One channel video installation and Facebook gift app centered around the question of Metis Identity. Initially commissioned and installed as I.D. at Paved Arts, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with KC ADAMS. Curated by Liz Barron – Funded by NIMAC. This work was created and presented in 2010.


I usually have a specific plan when I create, but with this project I choose to go a more organic route. Relying on gut instinct and not storyboards, I documented my lack of relationship with my cultural background. I explored my own myths, stereotypes, and clichés from reenacting the discovery of my native heritage to my attempts to embrace my Metis-ness or Metis Not-ness at such a late age. I kept the project low-fi, by shooting most footage solo, and transformed myself into a Gift Shop Native Doll complete with packaging. The piece deals with my feelings of guilt, lack of entitlement, and own naiveté at my personal cultural crossroads and what it meant to be Metis. It has a homemade simplicity that is truthful and heartfelt.

Artist Adrian Stimson, ‘ Its hilarious and horrifying at the same time.”

Screen captures from the video installation.



The work was also installed at the Native Women In Film Festival

I.D. – Curated by Liz Barron

I.D. looks at issues of ethnicity that circulate within the web, and how the viewers can be reflected as same, rather than ‘different’. Arlea Ashcroft and KC Adams explore how Aboriginal artists have attempted to critique, challenge, and change various aspects of new media practices, and further to investigate how creative practices might be used to understand and transform the experience of a gallery audience. Approaching artistic production in light of the changing technological, economic and cultural discourses associated with the phenomena described as new media, Arlea Ashcroft and KC Adams have produced new works based on their interpretations of the impacts and urban life aesthetics of such practices within an Aboriginal context.

Arlea Aschroft’s artwork stresses the visual articulation of the female gaze and is thereby rooted in her own anecdotal, autobiographical and mythological meanderings. Explorations of her unclaimed Métis heritage, adoptee status, and white trash upbringing constitutes the fire in her expressive portraits.

Of her work the artist wrote, “The projection is my search for my Metis Identity. It’s quite literal but I didn’t really know how else to approach it. It follows my journey from discovery of my native heritage to trying to embrace it at such a late age. Particularly when I haven’t been raised in a First Nation environment at all.” For I.D. Arlea has developed a facebook application entitled Métis, Métis Not. She describes it as a “gift application where people can gift each other Métis items or Métis not items.” The artist plans to have compiled over two hundred virtual “gift” items for the facebook page, all of which will fall under the three general categories of Métis, maybe Métis or maybe not. Items will run the gamut to include traditional Métis items such as bannock, the Métis flag, red river cart, etc., but will also include famous Métis public figures such as artist Kent Monkman, comedian

Ryan McMahon, or hockey player Sheldon Souray to name but a few. Various other items will be included which fall into Métis association in a variety of ways, perhaps some of which approach cultural problematics such as misconception or cliché.

KC Adams takes the I.D. of the urban Aboriginal to the public domain. With the current exhibition the artist has stepped completely out of the traditional gallery exhibition space and locates her public, both inside and outside of the gallery, within the internet and mobile devices. Consonant with so much of the virtual domain, in order to engage Adams’ work the audience is asked to participate directly and play an online game. The game in question, entitled Truth, Dare or Double- Dare, takes the viewer into a public art performance, one that calls upon their direct participation. Selecting your action from a choice of three buttons, the viewer is asked to “identify” themselves within the broad social field of the general public. As with all games of “Truth or Dare”, the risk falls onto the viewer/participant, given that either truth or dare may lead to a situation where the personal becomes public. Adams’ work will explore such dynamics of vulnerability, while also serving to problematize identity constructions in ways that become provocative for all who take part.


TAGLINE:                A woman confronts her Métis heritage

Director / Performer :   Arlea Ashcroft

Camera :                 Arlea Ashcroft, Ryan Simmons, Andrea von Wichert

Video Editor :        Heidi Phillips

Sound Design:       Mike Wright

Curator:                   Liz Barron

Funded By:           The Canada Council For The Arts

National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition

Screens on:   DVD – HD render, Standard Burn  – for Film Festivals

DVD – Projector looped for Gallery installations

Length:          00:10:55 as film, Continuous as video installation

DISTRIBUTED BY: Winnipeg Film Group

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