Indigenous Artist in Residence 2021
May 1 - November, 30 2021
Siku Allooloo next to her artwork, Akia, commissioned for the HEXSA’AM: To Be Here Always exhibition (2019). Photo provided by the artist.
Cineworks is honoured to welcome Siku Allooloo as our first Indigenous Artist in Residence. This residency supports Siku to develop filmmaking skills and techniques related to her larger independent project, titled Indígena. This multilayered project explores the untold story of a revolutionary who ran an Indigenous women-led newspaper at the heart of the American Indian Movement and sparked the return of the Taíno nation - a resurgence movement more than 500yrs in the making. This revolutionary was Siku’s mother and the project underway centres on her newspaper in a journey that spans the entire lifetime of Indigenous resistance in the Americas, right up to today.
This residency is focused mainly on mentorship and cultivation of skills as Siku expands her artistic practice as a filmmaker and develops a short documentary of her project. Siku will engage with a number of Vancouver-based film professionals and participate in various Cineworks workshops to develop technical skills and insight toward her project. She will also lead an independent study of archival research, experimentation, and creative development as she works towards the completion of a 15-minute documentary film that incorporates her tactile visual language with the archival imagery, storyline and context of her larger Indígena project. In the spirit of skill-sharing and community-building, Siku’s residency will conclude with an artist talk and a screening of the short film in development.
Siku Allooloo is an Inuk/Haitian/Taíno interdisciplinary artist, emerging filmmaker and community builder. She hails from Denendeh (Northwest Territories), based now in Whitehorse, YT and Vancouver Island, BC. She is an avid leader in Indigenous resurgence working across the arts, decolonial advocacy, and cultural land-based education. Siku specializes in multimedia, poetry, and creative non-fiction, and is currently expanding her practice into documentary and experimental film.
Siku’s writing and multimedia work have been featured in The Guardian, Canadian Art Magazine, Chatelaine, The Capilano Review, The Malahat Review, and various art galleries. Her artwork, Akia (pictured in the photo), was commissioned for the HEXSA’AM: To Be Here Always exhibition (2019). This was part of a two-year project, Mirrored In Stone. This project was commissioned by Cineworks and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia, in partnership with the Dzawada̱'enux̱w First Nation. Akia is currently showing at Qaumajuq (Winnipeg Art Gallery), the world's largest Inuit Art centre and exhibition space for Indigenous art.
Siku has just completed the first DOC BC/YT/NWT Breakthrough Program, where she began the early development of her film project, Indígena, which she will continue to develop during this residency.
The Indigenous Artist in Residence program was created to celebrate and support the creative works of Indigenous artists in Canada. As settlers on the unceded Indigenous territories, it is imperative that we center transformative relationships with Indigenous artists and communities and dedicate meaningful resources that uplift the original peoples of these lands. In this light, we are truly honoured to expand on our previous relationship with Siku Allooloo and to welcome her as our first Indigenous Artist in Residence.
Follow her on Instagram(@discobou) to stay updated.
More on the Indígena Film Project by Siku
Siku’s mother, Marie-Hélène Laraque, co-founded the first bilingual Indigenous newspaper in North America. Through groundbreaking journalism led by Indigenous women in English and Spanish, the paper centered voices and struggles overlooked by mainstream media, catalyzing a solidarity network across the Americas. It also amplified the voices of Indigenous women in a movement and society constrained by patriarchy - and awakened a nation thought to have gone extinct after the arrival of Columbus in 1492. As her mother passed away in 2000, both the newspaper and her legacy are all but forgotten - though they remain foundational to many Indigenous movements to protect Earth, culture, sovereignty, inherent rights, and womankind today. This film is about recovering that important legacy and bringing it forward for current and future generations.
Previous works by Siku
- “Akia” | Anchorage Museum’s Chatter Marks Journal, Issue 03 (2021)
- “Felt Encryption” | The Capilano Review, Fall 2020 Issue: Translingual
- “We Are Inuit - Not Arctic Flag Poles” | Graphic History Collective’s Remember | Resist | Redraw Series (2020)
- “Caribou People” | The Malahat Review, Indigenous Perspectives Issue (2018)
- “Living Death” | Briarpatch Magazine, Creative Non-Fiction Prize Winner (2016)