Aylan Couchie, Director General

aylan-couchieAylan Couchie (She/Her) is a Nishnaabekwe interdisciplinary artist, curator and writer hailing from Nipissing First Nation. She is a NSCAD University alumna achieving a BFA in sculpture and installation. She received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design at OCAD University where she focused her thesis on reconciliation and its relationship to monument and public art. She’s currently in her third year of study at Queen’s University where she’s working on her PhD in the Cultural Studies program researching areas of land+language+Indigenous placemaking through mapping, naming and public art. Her research-based practice explores the intersections of colonial/First Nations histories of place, culture and Indigenous erasure as well as issues of (mis)representation and cultural appropriation. She’s been the recipient of several awards including an “Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture” award through the International Sculpture Centre and a Premier’s Award through Ontario Colleges. Most recently, she was chosen by Queen’s University as their nominee for the 2023 SSHRC Talent Award. She served as Chair of Native Women in the Arts until 2020 and lives and works from her home community of Nipissing First Nation in Northern Ontario and and Tkarón:to.

Theo Cuthand, Director General

Theo Cuthand (He/Him) was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1978, and grew up in Saskatoon. Since 1995 he has been making short experimental narrative videos and films about sexuality, madness, Queer identity and love, and Indigeneity, which have screened in festivals internationally, including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Mix Brasil Festival of Sexual Diversity in Sao Paolo, ImagineNATIVE in Toronto, Ann Arbour Film Festival, Images in Toronto, Berlinale in Berlin, New York Film Festival, Outfest,and Oberhausen International Short Film Festival. His work has also exhibited at galleries including the Remai in Saskatoon, The National Gallery in Ottawa, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, MoMA in New York, and The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.  He completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Film and Video at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2005, and his Masters of Arts in Media Production at Toronto Metropolitan University in 2015. He has made commissioned work for Urban Shaman and Videopool in Winnipeg, Cinema Politica in Montreal, VIMAF in Vancouver, and Bawaadan Collective in Canada. In 2020 he completed working on a 2D video game called A Bipolar Journey based on his experience learning and dealing with his bipolar disorder. It can be found here. He has also written three feature screenplays and has performed at Live At The End Of The Century in Vancouver, Queer City Cinema’s Performatorium in Regina, and 7a*11d in Toronto. In 2017 he won the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Award. He is a Whitney Biennial 2019 artist. He has made 32 videos and films and counting. Currently he has a feature film in development. He is a trans man who uses He/Him pronouns. He is of Plains Cree and Scots descent, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

Twitter: @TjCuthand
Instagram: @cabbagetownstomper
Facebook: @TJCuthandArtist

Ange Loft, Treasurer

Ange Loft (She/Her) is an interdisciplinary performing artist and initiator from Kahnawá:ke Kanien’kehá:ka Territory, working in Toronto. She is an ardent collaborator, consultant, facilitator and mentor working in storyweaving, arts based research, wearable sculpture and Haudenosaunee history. Ange is also a vocalist with the Juno and Polaris nominated band YAMANTAKA//SONIC TITAN.

Jenny Blackbird, Chair

Jenny Blackbird (She/Her) is Nehiyaw and Finnish-Canadian. She is a hand drummer/singer, masters student at York and a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in fashion design. She works at University of Toronto as interim Indigenous Student Life Coordinator at First Nations House Indigenous Student Services.

Jenny has been volunteering at Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS) since 2008 as a community Auntie for the Giiwedin Anang council, which supports Indigenous families who are navigating through the child welfare system. Jenny also sits on the ALS community council diversion program, as advisory committee and council member.

Jenny is producer and co-host of the “Indigenous Waves” Radio show, on CIUT 89.5 FM at 6 PM Mondays.

Jenny has facilitated arts workshops in TDSB Schools, and has guest lectured at Ryerson school of social work, OISE, Indigenous studies and Faculty of Music at University of Toronto. She also worked at The Royal Ontario Museum as an Indigenous Knowledge Resource Teacher, conducting tours for student groups, as well as on-site outreach in the First People’s Gallery.

Jenny is the recipient of the 2016 “Culture Keeper Award” Minaake Award from Native Women’s Resource Center and a 2019 recipient of an IDERD award for the International Day for the Elimination of Racism at University of Toronto.