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Buffy Sainte-Marie, Cutting-Edge Art Highlight imagineNATIVE Festival


Aboriginal filmmakers, musicians and other artists have descended upon Toronto this week for the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the world's largest indigenous media arts festival. This year for the first time, two art exhibitions will also be included, and music sensation Buffy Sainte-Marie will headline The Beat music night and participate in a special ‘In Discussion’ evening, festival organizers said.

The 12th annual festival, which starts October 19 and runs through October 23, showcases new works by those on the cutting edge in film, video, radio and new media. A 12 noon kickoff in the Thunderbird Centre at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto featured a reception with indigenous dance troupes performing, among them the Six Nations family dance group, Tribal Vision. There were also artisan kiosks, food and speeches.

Andrew Okpeaha MacLean's film On the Ice, about two boys who try to get away with murder, will open the festival, screening on October 19 at 7 p.m. Presented by the Aboriginal People's Television Network (APTN), the feature-length movie made by an Alaskan Native has already won Best First Feature Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, among other awards. Closing the festival on the 23rd will be the world premiere of Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes, a portrait of life in a First Nation in northern Saskatchewan that is based on the renowned animated-television series of the same name.

For the first time in the festival's history it is presenting two gallery shows as part of imagineNATIVE's lineup.

Vital to the General Public Welfare is the festival's first solo exhibition and features the work of Jason Edward Lewis, a digital media artists from Montreal.

"This exciting and interactive exhibition includes six works that explore the digital and printed text through touchscreen monitors and large-scale prints, imagineNATIVE said in a press release. "Viewers to the exhibition are invited to touch the screens to manipulate the digital content in order to play a role in the creation of Lewis’s art." It runs from October 6–23 at the Edward Day Gallery, and there's an artist talk moderated by Steven Loft as well as a reception on Thursday October 20 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

S-O-S3 (signals of survival) began on September 24 and ends on October 29 at A Space Gallery, with a curator talk and reception on Friday October 21. It's the third in a triptych begun in 2009 that explores how indigenous artists have adapted technology as a survival tool by using it to share, preserve and even create culture, according to an inmagineNATIVE press release.

Sainte-Marie will appear at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 2 on Friday, October 21 at 7 p.m. with on a panel, “In Discussion With Buffy," discussing her achievements, which include her music career, Academy Award, and her work as a new media artist.

"Ms. Sainte-Marie will discuss her incredible journey to becoming one of the world’s most acclaimed Indigenous musicians, her experiences as a pioneer of new media art, and what is in store for her future," according to the press release. She will perform on Friday October 23, headlining The Beat.

Here's an imagineNATIVE teaser.