Vanessa Dion Fletcher is a Lenape and Potawatomi neurodiverse Artist; her family is from Eelūnaapèewii Lahkèewiitt (displaced from Lenapehoking) and European settlers. She uses 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 primarily works in performance, textiles and video.
She graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 with an MFA in performance and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University in 2009. 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, Global Affairs Canada and the Archives of American Art.
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. Honouring that my body and mind are not separate, I address the socio-political representations and implications of menstruation, reproduction and the biological body.
Location: Latcham Art Centre
2 Park Drive
Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Open: Friday, August 25 – Saturday, October 14, 2023
Opening Reception: Friday, August 25 | 7 PM – 9 PM
Artist Talk: Thursday September 21 | 7 PM – 9 PM
Vanessa Dion Fletcher is a Lenape and Potawatomi neurodiverse artist; her family is from Eelūnaapèewii Lahkèewiitt (displaced from Lenapehoking) and European settlers. Relative Gradient includes recent works that expand the possibilities of contemporary quillwork. She transforms this surface embroidery technique into textile design and vinyl imagery, playing with geometric shapes and repeating patterns. Taken together, these works build on Vanessa’s continued exploration of what it means to live in an Indigenous, gendered body with a neurodiverse mind.
The artist would like to acknowledge the support of the Toronto Arts Council, The Canada Council for the Arts, and the UBC Okanagan Indigenous Arts Intensive. The artist would also like to thank Matthew Walker of Sculptural Trades Inc. for their work fabricating Relative Saturation.
Location: Art Windsor Essex
401 Riverside Drive West
Windsor, Ontario N9A 7J1
Nii Ndahlohke / I Work brings together existing works and new commissions by First Nations artists. The show explores the forced labour of students at Mount Elgin Industrial School (1851-1946).
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.
Tangled Art Talks: Vanessa Dion Fletcher
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.