Indigenous arts highlight second 100th Meridian Concert

Métis singer-songwriters to perform in downtown Brandon this Thursday alongside the unveiling of the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba's next Billboard initiative.

Thursday’s second in a series of 100th Meridian concerts will mark the work of Indigenous artists with a pair of singer-songwriters and a visual artist with First Nation backgrounds.

The event, which is being sponsored by the City of Brandon’s Community Development department and the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba free of charge, begins at 7 p.m. at the corner of 7th Street and Rosser Avenue in the city’s downtown core. The gates open at 6:30 p.m. and patrons are asked to bring their own lawn chairs.

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Winnipeg Métis singer-songwriter Sonia Eidse will open the evening’s performances, followed by feature entertainer, Cree-Métis singer and 2018 Juno Award nominee, Iskwé. The headliner performs pop-electronica heavily influenced by her Indigenous background.

Iskwé is originally from Winnipeg, but now resides in Hamilton, Ont. She has two albums in her discography to date; the self-titled Iskwé in 2013, and the nine-track, independently released The Fight Within, which was released in November of last year. Her Juno nomination came in the Indigenous Album of the Year category. In 2017, she won the Western Canadian Music Award for Electronic Artist of the Year, and a REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award from the Hnatyshyn Foundation.

Meanwhile, the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba is revealing the next in a series of works presented on a 12-foot by 30-foot billboard located on the north wall of the museum’s Rosser Avenue location. The installation’s next artist is Cameron Flamand, a Métis Brandonite who has designed a 30-foot image of the Métis flag adorned with words in Michif, the traditional language of the Métis people. The work was produced by Flamand with the help of Verna DeMotigny, a local knowledge keeper.

“Michif was born in Canada’s central provinces, with roots in both Indigenous and European languages, but it is nowhere to be seen on Brandon’s signs, buildings, or the broader visual landscape,” says John Hampton, the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba’s executive director.

“Flamand’s artwork seeks to increase the visibility and awareness of Michif, and to honor the fact that Métis culture is still strong and alive here. It tells us all that Métis people are still here and always will be, while celebrating the tremendous value they have brought to shaping this region.”

This summer’s second 100th Meridian Concert will also include complementary bannock tacos while supplies last. The treats are being prepared by Karla’s International Foods with a Mexican-El Salvadorian twist in honor of the Indigenous Latino influences of the food.

More information about the City of Brandon’s 100th Meridian Concert program can be found at www.brandon.ca/100thmeridian. The website offers biographies on the 2018 performers and news about artist workshops being planned in the city.

To get more information about the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba’s Billboard initiative, visit www.agsm.ca.

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