A conversation with Alondra Nelson, Heidi McKenzie and Jeff Thomas

Local artists respond to Alondra Nelson’s presentation.


Heidi McKenzie

Ceramic Artist

Heidi is a Toronto-based ceramic artist who has recently completed her Diploma in Ceramics at Sheridan Craft & Design. Heidi has been a manager and creative producer with over twenty years’ experience in the not-for-profit arts sector. In 2009, Heidi embarked on a three-month ceramic residency at the foothills of the Himalayas, and in 2010, Heidi fully embraced her new life path as an artist.  She is the recipient of the 2012 Joan Bennett Award for Excellence and Outstanding Achievement from Sheridan College, and the 2011 Emerging Artist Award for the Toronto Artist Project.

Jeff Thomas

Jeff Thomas is an urban-Iroquois, born in the city of Buffalo, New York in 1956. His parents and grandparents were born at the Six Nations reserve, near Brantford, Ontario and left the reserve to find work in the city.

According to Jeff, you won’t find a definition for ‘urban Iroquois’ in any dictionary or anthropological publication–it is this absence that informs his work as a photo-based artist, researcher, independent curator, cultural analyst and public speaker. His study of Indian-ness seeks to create an image bank of his urban-Iroquois experience, as well as re-contextualize historical images of First Nations people for a contemporary audience. Ultimately, Jeff wants to dismantle long entrenched stereotypes and inappropriate caricatures of First Nations people.