Place and Placelessness: Site-Specific Art in a Land Much Older Than 150 Years

In conjunction with Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary and LandMarks-Repères 2017, the School of Art is offering a unique course in May/June 2017 that will focus on site-specific art in landscape, ideas of nationhood and nature/wilderness, colonialism and its legacies, and indigeneity.

LandMarks is a national project overseen by five curator teams spearheading a host of art events. Professional artists are making new works sited in the national parks and historic sites, and university courses are running alongside, in relation to those professional projects.

For the School of Art’s LandMarks project, a small cohort of students will learn about making artwork in and that reflects on “a land much older than 150 years” (as the LandMarks curatorial statement cogently expresses). The class will begin in Winnipeg with foundational content on Treaties 1 and 5 territory, colonialism and its legacies, and about site-specific art. Natalia Lebedinskaia, one of the curators for LandMarks, will meet with the class to give context to the national project. After this situating of ourselves in place, the class will travel to Churchill, Manitoba, to witness artist Michael Belmore and his working methods on site as he prepares his LandMarks project. We will tour Churchill and Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site, and meet with parks staff and local community members. The train trip to and from Churchill is a crucial component of the course; we will continue with discussions and assignments during the 2-day journey. Back in Winnipeg, students will work in-studio to prepare their own artworks, which will be sited at The Forks National Historic Site. The course culminates in mid-June with the public presentation of works during LandMarks Weeks and National Aboriginal Day.

“Place and Placelessness: Site-specific art in a land much older than 150 years” is a course about site-specificity, art and landscape, history and the present, place and placelessness.

Faculty: Sara Ciurysek

Artist Projects

Recover Root

Laura Monkman

Up North

Sammi St Clair

Glacial Till

Lauren Wiebe


Emily Wolverton