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Natalie King
Can you tell me a bit about the kind of work that you make?

My name is Natalie King, and I am a queer interdisciplinary Anishinaabe artist, facilitator, and member of Timiskaming First Nation. My arts practice ranges from video, painting, sculpture, installation as well as community engagement, curation, and arts administration.

Are there themes/ideas do you return to regularly in your work?

My current artistic practice often involves portrayals of queer femmes and queer Anishinaabeg futurities, my works are about embracing the ambiguity and multiplicities of identity within the Anishinaabe queer femme experiences from my perspective.

What motivates you to make your work? Where do you draw inspiration from?

I am inspired by in-between-ness. I am often thinking about belonging, reverence, pride, relationality, and feelings of exuberance and freedom. Mostly, I think I am most interested in making work that speaks to ideas or questions about how we can connect to creation and ourselves on our own terms. What does it mean to inhabit an identity that is intersectional? I like the idea of queering ideas of self-presentation and regalia, the ways in which we present ourselves and the communities we are from, celebrating joy. I am also inspired by the many people who came before me. I try to honour them in my work.

Conceptually, I’m often thinking about the ways in which we communicate our desires and dreams as queer people, as Anishinaabe people. Often, it feels like I’m trying to connect or speak to something buried within me, I can speak to in my work, I feel called to do it to some degree, to connect with myself and others. I think I am trying to speak to some version of a future ancestor and maybe a version of a past self too.

What do you do when you’re not making art?

I am currently working with Xpace Cultural Centre as a Programming Coordinator and working independently as a professional artist. My role with Xpace, working collaboratively with our director Alexia Bréard-Anderson and Programming Coordinator Philip Ocampo, contributes to the planning and execution of workshops, events, and exhibitions for Xpace Cultural Centre’s exhibition spaces. The way I see my role as Programming Coordinator is a supportive one, helping foster emerging artists early careers and helping them show their work in a professional setting. The things that I enjoy most in my work are supporting artists and designers, building community, creating equitable exchange, and continually making new connections, working towards building sustainable exchanges within the arts community.

Down time is also super important to me. Working as an artist and full-time arts administrator I don’t get a lot of free time to myself; I am working on that! Constantly! I love to be out on the land, connecting with nature, new experiences, spending valuable time with loved ones, tending to my plants and garden, and I love spending time with my partner Chandler.

What are your goals/hopes for your practice in future?

I want to continue working with Xpace Cultural Centre to expand my existing skills and continue to support emerging artists and community. I will also continue to create my own worlds. I would love to continue to engage community and create new and exciting opportunities for emerging artists as well as continuing my professional arts practice.

Can you share any words of advice for artists that might be just starting out?

Take care of you, most importantly. Your health and mental well-being are the most important thing - above all else. In terms of practice, the key for me is patience and empathy with yourself; most importantly, focusing on your goals but not being hard on yourself when setbacks occur, because they almost always do. Always find the joy, whether that exists within your art practice or not, and follow it.

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