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NAC Indigenous Art Market, photo provided.

NAC Indigenous Art Market is back—June 12

By Sonya Gankina on June 8, 2022

NAC Indigenous Theatre’s Indigenous Art Market is back for its first in-person event since December 2019! This year’s market, happening on June 12 from 10am to 5pm, features a wide selection of quality art from some of the best First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artisans around. Browse work by more than 35 Indigenous artists in this free art market and chat with local artists.

NAC Indigenous Art Market 2019, photo provided.

NAC Indigenous Theatre will also have a booth at the event to talk about the upcoming shows in the season. “Did you know that the first Indigenous Art Market at the NAC was organized BEFORE the official launch of the department? It was created and organized in December 2018 by Mairi Brascoupe (Indigenous Cultural Resident, Indigenous Theatre), Lindsay Lachance, (Artistic Associate, Indigenous Theatre), with the help of Amanda Baumgarten (Associate Producer, Popular Music and Variety),” says NAC.

When asked about the origin of the Art Market, co-founder Mairi says, “We wanted to find ways to invite the local Indigenous community into the building and make the space a welcoming environment that Indigenous folks felt comfortable entering. Lindsay and I both knew a lot of great artists in the community. We wanted to support them by creating an event that would celebrate them and introduce NAC audiences to incredible Indigenous work, even before there was anything from our department on the stages.”

NAC Indigenous Art Market 2019, photo provided.

Hosting an art market in a space known for theatre has a connection with traditional powwow events, explains Mairi: “We were inspired by all the powwows we went to in the summer [of 2018]. We went out to get to know the communities and to let them know Indigenous Theatre would be launching at the NAC in the coming year. Powwows are the ultimate Indigenous community event. People get together, see friends and family, celebrate culture, dance, explore new artists and return to old favourites. We wanted to bring that energy into the building.”

The art market became a crucial way to make the daunting NAC building more accessible, says Mairi: “The Art Markets are transformational. The NAC building can be intimidating. We have been told on many occasions by people in our community that the NAC felt like a space that wasn’t for them. The Art Markets change that. It becomes an Indigenous space, filled with Indigenous art and Indigenous peoples seeing friends, shopping from their favourite artists, laughing, smiling, and making that space theirs. It is important to me to support artists in our community and to build relationships and trust with Indigenous folks that enter our building. It also helps Indigenous Theatre bring awareness to all the other great work we do in the building and on our stages.”

The 2022 Summer Indigenous Art Market is being hosted in Atrium O’Brien on June 12 and no tickets are required for entry.