“I combine a multitude of elements in order to encourage dialogue about identity, ancestry and cultural practice.”
I define my practice as Interdisciplinary. I combine a multitude of elements in order to encourage dialogue about identity, ancestry and cultural practice. I examine these topics through performance, sculpture and installation; aiming to create a space where the viewer is confronted with thought provoking visuals, sounds and scents. Challenging them to investigate the relationship that their ancestry and cultural practices relates to that of mine. Although my methodology is quite consistent, the materials that I consider with each project are crucial in determining the message that I intend to deliver, often juxtaposing aspects of traditional aboriginal art forms and contemporary work. Through the medium of durational performance art (often place-based and employs cooperative didactic intervention) I enter into laborious tasks that create repetitive strain on my body/mind while creating tension with the viewer. Elmiet (He/She Goes Home) 2010 is an example of work, created specifically for Nova Scotia’s Cultural History regarding the 1756 Scalping Proclamation, where I created an event to host the last scalping in Nova Scotia. My most recent work Mi’kwite’tmn (Do You Remember) employs various sculptural mediums to create consideration from my audience about aspects of intangible cultural heritage as it pertains to the consumption of traditional knowledge within the context of colonial institutions; while examining the present generations’ urgency to ascertain the relationship between Aboriginal persons and the natural resources employed in traditional art production.
Ursula Johnson is a Mi’kmaw artist from Eskasoni First Nation. She works in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.