Stan Williams’ ongoing series, This is Indian Land, highlights the front-line struggles for Indigenous self-determination throughout Turtle Island. This exhibition explores the tireless work of communities who are upholding their way of life, their cultures, and their lands against the forces of colonization.
In what is known as Canada today, the ongoing impact of colonization has led to the marginalization of Indigenous ways of life. This root cause underlies disproportionate levels of child apprehensions, youth suicide, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, loss of languages, poverty, and the dispossession and degradation of lands and waters. A Mohawk and Anishinaabe photographer, Williams works to raise the voices of his community through his documentary images, inspiring change by portraying those who are reclaiming and reaffirming their rights through marches and protests. This is Indian Land challenges individuals with colonial privilege to uphold their responsibilities of recognizing and respecting the laws of Indigenous peoples, whose lands they prosper and live upon.
“I use photography to portray the beautiful struggle of our Indigenous Peoples. Often misconstrued by outsiders, the stories told of our communities are frequently expressed through an oppressive colonial lens. My intention is to depict our collective fight for respect and justice, in a way that dignifies the reality that many strive to overcome. My goal is to drive forward a critique and revocation of colonialism in order to create space for truth telling.
The people portrayed in my work often reveal a story that is peaceful, powerful and righteous. I work to amplify the voices of our grassroots community activism through my documentary photography to inspire change. In the spirit of reciprocity, I hope my images can carry our stories forward.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST: stan williams
Born in Vancouver B.C., Stan Williams (Kanien’keha:ka/Anishnaabe) is from Garden River First Nation, located in Ontario. He attended the Emily Carr Institute of Fine Arts and Design in Vancouver and has since become a self-taught photographer. As an emerging artist, his documentary work seeks to amplify the voices of Indigenous communities’ assertions of self-determination and cultural resurgence.
Stan has been support by the Ontario Arts Council’s Emerging Artist Program and is a recipient of Hnatyshyn Foundation’s Reveal Indigenous Art Award in 2017. He has exhibited his work at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology, has been published in numerous news outlets including CBC News, Briarpatch Magazine, Two Row Times Newspaper, First Nations Drum Newspaper, and works with multiple organizations including: Greenpeace Canada; Yellowhead Institute; and, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.
He currently lives and works out of Toronto with his wife and daughter. For more information, please visit www.stanwilliams.ca.
Treaties are legal agreements between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown, which allow non-Indigenous people to live in Canada, and to share the land and resources.
Canada, as a nation, does not currently honour these treaties.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) is a “framework for reconciliation” that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called Canada to adopt.
Bill C-262 implements UNDRIP within the legal framework of Canada. The next months are crucial and your help is needed. Take action by adding your name and your voice in support of Bill C-262. Send a message to Senators in Canada to urge implementation.
Our OFFICIAL PRINT PARTNER
A huge thank you to our Print Partner, Vistek for supplying our beautiful prints.
We owe a big thank you to our sponsors and partners this year for making this event possible.