ayumi goto and peter morin: how do you carry the land?

Vancouver art gallery, July 14 - October 28, 2018

Artists: Ayumi Goto and Peter Morin with Corey Bulpitt, Roxanne Charles, Navarana Igloliorte, Cheryl L'Hirondelle, Haruko Okano and Juliane Okot-Bitek.

How do you carry the land? How do you carry the place where you were born, that you may have lost or have been forced to leave? How do you carry lands that you visit or pass through? How do you come to be in relation to the land where you are? When do you carry the land with you? How does the land offer to be carried? How does carrying the land change you, change us?

In this space of temporary gathering, Ayumi Goto and Peter Morin are assembling the land through their bodies as performance artists and with invited guests that include their ancestors, mothers, friends and us. Their collaborative practice builds upon a deep friendship that attends to their respective positions as a Japanese diasporic woman and a Tahltan First Nations man. This means attending to individual and collective histories, trauma, racism, families, genders, extended kinship, cultural knowledge and production, languages, lands and nations. Their work can be considered as creative assemblages, configurations of being in relation to the world, challenging us to envision ways of building interconnected futures.

The exhibition weaves together a selection of Goto and Morin’s collective performances along with significant solo projects by both artists. In parallel, the artists inhabit Tahltan Nation knowledge of the circularity of time and the life force of objects as well as the Japanese/Taoist notion of 陰陽 (inyō) that conceptualizes the universe as a circle wherein contrasting forces are also interconnected and constantly in motion. In performance Goto and Morin live through past, present and future moments simultaneously, collapsing time and intensifying presence. Their works are re-presented here as an enfolding of many moments from which new meanings emerge. A number of other artists have also been commissioned to create work for this exhibition, several of which were activated in or responded to performances occurring over the exhibition’s duration. The resulting shifting installation insists on the multiplicity of voices that Goto and Morin’s collaborative practice foregrounds.

The artists and the Vancouver Art Gallery respectfully acknowledge the unceded homelands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, and their ancestors past, present and future, who have been carried and in turn have carried these lands for thousands of years. If you find meaning here, return it to the lands you walk upon today.  


Ayumi Goto and Peter Morin: how do you carry the land? Vancouver Art Gallery Online Store

“In Goto and Morin’s assemblage activations, the purposeful gathering of bodies as collections of encounters and experiences, bodies that are not our own but exist in a continuum with ancestors and movements on the land enacts a destabilization that is generative rather than deconstructive. They signal the porosity of artistic practice as being thoroughly embedded in the world, a confluence connecting past to present and future—an activation that is always already happening. In asking “how do you carry the land?” Goto and Morin ask how you will shift and be shifted by this encounter.” —Tarah Hogue

Michael Turner, “how do you carry the land?,” Canadian Art, September 25, 2018

Suzanne Morrissette “Practices of Learning,” Capilano Review (Spring 2019)


Ayumi Goto and Peter Morin with Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Assemblage Activation, July 13, 2018.
Held in conjunction with the opening reception, the performance responded to the history of the Gallery’s built infrastructure—a former courthouse, where Indigenous ways of life were literally persecuted as crimes, located on land that continues to be unceded. As the first gesture of the show, all gallery visitors were invited to take up noise-making instruments (den-den daiko and rattles) handmade by Goto and Morin, and to make as much noise as possible, calling in our ancestors, whomever they might have been in these histories, to understand the once courthouse and now gallery space as a place where all of us belonged.

Tarah Hogue, Ayumi Goto and Peter Morin, this is not us, July 21, 2018.
Activating portrait masks carved by Corey Bulpitt of Goto, Morin and myself, the performance travserved the four floors of the Vancouver Art Gallery, intervening in the concurrent exhibitions and old courtroom spaces to explore ways of being and looking from within the institution. The portrait masks conversely protect the face from view while also revealing a likeness. They also draw upon histories of production and artistic practice across cultural contexts. What becomes visible in this encounter? The performance was live streamed via FB.

Tarah Hogue, Ayumi Goto and Peter Morin, edlā moeder 母親, July 23, 2018.
During the Gallery’s regular open hours, we closed the exhibition for a private tour for our mothers—Margriet Hogue, Kyoko Goto and Janelle Morin—and our families. We gave our mothers gifts, and Kyoko made beautiful calligraphic scrolls with our mom’s names in kanji. Within their practice, Goto and Morin ask of themselves and one another: How do I honour your ancestors? How do we make a space for our ancestors to meet and to work together? How do I honour your mother? How do we make a space for our mothers to meet and to visit together?


Resonant Presence and Refusals: Four Artists Reflect on Their Practices, Together
with Jeneen Frei Njootli, Ayumi Goto, Peter Morin, and Olivia Whetung
July 17, 2018, Contemporary Art Gallery

Join us as four artists reflect together on the many shared concerns of their practices, with the discussion moderated by CAG Curator Kimberly Phillips and Tarah Hogue, VAG’s Senior Curatorial Fellow, Indigenous Art. A collaboration between the Contemporary Art Gallery and the Vancouver Art Gallery, this event seeks to register and draw out issues of hospitality, presence and the politics of refusal on the occasion of these artists’ concurrent and upcoming exhibitions in Vancouver.

Artist Talk and Book Launch: the all of usness in the room
September 29, 2018, Vancouver Art Gallery

Performance artists Ayumi Goto and Peter Morin poetically reflect on their collaborative work and perform a reading from their text “Writing. First. Contacts?”. The performance looks to the intersections between temporality, bodies and land to ponder the often unspoken experiences of intercultural relationships. Goto and Morin are joined by Tarah Hogue, Senior Curatorial Fellow of Indigenous Art to discuss the exhibition and the nature of working collaboratively. A reception to celebrate the launch of their artist book, published to accompany the exhibition Ayumi Goto and Peter Morin: how do you carry the land? will follow.