Originally co-presented by CAPACOA and Edinburgh Festival Fringe under the umbrella of Spotlight Canada, the UNcommon Wealth programme was a cultural initiative led by The High Commission of Canada in The UK, Canada Council For The Arts and Canadian Heritage, in early July 2022.
Curatorial Overview for The UNcommon Wealth
by D Bolduc
Indigenous reclamation of voice is rooted and embodied within creation. Creation is a political act, centered in intergenerational knowledge, imbedded in connections to place, people, land, values, experiences, and worldviews.
Our blood lines are tributaries, connecting our stories and ways of being, flowing through streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. As we reflect and understand the power of our connections, we recognize how our knowledge systems are integral to centering Indigenous worldviews and practices. In these waters, we navigate and resist the continual colonial extraction and performative commodification within the nation-to-nation relations. We speak of the deconstruction of the ‘colonial project’ and imagine what could have been. We embrace the power of our natural and inherent gifts of common wealth, and speak of meaningful relationships, responsibility and accountability, and the centering of Indigeneity through self-determination.
A three-part programme with respected thinkers, word-warriors, changemakers and creators from Canada, Australia and Aotearoa. Beginning with The Call (Provocation) followed by two conversations, The Response. Each part of the programme is set in motion by spoken work performances. The thematic statement above will directly instigate and inform the Provocation and the two scheduled Conversations. The Conversations are not prescribed by a specific topic or moderated by one specific host. Consider this as a gathering of friends exchanging ideas, questions, and experiences that encompass the curatorial overview, the provocation and the spoken work presentations. Audience participants are asked to consider this as one programmed experience spread over a number of days.
The UNcommon Wealth is curated by Denise Bolduc with co-curation by Jacob Boehme (Australia) and Dolina Wehipeihana (Aotearoa).
Looking for artist and participating thinkers’ biographies? Find them on the individual pages for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Denise Bolduc – Curatorial Lead, Canada
Denise Bolduc is an established creator, creative director and producer who programs to transform perspectives and activate change. Her career of three decades represents countless contributions and connections with numerous celebrated artists, creative thinkers and leading cultural institutions nationally and internationally. She has led several large-scale events such as Biizindin!, Built on Genocide, Illuminating works, and Tributiaries (Luminato 2017-2021), Transforming Landscapes and Intersections of Cultures (CAPACOA), Beyond 150 Years: An Acknowledgement of Indigenous Film (REEL Canada), Maadaadizi/Summer Journeys (PanAM Games) and the inaugural, Planet IndigenUS festival. Denise is the writer/director of the commissioned film, Zaagidiwin which opened the 2021 Luminato festival, and a co-editor/contributor of Indigenous Toronto: Stories That Carry This Place (Coach House, 2021).
She is a member of numerous boards, councils and committees, a host and moderator, an advisor, a faculty member with the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, a Producing Faculty member with This Gen Fellowship (Why Not Theatre), and a mentor to many. Denise is the recipient of the 2020 Margo Bindhart and Rita Davies Award (Toronto Arts Foundation), the Indigenous Arts Award (Ontario Arts Council), Australia’s SOLID Festival’s Arts Leadership Award, Toronto’s Indigenous Business Leadership Award, and is an ISPA Fellow. She most recently accepted the appointment as the inaugural Director, Indigenous Arts at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre.
Denise is Anishinaabe and French, born and raised in the Lake Superior-Robinson Huron Treaty Territory, and is a member of the Batchewana First Nation with familial ties in Garden River First Nation.
Dolina Wehipeihana – Co Curator, Aotearoa|New Zealand
Dolina (Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Raukawa) is a producer, arts manager, choreographer, and performer. Dolina is currently General Manager of Kia Mau Festival, Kaiārahi Māori at PANNZ (Performing Arts Network New Zealand), and Chair of Atamira Dance Collective Charitable Trust. She is also a co-director and producer for Betsy & Mana Productions, and an advocate for contemporary Indigenous theatre and dance.
Betsy & Mana Productions has produced for artists White Face Crew, co-produced the national tour of Mei-Lin Te Puea Hansen’s The Mooncake and the Kumara and Kirk Torrance’s Flintlock Musket. She has toured New Zealand work to Australia, Hawaii, New Caledonia, and Edinburgh.
Previously the Head of Programming for Auckland Arts Festival, Dolina currently sits on Te Rōpu Mana Toi – the advisory group to the Advocacy team at Creative New Zealand. She is also a member of the Māori arts leadership collective The Grateful 8, the tri-nations curatorial advisory group, and oversees the Producing Programme delivered by Ngā Hua Toi.
Dolina was awarded the 2021 Te Waka Toi award Ngā Tohu Hautūtanga Auaha Toi | Making a Difference Award, which recognises leadership and outstanding contribution to the development of new directions in ngā toi Māori.
Jacob Boehme – Co Curator, Australia
Jacob Boehme is a critically acclaimed theatre maker and choreographer, from the Nharangga and Kaurna Nations, creating work for stage, screen, large-scale public events and festivals. Jacob is the newly appointed, inaugural Director First Nations Programs for Carriageworks, one of Australia’s largest experimental and multi-arts venues.
Alumnus of NASIDA College of Dance and the Victorian College of the Arts, (MA in Arts – Playwriting, MA in Arts – Puppetry) Jacob has led the artistic direction of Tanderrum (Melbourne Festival), Boon Wurrung Ngargee (Yalukit Willam Festival), Thuwathu (Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair), Geelong After Dark and was the founding Creative Director of Yirramboi Festival, recipient of the 2018 Green Room Award for Curatorial Contribution to Contemporary and Experimental Arts.
Jacob is the writer and performer of the critically acclaimed solo work Blood on the Dance Floor, recipient of the 2017 Green Room Award Best Independent Production.
Jacob is an Australia Council for the Arts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellow and has been a member of International Advisory Committees for the Calouste Gulbenkian UK Inquiry into the Role of Arts Organisations, the Ministry of Culture Taiwan South East Asia Advisory Panel, the Global First Nations Advisory and Bibu Festival International First Nations Curatorial Committee.
Jacob is developing The Wild Dog Project: a multi-disciplinary exhibition and gathering, connecting dingo stories and songlines between South Australia, Northern Territory, Far North Queensland and South East Asia, as part of Tarnanthi Festival in 2022.