Vanessa Dion Fletcher is a Lenape and Potawatomi neurodiverse Artist. Her family is from Eelūnaapèewii Lahkèewiitt (displaced from Lenapehoking) and European settlers. She Employs porcupine quills, Wampum belts, and menstrual blood, to reveal the complexities of what defines a body physically and culturally. Reflecting on an indigenous and gendered body with a neurodiverse mind, Dion Fletcher creates art using composite media, primarily working in performance, textiles and video.
She graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 with an MFA in performance at York University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She has exhibited across Canada and the USA, at Art Mur Montreal, Eastern Edge Gallery Newfoundland, The Queer Arts Festival Vancouver and the Satellite Art show in Miami. Her work is in the Indigenous Art Centre, Joan Flasch Artist Book collection, Vtape, Seneca College, and the Archives of American Art. Vanessa is a 2020-2021 Jackman Humanities Institute fellow at the University of Toronto.
I employ porcupine quills, Wampum belts, and menstrual blood to reveal the complexities of what defines a body physically and culturally. Reflecting on an indigenous feminist body with a neurodiverse mind, I create art using composite media, primarily working in performance, textiles and video.
I look for knowledge embedded in materials and techniques. Embodiment and visual art allow a reprieve from the colonialism and ableism of English. My interest in communication comes from my lack of access to my indigenous languages (Potawatomi and Lenape), and as a person living with a learning disability caused by issues with short-term memory. This perspective of language and communication is fractured and politicized. Honoring that my body and mind are not separate I address the socio-political representations and implications of menstruation, reproduction and the biological body.
On View / Upcoming
The Parkette Projects
Mitchell Akiyama, Raven Chacon, Ronnie Clarke, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Marisa Gallemit and Amy Lam
Curated by Shani K Parsons
September 12 – November 20, 2021
Parkettes are defined as small pieces of leftover or unsaleable land that have been converted into public space. Often found in proximity to municipal margins and infrastructures, Toronto's parkettes provide oblique glimpses into the city's socio-political, economic and geographic histories. Featuring seven newly commissioned performances and temporary installations, The Parkette Projects probe existing tensions and future potentials for poetic and political relations between self, body, site, and society across a shifting urban landscape.
Vanessa Dion Fletcher
September 12 - November 20, 2021
Bringing together her artistic practices in both textile and performance, Vanessa Dion Fletcher’s sculpture is as much an event and an enigma as it is an object and artwork. Adapting porcupine quill embroidery through photographic enlargement, Dion Fletcher focuses our attention on details in the stitching while also shifting our physical relationships to the quillwork. When an artwork that is usually experienced up-close is scaled for outdoor space and public engagement, what new kinds of interpersonal intimacies might become possible between us?
Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Jessica Karuhanga, Chandra Melting Tallow, Carmen Papalia with Heather Kai Smith, jes sachse, Aislinn Thomas
Curated by: Carmen Papalia
September 18, 2021 - February 13, 2022
Co-presented by Tangled Art + Disability and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery
RMG: September 18, 2021 – February 13, 2022
Tangled Art + Disability: September 17 – October 29, 2021
Undeliverable is a continuation of artist Carmen Papalia’s curatorial practice. Envisioning curation as a form of care, the exhibition brings together six artists from the Mad, Deaf and disability community, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Chandra Melting Tallow, Jessica Karuhanga, jes sachse, Aislinn Thomas, and Carmen Papalia with Heather Kai-Smith, re-envisioning the museum around the demands and desires of the disabled body/mind. Presented across two spaces – Tangled Art + Disability and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery – the exhibition features ambitious new work that challenges institutional structures and centres mutual accountability.
Kindly note that both the RMG and Tangled Art + Disability are scent free spaces. In order to remain respectful of individuals who may have sensitivity to certain scents or smells, we would like to ask all visitors to help us in creating a fragrance free environment that everyone can enjoy.
Interested in learning more about sensitivity to scents and fragrances? Head over to our Instagram feed for a Takeover by artist Aislinn Thomas that shares more information about how you can help make public spaces more accessible and safe for all those who experience barriers from the toxicants that are in so many personal care, cleaning, building, and fragrance products.
60 Works / 60 Years: Toronto Outdoor Art Fair at 60
2nd Floor, St. Lawrence Market
95 Front Street East
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Works / 60 Years: Toronto Outdoor Art Fair at 60 exhibit celebrates the history of the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair and features 60 art works from the City of Toronto Art Collection acquired from the fair over the years.
Tangled Art Talks: Vanessa Dion Fletcher
Spurred by calls for disability, justice, and the desire for a more equitable and intersectional future, the Disability Arts Movement is pushing forward with renewed political intention to disrupt conventional understandings of the Arts. Tangled Art + Disability and the AGO, have formed a new partnership to showcase the possibilities of a world that honors access, disability and difference. We are excited to present videos by six artists from the Tangled Art community that showcases their artistic practices in response to artwork in the AGO Collection.
Finding Language: A Word Scavenger Hunt
In this interactive performance, Vanessa Dion Fletcher considers how systemic colonial oppression intersects with her relationship to language as a learning disabled person. Finding Language was performed at the Cripping the Arts Symposium in January 2019 in Toronto.
Learn more from the sponsor: Bodies In Translation
Performance & Discussion
In this program presented by: the Dunlop Art Gallery, watch two performances by neurodiverse artist Vanessa Dion Fletcher. She will perform "Laaweewii-Wiisakiimaa-Pamukwsuw (Purple)" live, followed by recorded performances "Finding Language" and "Talk." She will be joined in conversation with artist Julie Rae Tucker following the performances.