a center for evolving aboriginal media, visual and performing arts

James Luna Guillermo Gomez-Pena, La Nostalgia Remix

A New Performance Series by Guillermo Gomez-Pena and James Luna

Two extreme performance artists and shamans decide to become lounge entertainers and share their bizarre performance art with new audiences in an attempt to jumpstart a new religion for cultural outsiders.  Master artists James Luna and Guillermo Gomez -Pena will challenge and inspire their audiences with an evening of performance art and commentary that turns poignant, hilarious, thought provoking and outrageous.






James Luna & Guillermo Gomez-Pena, La Nostalgia Remix. 2011

High Tech Storytellers Festival, 2000

High Tech Storytellers Festival was hosted by Tribe in Saskatoon from May 22-27, 2000.  The Festival explored a central theme of contemporary artists who use storytelling with technology as a creative medium.  Invited artists included Rebecca Belmore, James Luna, Edward Poitras and Lori Wiedenhammer and three Saskatchewan based artists Cheli Nighttraveller, Carolyn Mieli and Steve Heimbecker.  The festival took place over a period of a week with performances and installations by Rebecca Belmore, James Luna, Edward Poitras and Lori Weidenhammer.  High Tech Storytellers included residencies, panel discussion, installation, performance and cabaret.

Rebecca Belmore,  The Indian Factory, 2000

Rebecca Belmore opened her performance installation The Indian Factory at AKA Gallery on May 25, 2000.  Belmore      created a site-specific installation that dealt with the recent Native men whose lifeless bodies were found on the outskirts of  Saskatoon by the power plant.  Belmore did one hour long performance and during this time also created an installation.  This installation was very intense to watch as it dealt with such a sensitive issue that had still not been resolved in the city of Saskatoon at that time.  During the performance Belmore brought the audience to tears.


James Luna, The Chapel of the Sacred Colors, 2000

James Luna’s installation was installed at the Snelgrove Gallery and opened on May 26, 2000.  Luna’s newest installation work, “THE CHAPEL OF THE SACRED COLORS” premiered at the festival. The centerpiece of the chapel is Luna’s photographic work “THE SACRED COLORS” which speaks to traditional Native concept of cultural origins and color designation.  The sacred colors are red, yellow, black and white lining the walls of the space and objects set brought images of the Stations of the Cross to mind.  Each of the objects were parodies of Native regalia and pop culture icons.  The installation had an audio recording, which invited the viwers to sit and mediate in the brightly colored space.















Cecile Brass, The Rebirthing Project, 2011


This spring, OPTICA begins a series of exhibitions dealing with the gallery’s history by broaching the culture of artist groups and art centres. This project, curated by Lori Blondeau, will present a selection of archival documents (videos and photographs) relating the history of TRIBE, A Center for Evolving Aboriginal Media, Visual and Performing Arts, as well as a performance by Cecile Brass. Since its inception, the artist collective has publicly raised highly relevant questions of identity, territory, and politics regarding the status of native peoples and First Nations’ place in our history.


A womb reconstructed on a large scale provides the foundation for a retelling of a personal narrative about the artist, the birth of her three sons, her culture, her family and her community. The work incorporates theatrical and audio art elements into the creation of a performance that, on the surface, tells the story of the birth of a child, but really touches upon universal and shared experiences within our communities.


Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa, Nu Muxum, Nu Nim-Mam/ My Navel, My Great-Grandfather

Naufus Ramirez-Figuero,  Nu Muxum, Nu Nim-Mam / My Navel, My Great-Grandfather. 2006

Nu Muxux, Nu Nim-Mam / My Navel, My Great -Grandfather is a process-based performance inspired by stories of the artists great-grandfather, Simeon de la Cruz, who was a ceremonial dancer and active figure in the Quiche and Ladino community of Joyabaj, Guatemala.

The performance will be enacted outdoors, where Ramirez-Figueroa will draw out a navel in the earth.  Through this process, Ramirez-Figueroa will actively meditate on the systems of meaning embedded in Maya-Quiche dance-drama and utilize its symbolic structure to reconsider mestizaje (half-breedness), cultural identity, power and history.

Biography:  Since 1998 Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa has actively participated in  Vancouvers art scene with visceral and playful installations and performances.  Ramirez-Figueroa grew up in Guatemala City during the countrys most violent years of conflict.  His early experiences of militarism are conflated with larger dialogue related to ethics and interpersonal relations in his work.  Ramirez-Figueroas work addresses subjects such as colonialism, folkloric culture, familial history, socio-political forms of violence, experiences of the Diaspora and the effects of globalization.




Rebecca Belmore, Temperance

Rebecca Belmore, Temperance. 2004

Rebecca Belmore is an Anishnabe artist who lives and works in Vancouver B.C.   Belmore did a residency with Tribe which finished with a new installation.  Her installations/performances are about her Native heritage and challenge the notions and constraints of Eurocentric definitions of art and society.  Her work has been presented in Museums, galleries and storefronts around the world.

Rebeccas residency produced a workshop of some new ideas that she will develop further.  Belmore will use her ideas from   the residency with Tribe to develop her exhibition to represent Canada at Venice Biennale.

Skeena Reece, MOVE

Skeena Reece, Move. 2010

This Is No Game A Mini Performance Festival

Simon Laroche, Etienne Grenier and David Lemieux. 2008

Robin Brass.2008

Robin Brass.2008

Terrance Houle. 2008

Terrance Houle. 2008

Tanya Lukin-Linklater, aiya!3

murmur, Tanya Lukin Linklater; photo credit J Proctor and Marc Chalifoux

Tanya Lukin Linklater originates from the Native Villages of Port Lions and Afognak in the Kodiak archipelago of southwestern Alaska.  Based in Northern Ontario, she is a practicing performance artist, choreographer and writer. In 2010 she performed a site specific work at Mapping Resistances curated by Wanda Nanibush in response to the 20th anniversary of the Oka resistance; she also performed on frozen Lake Nipissing, in a train container, and railway station, and presented a new work at the 6th Annual Aboriginal Choreographers Workshop. Her performances in Canada and U.S. occur in reflecting pools, university campuses, Native villages, galleries and festivals. Tanya’s artistic practice centers often on memory and she experiments with the relationship between the body, sound, song and narrative.  In September, she presented a new experimental work “aiya!” for Native Women in the Arts’ Catalyst Café curated by Wanda Nanabush.  “aiya!” is a sound performance utilizing deconstructed Alutiiq language, experimental song and guttural sounds.

Tanya studied at Stanford University (BA Honors) where she was awarded the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and the Louis Sudler Prize in the Creative and Performing Arts. In 2010 she was awarded the Chalmers Professional Development Grant by Ontario Arts Council. Her additional training includes dance at the Banff Centre of the Arts, Mile Zero Dance (Edmonton) and the centre for Indigenous Theatre (Toronto).  She received her masters in Education in 2004 from the University of Alberta.

Warren Arcan, Horse Trench

Warren Arcan, Horse Trench. 2007


When Warren was first invited to do a performance with Tribe he thought about grass.  Then he thought about his Grandfather who was a veteran of the first and second world wars.  He is from Muskeg Reservation by Blain Lake SK.  As Arcan explained that they are from Muskeg referring to himself and his grandfather he also explained that he had only met his grandfather once.  Then being on or in the land..he further thought and decided he didnt really know what he meant when he said Land and decided he would like to be a horse.

For First Nation Plains culture the horse and land were and still are very significant.  During the fist and second world wars many First Nation men and women joined the army in order to feel a sense of freedom.  Arcan through his performance spoke to the treatment and trauma of war experienced by First Nation veterans.

James Luna, The Chapel of the Sacred Colours

James Luna, performance: The Chapel of the Sacred Colours. 2000

James Luna is a conceptual and performance artist, who forces viewers to reexamine Indian lives through the eyes of the Indian.  Luna, an expert at parodies throws Indian stereotypes back in the viewers faces and uses himself as a two way mirror, to view himself as well as show ourselves as we are.  He uses humor and irony (much like story tellers of previous generations) to relate stories without romance or cliche.


James Luna, Collage: thoughts, dreams and hallucinations

James Luna, performance: Collage: thoughts, dreams and hallucinations. Oct. 1997       

James Luna is a conceptual and performance artist, who forces viewers to reexamine Indian lives through the eyes of the Indian.  Luna, an expert at parodies throws Indian stereotypes back in the viewers faces and uses himself as a two way mirror, to view himself as well as show ourselves as we are.  He uses humor and irony (much like story tellers of previous generations) to relate stories without romance or cliche.


Dana Claxton, Buffalo Bone China

Dana Claxton, Buffalo Bone China. 1997

A performance/installation by Dana Claxton.  This was the first in a series of ongoing projects that explore time from a First Nations perspective.  It debuts with an investigation of the boundaries between Aboriginal performance art and visual art: where an installation ends and a performance begins. What the performative aspects of visual art is and what remains after the performance.