Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre

Whitehorse, Yukon

Whess Harman

2018 Shakaat Artist-in-Residence


Whess Harman is mixed race, trans/non-binary queer/2SQ artist from the Carrier Wit’at Nation and a graduate of the emily carr university’s bachelor of fine arts program. They are currently living and working on the territories of the Musquem, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations in the Skwachays Lodge artist residency program.

On-going work in includes beadwork and DIY strategies around punk aesthetics creating the “Potlatch Punk” series; an on-going collection of modified jackets that blend traditional materials with punk and DIY approaches to discuss urban Indigenous identity and understandings of wealth. Their text-based work is also on-going and continually seeks to explore the possibilities of reciprocal engagement in the consumption of Indigenous voices and work.

Artist website:

Ambient Archive: Curating Narrative Memory with Whess Harman
Sunday, July 22nd
12:30pm – 3:00pm

Workshop details

What is the Ambient Archive? In Harman’s work it is the continual negotiation of memory and resonance; in the reclamation of things rediscovered and the dissonance in generating dreams for the past and the future to construct a new present. They use the phrase, “Ambient Archive” to refer to the accumulations of moments of rupture not only in the collective memory we share but within our own memories; in how and what feelings are evoked in experiencing moments of feeling displaced from mainstream narratives that all too casually and easily isolate individuals by reproducing sexism, racism, queerphobia, transphobia, and on-going colonial violence.

In this workshop, participants will create through a writing exercise that will be translated into a text-based artwork through a process of editing; curating their writing down to the most essential core of the memory; whether that core be truth or fiction, dream or declaration.

Workshop schedule

– 20 min: Participants will view a slideshow presentation on text based work that focuses on its use in identity-based practices, on the aesthetics of presentation and the effect it has on the reading of a work; if it should be easily communicable, what it means if it is not and how to strategize the translation between the visual presentation of text work and its content.
– 20 min: Following the presentation will be a guided writing exercise, focusing on memory recall and how that can be reshaped into dialogues of the present.
– 25 min: Participants will work together in small groups to then discuss their writing, offering feedback to one another.
– 15 min: break
– 10 min: Participants will choose a section of their text, or something from their group discussions about the writing to translate into a visual text piece.
– 30 min: Draft a visual work about the writing with the materials provided
– 30 min: Post work up and reflect on each work as a group, offering feedback and impressions

Pre-Registration is required. To register please call:
Jennifer Heffernan
Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre
(867) 456-5322