Book Launch : 5 December 2018 18:00 – 21:00

Book Launch: Sovereign Words. Indigenous Art, Curation and Criticism.

A first of its kind reader of Indigenous voices, Sovereign Words charts perspectives across art and film, ethics and history, theory and the museological field. With the canonical power systems of the international art world increasingly under fire today, the book makes a strong bid for knowledge building and intellectual alliances that will inform the cultural and artistic processes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous futures.

Árdna, the Sámi cultural house of UiT, the Arctic University of Norway

For the book’s launch, contributors Kabita Chakma, David Garneau, Kimberley Moulton, Biung Ismahasan, Irene Snarby and Ánde Somby reconvene to present and converse around their essays and the book’s relevance across artistic, curatorial, theoretical, cinematic, museological, ethical and legal fields.


Kabita Chakma comes from the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh. Chakma is
the largest Indigenous group in Bangladesh. Kabita Chakma belongs to the clan of Raange
goza, Bhudo gutthi on her maternal side and Borbo goza, Phoraa daagi on her paternal side.
She is a freelance researcher, architect, writer and occasional guest lecturer and teacher at
the School of Design, part of the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). She is a Coordinator
of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Indigenous Jumma Association Australia (CHTIJAA), and a
Community Adviser to BODHI (Benevolent Organisation for Development, Health and Insight)
Australia, a charity organisation. Her interests include the history, culture, art and architecture
of disadvantaged communities, particularly Indigenous peoples of the CHT, Bangladesh,
as well as environmental sustainability.

David Garneau is a Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Regina. He is Métis and his
practice includes painting, curation, and critical writing. With Kathleen Ash Milby, he recently
co-curated Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound, at the National Museum of the American
Indian, New York; Moving Forward, Never Forgetting, with Michelle LaVallee, an exhibition
concerning the legacies of Indian Residential Schools, other forms of aggressive assimilation,
and (re)conciliation, at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina; and With Secrecy and Despatch
with Tess Allas, an international exhibition about the massacres of Indigenous people and
memorialisation, for the Campbelltown Art Centre, Sydney. Garneau has recently given keynote
talks in Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, the United States, and throughout Turtle Island/Canada.
He is a co-researcher with Creative Conciliations, a five-year SSHRC (Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council of Canada) funded curatorial project, and he is working on a
public art project for the City of Edmonton, Alberta. His paintings can be found in numerous
public and private collections.

Kimberley Moulton is a Yorta Yorta woman with a curatorial and writing practice that has
engaged with many museums and contemporary art spaces. She is Senior Curator of
South Eastern Aboriginal Collections for Museums Victoria at Melbourne Museum,
focusing on the intersection of contemporary First Peoples art and cultural material
in museums. Prior to this, Moulton was Project Officer and Curator at Bunjilaka
Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum between 2009 and 2015, and an
Assistant Curator for First Peoples exhibition at Melbourne Museum in 2013.
Alongside her institutional curatorial roles, she has independently curated:
where the water moves, where it rests: the art of Djambawa Marawili, Kluge-Ruhe
Aboriginal Art Collection, Charlottesville (2015); State of The Nation, Counihan Gallery,
Brunswick (2016); A Call From The West: The Continuing Legacy of Mr William Cooper,
Footscray Community Arts Centre (2016). She was also a co-curator for Artbank Sydney
Social Day 2016, RECENTRE: sisters, City Of Melbourne Gallery (2017); and co-curator of
Next Matriarch
, ACE Open Adelaide and TARNANTHI Festival (2017). In 2018 Moulton
curated Mother Tongue for the guest curatorial series 'Octopus' at Gertrude Contemporary,
Melbourne. Moulton is an alumna of the National Gallery of Australia’s Wesfarmers
Indigenous Arts Leadership Program 2010, British Council ACCELERATE programme (2013),
National Gallery of Australia International Curatorial Fellow at Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal
Collection (2015), and a Victorian Curatorial Representative for the First Nations Exchange
Program United States of America 2016 at the Venice Biennale (2017) and First Nations
Exchange Canada (2017). She was a co-curator of Mandela: My Life at Melbourne Museum
(2018), the story of Nelson Mandela.

Biung Ismahasan is a curator and researcher, currently working on his PhD in Curating
at the University of Essex’s Centre for Curatorial Studies. His research involves issues of
contemporary Indigenous curatorial practice and aesthetics, focusing on the curation of
Taiwanese Indigenous contemporary art. His current research emphasises the issues of
participation, performativity and the historiography of Indigenous curation and exhibition
design. He received a MA in Cultural Policy, Relations & Diplomacy at Goldsmiths, University
of London in November 2014. Belonging to the Bunun Nation of Taiwanese Indigenous groups,
he was awarded the PULIMA Art Award (the first national art award dedicated to Indigenous
contemporary art), and exhibited at Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts in Southern
Taiwan in 2014. His most notable curatorial projects include Anti-Alcoholism:
an Indigenous performative encounter 2014–19
, an international performance art
exchange of Indigenous artists from Taiwan. He recently curated Dispossessions:
Performative Encounter(s) of Taiwanese Indigenous Contemporary Art
at Goldsmiths
in May 2018.

Irene Snarby is a Doctoral Research Fellow in Art History at SARP: The Sámi Art Research
Project at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, where she is carrying out research into the
works of the artist Iver Jåks. Snarby has worked as a curator within the Art Department of
The Sámi Museum – RiddoDuottarMuseat in Kárášjohka (Sápmi/Norway) and has been a
member of the Sámi Parliament’s Acquisitions Committee for Contemporary Art. She has
written essays, given lectures and been an editor for several publications of Sámi art for
over twenty years. She has also been an advisor on important art projects such as the
International Indigenous Art exhibition Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art at the
National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa, and There is no, at the Northern Norwegian
Art Museum.

Ánde Somby is a writer, yoiker (yoik is the Sámi way of singing or chanting, which
differs from Euro-American vocal music) and Associate Professor of Law at UiT
(Arctic University of Norway) where he specialises in Indigenous rights law. Somby
was born in 1958 in Buolbmat in the Deatnu/Tana municipality on the Norwegian
side of Sápmi. He is the former Chair of the Centre for Sámi Studies at UiT and
former leader of Sámiid Nuoraid Searvi (Sámi Youth Association in Kárášjohka,
1976–78). Somby has performed extensively as a yoiker since 1976, and has
occasionally also lectured on the subject. His writings include: ‘How to recruit
Samis to higher education and to research, items on an agenda of actions’
(Sin neste som seg selv: Ole D. Mjøs 60 år 8. mars 1999, ed. by Arthur Arntzen,
Jens-Ivar Nergård, and Øyvind Norderval, 1999) and ‘The Legal situation of The
Nordic Indigenous Peoples’ (paper presented at the 35th Nordic Jurist Assembly, 1999)
and ‘Yoik and the Theory of Knowledge’ (Kunnskap og utvikling, ed. Magnus Haavelud, 1995).