Ursula Johnson is an emerging performance and installation artist of Mi’kmaw First Nation ancestry. She graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design and has participated in over 30 group shows and 5 solo exhibitions. Her performances are often place-based and employ cooperative didactic intervention.
Through the medium of durational performance art she enters into laborious tasks/circumstances that create repetitive strain on her body and mind while creating tension with the viewer. Elmiet (He/She Goes Home) 2010 is an example of work, created specifically for Nova Scotia’s Cultural History regarding the 1756 Scalping Proclamation, where Johnson created an event to host the last scalping in Nova Scotia. Johnson’s recent work Mi’kwite’tmn employs various sculptural mediums to create consideration from her audience about aspects of intangible cultural heritage as it pertains to the consumption of traditional knowledge within the context of colonial institutions. Mi’kwite’tmn: Do You Remember (hosted by Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery) is a solo exhibition currently on a Canadian National Tour.
Johnson has been selected as a finalist for the Salt Spring National Art Prize and has twice been long listed for the Sobey Art Award. She has presented publicly in lectures, keynote addresses and hosted a number of community forums around topics of ‘Indigenous Self-Determination through Art’ and the ‘Environmental Responsibility and Sustainability in Contemporary Indigenous Art Practices’, ‘The History and Impacts of Economics on The Indigenous Object’ as well as ‘Renegotiating Conservation: Revisiting the Roles and Responsibilities of Cultural Institutions in Canada regarding Indigenous Made Objects.Headshot Image: A. Y. Taylor Photography