Tanya Harnett is an artist, a member of the Carry The Kettle First Nations and a faculty member in both in the Department of Art and the Department of Native American Studies at the University of Lethbridge.
In recent years, Aboriginal Contemporary artists and curators in Canada and Australia have engaged in several collaborative projects and events. An awareness of similarities in the Aboriginal shared experience is revealed through the social and economical environment, government policy, residential and mission school experience and the existence and survival in Colonial framework. It resonates a familiar tone with both Australian and Canadian Aboriginal artists. The distant between the two continents may be vast, but the mutual awareness of the effects of colonialism makes the bridging easy. Aboriginal visual interplay is often intricate, coded and complex, but, for the most part, both country’s contemporary Aboriginal artists and curators easily read both First Peoples work.
With this in mind, The University of Lethbridge and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) have initiated an annual Aboriginal residency exchange program between Canada and Australia. The national exchange seeks to send some of Canada’s and Australia’s most interesting contemporary Aboriginal artists overseas to engage with the countries they visit, to develop new bodies of work, and add to the discourse of what it means to be a contemporary Aboriginal artist in the wake of Colonialism.
Harnett will be talking about the dynamics of contemporary Aboriginal art happening in both countries, the University of Lethbridge/RMIT Aboriginal artist exchange and her time spent in Australia visiting as the first artist on this exchange.