Ice Follies 2018: Aylan Couchie

now is the time to see the truth

As longtime cohabitants, the residents of North Bay and Nipissing First Nation have had a relationship that has been, at times, contentious with respect to the health their shared waterway, Lake Nipissing. A seemingly never-ending conflict over the declining population of pickerel finds many area residents and businesses blaming the Anishinaabeg for netting. At the same time, there exists an unacknowledged history of settlers who have, themselves, overfished these waters in the past and continue to take from Nbisiing, both in summer and winter, with hundreds of ice huts dotting the frozen landscape. This work looks to acknowledge this ongoing tension, while at the same time serve as a reminder that we are all responsible for the health of our shared resources. We live in precarious times of changing climate and destructive pollution of our waterways and in the end, we are all stewards of these lands. Ni waamjigaadeg debwewin.

Artist biography: 

Aylan Couchie is a multidisciplinary Anishinaabe artist and writer hailing from Nipissing First Nation in Northern Ontario. Though now based in Toronto, she received her BFA with a major in sculpture from NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is currently an MFA Candidate in the Interdisciplinary Media Art and Design program at OCAD University where she is pursuing her graduate studies with a focus on Indigenous monument and public art. Her work explores ideas of colonialism, land and First Nation realities and histories from her Two-Spirit, feminist perspective. She’s been the recipient of several awards including “Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture” through the International Sculpture Center and the Inaugural Barbara Laronde Award from Native Women in the Arts. Most recently, Aylan won a Premier’s Award through Ontario Colleges and in 2017 will see her largest public art piece yet, raised 70 feet to overlook the City of Barrie.

This installation was presented as part of Ice Follies 2018 – a festival of site specific art on frozen Lake Nipissing.

Thanks to our partners for their generous support in making this presentation possible!