What: Reframing Ainu Indigeneity: Performing exhibit presents traditional and contemporary Ainu dance and music
Who: Dr. Kanako Uzawa, Ainu Indigenous artist, musician and scholar
When: Sunday, July 31, at 7 pm
Where: Ringo-En Orchards, 6831 Bella Vista Road, Vernon
An Indigenous Japanese scholar and musician will be the star of a solo performance that will share the music and dance of Japan’s Ainu people.
Presented by UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies and the Department of Languages and World Literatures, visiting artist Dr. Kanako Uzawa will present a performance highlighting the unique culture of the Ainu—Japan’s Indigenous people.
Dr. Uzawa, a scholar, advocate and artist will perform an Ainu dance, demonstrate the mukkuri—a traditional Ainu mouth harp—and informally share Ainu culture and contemporary issues of the Indigenous people of Japan at a special presentation on Sunday, July 31.
Nina Langton, Associate Professor of Japanese Studies, Languages and World Literatures at UBC Okanagan, says Dr. Uzawa collaborates and engages with a number of academic and international forums, lectures and artistic work related to Indigenous identity-making.
“Dr. Uzawa’s work on traditional and contemporary Ainu culture has informed my efforts to Indigenize my Japanese language classroom,” says Langton. “She is a well-recognized scholar and artist. We are very fortunate to be able to bring her to the Okanagan.”
Dr. Uzawa is particularly active in promoting contemporary aspects of Indigenous livelihoods using her website AinuToday.com as a means of communication with an international audience.
Her current work is a curational project on the Ainu, in collaboration with the University of Michigan Museum of Art in the United States. She has also worked on an Ainu exhibition One Soul in All: Encounters with Ainu from the North of Japan at the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum in Cologne, Germany.
In addition to her academic and curatorial work, Dr. Uzawa performs traditional and contemporary Ainu dance and is hosting a performance at UBC Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology, presented by the Centre for Japanese Studies. Earlier this month, she attended the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Intercultural Indigenous Choreographers Creation Lab.
The public is invited to a performance on July 31 at Ringo-En Orchards in Vernon. The outdoor venue opens at 6 pm and people are welcome to bring a picnic, lawn chair or blanket. The performance begins at 7 pm.
This event is free and open to the public, no registration is required.
About Dr. Uzawa
Dr. Uzawa is an affiliated researcher at the Research Faculty of Media and Communication at Hokkaido University in Japan. She contributes to collaborative research and Ainu performing art on the multifaceted articulations of Indigenous knowledge. Her master’s thesis focused on a comparative study between the Sámi in Norway and the Ainu Indigenous people in Japan. Her PhD focused on urban Ainu livelihood and its contemporary expressions.