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. 

Artist statement 
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

Curiosity and Quillwork 
Solo Exhibition

Ada Slaight Galleries

100 McCaul Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T 1W1
Opening Reception: Tuesday, September 10th, 5-7pm 
ASL Interpretation provided. 
The exhibition runs through, September 20, 2019
Nuit Blanch Placeholders Listen to the Land 
October 5 / 6 from 7 pm to 7 am
Fort York Historic Site (Bunker House #2)
100 Garrison Rd. Toronto

Artist In Residence 
OISE Faculty of Curriculum Teaching and Learning 
September - December 2019 
Public Artist Talk Sept. 17, 2019, 5 pm Floor 11 Room 164 
Artist In Residence 
Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University 
September 23rd to October 18th, 2019 
Exhibition: Access is Love and Love is Complicated
Critical Distance Centre for Curators
Wed-Fri 12-6 pm, Sat-Sun 11-5 pm

Artscape Youngplace

180 Shaw Street, Suite 302
Indigeneity, Neurodiversity, and the Arts:      
A conversation with Vanessa Dion Fletcher and Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning. October 20th 2 pm.
How to Make Your Own Word Scavenger Hunt with Vanessa Dion Fletcher. October 21st 6 pm. 

Let’s Talk About Sex, bb​
27 April–1 December 2019

Agnes Etherington Art Center
Queen’s University
36 University Avenue
Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6

T (613) 533.2190
F (613) 533.6765

Invisible Threads 
May 20 to September 2019 

The Indigenous Art Centre Gallery at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.



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.