Logo Creation: Thomas Dylan-Cook
About the Project
Project Nishin is creating a space for connection and sharing of ideas among Indigenous creatives during a global health pandemic. Connection, community and storytelling are the heart of theatre creation. The artists involved are all brilliant innovators in their diverse fields of creation within the theatre world and no doubt will produce profound works on video, but those works are secondary to Project Nishin’s vision, which is to create a safe enough space for artists to reach back and stretch forward towards healing, while we all stand together in the centre of this storm.
To offer feedback or ask a question about Project Nishin, please connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vanessa Ominika (she/her) is a Theatre Artist, Writer and a long time advocate for Youth Empowerment. She is a proud Ojibwe/Potawatomi from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. She’s been involved in Theatre for many years off and on starting when she was 19 years old. Her passion is writing and being a helper, particularly to the youth. She wants to be able to help our youth find their voice, to tell their truths and to help them gain confidence through theatre. When Vanessa is not being a part of the theatre world, you can now find her learning about Indigenous Politics working with the Chiefs of Ontario in the Political Office, working as an EA in the Office of the Ontario Regional Chief.
Being in a pandemic and feeling locked up in our own homes and communities/cities for months was really mentally draining for many. When the provinces started opening up, my family talked about going on a road trip and camping. These videos were my end result. It was right before the long weekend where I was able to have a nice long weekend by the waters on my home community before heading back to the city. I am a writer for as long as I can remember, starting with poetry when I was a little girl and I put the two together and this was what I got. Water always brings me home. Whenever I am by water it’s the only place I can allow myself to just be. With the sounds of the waves, which is so soothing, that is my peaceful place. Anywhere I am as long as there is water, I am home.
Thank you Sarah Gartshore for asking me to participate in this wonderful project! I look forward to seeing everyone’s work.
Jasmine Manning (she/her) is an Ojibway Kwe and band member of Cape Croker First Nation with paternal roots in Stoney Point. A jingle dress dancer with Medicine Warrior Dance Troupe In California, she has trained at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre In Toronto and worked in community arts organizations such as Red Pepper Spectacle Arts in Toronto and Myths and Mirrors in Sudbury. Jasmine incorporates puppetry, clown and pow wow into the land based home-schooling of her seven year old daughter.
This film holds the internal thoughts and emotions that I was experiencing, as a Mom, while trying to create positive experiences for my child throughout the pandemic. It illustrates how by looking at the world through my daughter’s innocent eyes, I was able to break free from living in survival mode and move toward minobimaadziwin (living a good life).
Thomas-Dylan Cook (he/him) is an actor and artist of Ojibway and Caucasian descent. He was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, but also grew up on the Batchewana and Garden River First Nations. He has worked in various positions in film and television including scenic artist and production assistant.
He studied Fine Arts at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, then Graphic Design at George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario, before leaving to pursue a career in film and television. Several roles followed in the following years, leading to his latest work as Slash in the hit Canadian television series “Letterkenny”.
Gwiinawi Giizhig | Not Knowing Sky
I have created a timelapse painting, inspired by the words of a song written by a close friend.
This song and painting describes the struggles of depression, growing older, loneliness and substance abuse.
I wanted to create the feeling of change and transformation. I used the music to represent the pressures of everyday life and painted a sunset to represent the fact that everything in life is temporary including our best moments and our darkest times. I used vibrant colors and depth to create a scenic landscape.
I wanted to show that beauty can be conceived by great pain. Just like the sky and landscape, our lives are constantly transforming and shifting into an unknown future. Nothing lasts forever.
(Music written and performed by Ben Saunders.)
Eli Chilton (he/him) resides on the island of Moose Factory Ontario in the James Bay lowlands, and is a member of the Mushkego Cree, or Swampy Cree. Eli has been a radio DJ and producer for the community radio station, CJFI 107.1 The Island Youth Radio, that resides in the John R. Delaney Youth Centre, for seven years. Married to his wife, Leona, for six years, they live on the island with their young adult kids, two dogs, and a cat. Eli has been an amateur writer since he was a kid, writing stories, poetry, and plays, through school and into his adult years. His play, “The Sandcastle”, was workshopped and given a live reading during Pat The Dog Theatre’s PlaySmelter in Sudbury, Ontario. Eli has also had a couple of poems selected to be published in an anthology for the Poetry Institute of Canada.
Moose Factory – The Island
This project that I have created with the help of Wapakoni Mobile is a video in the style of a non-fiction documentary. It is titled “Moose Factory – The Island.” It was shot in the winter of 2013 with the help of members of Wapakoni Mobile, Marie-Genevieve Chabot and Sheldon McGregor, youth members of the Mushkegwuk Regional Youth Leadership Conference, and an elder, the late Jack Wynne. I wrote it in assistance with Wapakoni, as resident worker for the youth centre. Wapakoni Mobile is a traveling video workshop company that visit First Nations and aid the youth in creating video media and help with self esteem and skills through the creative process. They were visiting our community to find out if they could have a more expansive visit in the future, and video was needed to take back to their headquarters to show from the tour. There are portraiture shots of the youth from the conference, as well as shots of various locations in the community of Moose Factory. It is largely a silent video, with the exception of the ending. We met an elder, Jack, on the road during the morning shoot to capture the winter sunrise. He approached us and spoke to us and even addressed the camera directly. It was a delightful surprise and I am pleased and thankful to Jack that we were able to capture the moment on video, which is all the more touching, for he passed away a few years later in our community. I was given copies of the work that we did, and I am thankful to Wapakoni for asking me to assist in their visit to Moose Factory.
Aria Evans (she/they/he) is a queer, Toronto-based, award winning interdisciplinary artist whose practice spans dance, creation, performance, and film. Aria draws on their experiences with Afro-Indigenous + settler heritage as well as their BFA (2012) to capture meaningful social and cultural themes through their interactive art. With a large-scale vision, collaboration is the departure point to the work that Aria creates under their company POLITICAL MOVEMENT. Advocating for inclusion and the representation of diversity, Aria uses their artistic practice to question the ways we can coexist together.
A Body of Water
Collaging footage from bodies of water that link where I grew up to where my Indigenous ancestors are from, a body of water considers the concept of home. From the West Coast to Nova Scotia and poetry translated into Anishinaabemowin, connecting Ontario (where I am currently living), this short film is a love letter to my body and to the places where I feel a sense of belonging.
Nokomis Martina Osawamick
Elder, Anishinaabemowin Translator
Martina Osawamick (she/her), an Anishinaabe kwe, Ojibwe/Odawa from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, is known as Oginii Kwe (Rose Woman) and is of the amik/beaver Clan, makwa/bear as her helper, and is second level of the Midewiwin lodge. She is a proud “Nokomis” of twelve grandchildren and a great grandmother to two. One of Martina’s priorities has always been her passion for preserving, maintaining and revitalizing the Anishinaabemowin language. She is Nokomis at Cambrian College and Laurentian University in Sudbury, working part time.
Jocelyn (she/her) is new to the field of ASL-English interpretation. She recently graduated in June of 2020 as part of the first cohort of George Brown College’s new Bachelor of Interpretation (ASL-English). Though she may be a new interpreter she has had plenty of experience in theatre. Growing up in Sudbury, ON, Jocelyn was an active member of the theatre and film community. She has worked with many different theatre companies including Theatre Cambrian, Thorneloe University, The Sudbury Theatre Centre and was a founding member of Encore Theatre Company. She was excited for the opportunity to work with the team of Project Nishin and honoured to be a part of this important work.
Project Nishin Oshkaabewis
Sarah Gartshore (she/her) is a part-Anishinaabe, part-settler educator and theatre creator who works in solidarity with voices from the margins as a StoryTeller and champion of Radical Self Love. With ancestors from the Crane Clan of Batchewana First Nation and Clan Gartshore of Scotland, Gartshore is at home in leadership and collaboration. Gartshore’s work highlights this Debwewin (Truth); the experts on the homeless community, people in active addiction community and sex working communities needs are those with lived experience. Gartshore believes in the magic of theatre as a sacred space that welcomes transformation and the honouring of our stories. She is proud to be a part of Project Nishin and it’s celebration of the unique, profound gifts of Indigenous creators in 2020.
Adam Francis Proulx
Project Nishin Oshkaabewis
Adam Francis Proulx (he/him) is a theatre artist originally from Northern Ontario and currently based in Tkaronto. He holds degrees in Theatre and Business from the University of Waterloo. His work on stage and screen spans writing, performing, directing, producing, and more. An accomplished puppeteer and builder, Adam’s award-winning solo show BAKER’S DOZEN: 12 Angry Puppets has toured North America and been filmed for TV by Bell Media. His puppetry web series, Spencer Stays Inside helped thousands of families through the emotional challenges of our current pandemic. Recently, he was an Artist in Residence with The Puppetsmithery in Australia, and spent three seasons as the Assistant Artistic Director of the Victoria Playhouse Petrolia. You can see some of his puppetry work on the Netflix series “Oh Yuck”!
Working on this project with these incredible, kind, and compassionate artists has been a gift.
Steven (he/him) is a queer video artist and filmmaker living in Vancouver, BC. Since graduating with a diploma in Motion Picture Arts, his work has spanned from producing to editing and directing. He seeks to create work that is informed by queer visual culture, intersectionality, and resistance. Thank you to everyone involved in this project! It’s been an incredible experience to support our brilliant artists in the video production process.
Additional Technical Support
Brent did not give us a biography, but we would like to share that he is a consummate professional and a joy to work with!
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Fringe North acknowledges and gives thanks to the Anishinaabe of Bawaating for their generosity, diligence, and patience in sharing, caring for, and carrying on the original teachings of Creation, the truest intentions of the Treaties, honouring the land, the spirits, and the collective dreams of our ancestors since time immemorial.