CBU has its First Artist in Residence

Cape Breton University (CBU) is pleased to have local artist Ursula Johnson as its first Artist in Residence. Johnson arrived at CBU in January and since then has been involved in a number of interactive projects across campus and in the wider community. She is working with the CBU Art Gallery and Unama’ki College.

“At Cape Breton University we are always looking to enhance the learning experiences for our students.  Unama’ki College’s artist in residence, Ursula Johnson, is actually CBU’s very first Artist in Residence. Having such a talented artist on campus not only benefits our students, but also faculty, staff and the wider community by exposing them to her unique fusion of traditional Mi’kmaq craft and contemporary conceptual art. Johnson’s work fits well with CBU’s history of sustaining culture and our focus on Aboriginal education. I hope the university makes a good backdrop to inspire further artistic creation,” says Dr. Rod Nichols, Dean School of Arts and Social Sciences.

Since beginning at Cape Breton University, Johnson has developed and delivered a special topics course entitled The Role of the Mi’kmaw Basket in Contemporary Fine Craft, which traces the evolution of the Mi’kmaw basket from functional object, to Indian craft, to fine art, to artefact to archive. She will also host four public events, the first of which will be held on March 13, 2013 at 1 p.m. at the CBU Art Gallery.

The first public event is an Artist Talk, which will feature Johnson speaking about her various exhibitions and performances from the past 6 years that have led to the development of her current body of work. Johnson’s art has encompassed a wide variety of mediums; including photography, video, performance, mixed media, installation and traditional Aboriginal art forms.  All are welcome.

Originally from Eskasoni, Johnson studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2006. She has been featured in various solo and group exhibits across Canada. Johnson was an Artist in Residence at the Klondike Institute for Arts and Culture in Dawson City, Yukon and at Mount Saint Vincent University in Bedford, Nova Scotia prior to returning to Eskasoni.

“CBU has resources that no other university in the world has and those resources were a driving force for me in taking on this role,” says Johnson. “The Mi’kmaq Resource Centre, the Beaton Institute and Unama’ki College together are a gold mine. Research is such a significant component of my art production, so having access to those resources is a gift.”

For a complete schedule please visit www.cbu.ca/art-gallery.