey yellow building with horizontal siding in the near distance. There is a tree stump to the right of the artist.

Photo credit above: Stefan Petersen

Lara Kramer’s new work Phantom, stills & vibrations creates an intimacy with the north (Lac Seul, ON) and confronts the brutal and complex relationships between Indigenous peoples and Settler society. For this performance and sound installation, Kramer draws the spectator into an immersive experience of the former Pelican Lake Indian Residential School, where three generations of her family attended. Produced in collaboration with Stefan Petersen, Phantom stills & vibrations explores the residual effects of the Residential school system and the continuing trauma that permeates the landscape.

Schedule

All venues are physically accessible.

Monday February 26

Traditional Teaching: Artist Talk on Phantom, stills & vibrations
6:00pm to 8:00pm, Open to the Public with reception. 
Benedict Gathering Space, Gzowski College
 
40th Annual Ashley Fellow Lara Kramer (Oji-Cree), Artistic Director of Lara Kramer Danse will discuss her new work Phantom, stills & vibrations, that will be on exhibit at Artspace March 2 through 9.

Wednesday February 28

Public Artist Talk and Discovery of state of body workshop with reception in Scott House Senior Common Room
No dance experience required or expected
7:00pm to 9:00pm
Bagnani Hall, Traill College
 
40th Annual Ashley Fellow Lara Kramer (Oji-Cree), Artistic Director of Lara Kramer Danse will discuss her new work Phantom, stills & vibrations, that will be on exhibit at Artspace March 2 through 9. In the workshop component, Lara Kramer will bring participants into a creative process that supports the discovery of a state of body. The aim will be to explore and enter a state that will inform the physicality and theatricality of each individual. Working in solo form, participants will be encouraged to respond instinctually to lead explorations to develop an anchor, a central working system in the sensing body from which to build. Time will be allotted to develop and expand on personal connections made, deepening an awareness to the layering within state of body.

Friday March 2

Grand Opening of Elders Gathering
4:00pm to 6:00pm with highlights from all Elders Gathering presenters
Gzowski College, Room 114. Registration and information at webpages below.

Elders Gathering
Website
Registration
Schedule

Saturday March 3

Opening of Phantom, stills & vibrations, 12:00pm 
Artist performance at 1:30pm and 3:30pm with reception after the last performance. Open to the public. Written and audio description will be available.
Artspace Gallery, 378 Aylmer St. N. (between Hunter and Simcoe).
Exhibit continues through until March 9.
 
40th Annual Ashley Fellow Lara Kramer’s new work Phantom, stills & vibrations creates an intimacy with the north (Lac Seul, ON) and confronts the brutal and complex relationships between Indigenous peoples and Settler society. For this performance and sound installation, Kramer draws the spectator into an immersive experience of the former Pelican Lake Indian Residential School, where three generations of her family attended.

Monday March 5

Discovery of State of Body Public Workshop.
No Dance experience required or expected.
7:00pm to 9:00pm
The Seasoned Spoon Café, Champlain College
 
40th Annual Ashley Fellow Lara Kramer (Oji-Cree), Artistic Director of Lara Kramer Danse will bring participants into a creative process that supports the discovery of a state of body. The aim will be to explore and enter a state that will inform the physicality and theatricality of each individual. Working in solo form, participants will be encouraged to respond instinctually to lead explorations to develop an anchor, a central working system in the sensing body from which to build. Time will be allotted to develop and expand on personal connections made, deepening an awareness to the layering within state of body. Her new work Phantom, stills & vibrations is on exhibit at Artspace, March 2 to 9.

Tuesday March 6 

Social Fire in the Tipi  
2:00pm to 3:30pm
First People’s House of Learning Tipi

40th Annual Ashley Fellow Lara Kramer (Oji-Cree), Artistic Director of Lara Kramer Danse will join members of the Trent Community at the Social Fire in the tipi. Please drop by for a chat with her in this friendly, relaxing environment and warm up by the fire! A Firekeeper will be on hand.

Friday March 9

Closing of Phantom, stills & vibrations with performance followed by reception
7:00pm to 10:00pm, Open to the public. Written and audio description will be available.
Artspace Gallery, 378 Aylmer St. N. (between Hunter and Simcoe).
 
40th Annual Ashley Fellow Lara Kramer’s (Oji-Cree) new work creates an intimacy with the north (Lac Seul, ON) and confronts the brutal and complex relationships between Indigenous peoples and Settler society. For this performance and sound installation, Kramer draws the spectator into an immersive experience of the former Pelican Lake Indian Residential School, where three generations of her family attended.

From Nadine Changfoot: Ashley Fellow 2018 Producer

Lara Kramer’s work is intimately linked to memory, examining issues of social, political, cultural importance for Canada and First Nations Peoples. Her ground-breaking work Native Girl Syndrome (NGS) grapples with experiences of Indian Residential Schools which are prominent in her family’s history. In addition to NGS, she has created several feature length performance pieces (e.g. Tame, Of Good and Moral Character, Fragments) to critical acclaim that explore family and personal, complex, multilayered experiences, including from Indian Residential Schools and street life. These experiences speak to assimilation, cultural disorientation, confinement, survival, and human connection. Her works have been presented in Montreal, Ottawa, Peterborough, Rama, ON, Toronto, Regina, Edmonton, Banff, Vancouver, and Australia, gaining her recognition as an important Indigenous voice in Canada. She has been artist-in-residence across Canada and was also faculty of the Indigenous Dance Residency at The Banff Centre. She has been featured more than once in The Dance Current, Canada’s national dance magazine.
 
I met Lara in 2015 when she presented Tame at Market Hall in Peterborough to a full house and resounding warm and enthusiastic reception. Trent students and community, Indigenous and non-Indigneous, will be drawn to Lara for her warm personality and meaningful connections she makes with each person she meets. More than this, she explores the relationship between environment, experiences, and embodiment to create greater awareness and potential for expanded understanding of oneself, the social and political. I took a movement workshop with Lara (State of Body Performance workshop) after the performance of Tame. In the workshop, she facilitated greater awareness of the body in space, including sensorial awareness (especially aural) that, for me, opened onto new and multiple vistas of self-understanding of past, present, and future. I believe that there would be great interest among students and community artists in her proposed workshops to explore the relationship between memory, body, and agency, to process their own individual and social experiences, as well as to inspire growth and creativity.

Review of Tame

TAME was exciting in the way characterization and media such as props and music were used to discover different experiences of individuals and the space they inhabit. Subtle movements and sounds were juxtaposed with dazzling and bizarre displays of energy to create an enchanting and provocative experience. Evelyn Goessling, The McGill Daily

Reviews of good moral character

Kramer is a talent to watch. She wears her heart on her sleeve, which translates into dance theatre that is as vulnerable as it is emotional. – Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail.
 
Reste que Lara Kramer est une chorégraphe-performeuse à surveiller. Elle évolue sur scène avec aplomb et construit les états dramatiques avec efficacité. – Frédéric Doyon, Le Devoir

Testimonial of Lara’s Teaching

My experience working with Lara Kramer and her team was greatly inspiring. To be able through movement explore deep intense subjects is eye opening and for me created a pathway to generate honest organic work. It opens the door to being able to share our stories, history and experiences. Thank you for such an amazing workshop. – Nyla Carpentier

Of her creative process, Lara writes:

"I work with what is in my gut, a hollowing feeling in my gut. I fill what has been empty, I fill it with sound. Raw sounds of movement, breath, sweat and warmth. It is within my artistic process that I have further connected to my Aboriginal roots. I work with storytelling within my creative process as a way of exploring how the mapping of stories from my family's history resonates in the body and how it can be transferred symbolically in my work connecting the past, present and future."

"I'm interested in the physical engagement similar to how a child explores in space, their curiosity in investigating and how their environment is fully embodied. I try to create a heightened awareness to things like the taste of one's mouth, the heat of one’s throat, the vibration of the inner and outer body, its layers similar to an animal. I'm discovering softer ways of being introspective and connecting to a kind of dormant experience that is active and alive, to enter different states of body."

Partners

The 2017-2018 Ashley Fellow is brought to you by:

Logos for Trent University Political Studies, Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, Champlain College, Peter Gzowski College, Catharine Parr Traill College, Peterborough Public Energy, Artspace, Bodies in Translation, Lara Kramer Danse, Conseil des arts et des lettres Quebec, and Canada Council for the Arts.