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Asinabka Festival 2019. Photo by Ming Wu.

Celebrating Indigenous Arts in Algonquin Territory: Asinabka Festival is back August 10–14

By Sonya Gankina on August 4, 2022



First launched in 2012, the Asinabka Film & Media Arts Festival is back with in-person programming this year! Asinabka is an Indigenous-run and artist-centred not-for-profit organization that showcases contemporary and innovative Indigenous arts located in Ottawa on the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin Nation. A keystone event in Eastern Ontario, this festival is one of the only organizers with a sole focus on Indigenous art and artists.

Asinabka Festival 2019. Photo: Ming Wu.

The festival draws its name from the Asinabka sacred area, which includes Victoria Island and Chaudière Falls on the Ottawa River. This site has hosted thousands of years of ceremonies and tobacco offerings, which continue to be made to this day. In the Algonquin language (Anishinabemowin), the word “Asinabka” means “place of glare rock.”

“The name Asinabka was chosen for this festival as an act of decolonization, and to reinforce that the nation’s capital is in the heart of the unsurrendered land of the Algonquin Nation,” say the organizers on the festival’s website.

This year’s programming begins on Wednesday, August 10 with an opening night and outdoor film screening at Club SAW. The festival will open with a traditional powwow exhibition featuring dancers and a big drum, along with hand drum singers, followed by a screening of Slash / Back, a horror film about Inuit girls fighting off an alien invasion in the Arctic Circle.

Bannock Babes 2019. Photo provided.

On August 11 and 12, festival-goers can enjoy matinée and evening film screenings at the Ottawa Art Gallery, and check out the opening of a brand-new mixed media gallery show by artists Catrileo+Carrión Community and Jason Baerg, curated for the Asinabka audience at Gallery 101 on Friday.

Then amp up your style for the 2-Spirit Ball on Saturday, August 13, a night dedicated to creating a 2SLGBTQQIA+ space. But that’s not all! Also on Saturday, enjoy the music showcase featuring Indigenous artists such as The Bannock Babes, Te KuraHuia, Quanah Style, and many more.

Find all the Asinabka Festival details here.