Kaitlyn Purcell

Denesuline (Smith’s Landing First Nation) writer/artist and member of the Writing Revolution in Place creative research collective (University of Alberta). Currently, she is an English PhD student within creative and critical Indigenous studies at the University of Calgary. Her research centers arts and literature as theoretical practice exploring gender/sexuality and multi-modal creative productions (creative writing, visual, digital, and installation arts) as praxis towards healing and resistance. Her debut novella, ʔbédayine, was selected by guest judges CA Conrad and Anne Boyer as the winner of the 2018 Metatron Prize for Emerging Authors and was published fall 2019.


  • ARD Proximities

    June 23–August 11, 2020

    Tuesdays, 9–10pm
    Vancouver Co-op Radio, CFRO 100.5FM

    While staff have been working remotely, we wanted to find ways to remain connected to the neighbourhood and communities surrounding Artspeak. With the temporary closure of the gallery, we’ve decided to renew a feature of Artspeak’s programming of the past years: radio broadcasting. We’re excited to continue to work with Vancouver Co-Op Radio, for another edition of Artspeak Radio Digest. Located a couple of blocks from Artspeak, Vancouver Co-op Radio is a community radio station that has been based in the Downtown Eastside since 1973. In Fall 2018 Artspeak Radio Digest was collectively run by Brady Cranfield, Gabi Dao, Emma Metcalfe-Hurst, Autumn Schnell, with support from myself and Erik Hood.

    As an audio journal, Artspeak Radio Digest is an expanded approach to our publishing program. In the true form of a digest, over the next several weeks of the PROXIMITIES EDITION, we will be hosting many exceptional artists, writers, arts workers and musicians. All of who maintain an interdisciplinary practice and work with sound, voice, publishing, and writing.

    For the duration of PROXIMITIES – we’re very excited to be introducing – Hannah Jickling and Helen Reed of Big Rock Candy Mountain who will be our resident guests on the show presenting Bubble Broadcast. Each week they will be sharing their research as part of their Sleepy Soda project, which will develop a special edition of soda with grade 6 students in Edmonton, Alberta.

    As the goal posts keep shifting, and it’s difficult to know when we can gather in ways that feel familiar, we hope to share with you via Artspeak Radio Digest a series that will allow us to share space together in auditory proximity.

  • ublaak tikiyuak

    March 14–April 25, 2020

    Listen to Kaitlyn Purcell reading their Postscript for the exhibition Metamorphic black rabbits unravel, 2020


    watch Angunayuak read their Phantoms text published for the exhibition here


    discover Kablusiak’s Hidden Pictures give aways here

    I recall our first conversation in the summer of 2018. Kablusiak was in Inuvik for an artist residency and I called them from Vancouver. The connection was patchy, and Kablusiak had to relocate to the hothouse, before we could continue talking. Our ensuing Skype, email and phone conversations encompassed different landscapes and time zones, across hothouses, kitchens, offices and studios between Inuvik, Vancouver, Calgary, Dawson City, and across the Pacific to Wellington.

    These shifts in time zones and seasons formed a backdrop to our conversations. We initially discussed the possibility of staging an exhibition to coincide with the equinox or solstice. This timing with a seasonal shift seemed to hold and mark a desired promise. We finally landed on Friday March 13th, just 6 nights shy of the spring equinox. The title of the exhibition felt appropriate as the days become longer, as ublaak tikiyuak means ‘we reached the morning.’

    ublaak tikiyuak brings together several works by Kablusiak that allude to feelings of cultural displacement and homesickness. While this sense of longing implies a persistent yearning for the elusive someone or someplace, Kablusiak gives these feelings a space to reside, through materials from their ancestral homeland in the Mackenzie Delta, Northwest Territories. Their sculptures are rendered in soapstone. The utility of soapstone as a material shifted significantly in the 1940s as a result of increased commercial demand and interest in Inuit artistic practices encouraged by the Canadian Handicraft Guild, with support from the Canadian Government. Since then soapstone, although not a ‘traditional’ material, has become closely associated with Inuit art. In Kablusiak’s hands, soapstone takes the form of belongings and domestic objects—a bottle of Listerine, lipstick, moon cups, butt plugs, cigarettes, alongside other goods such as pilot biscuits. Kablusiak’s humour extends to their drawings, simultaneously revealing a suburban malaise and a longing for home.

    How do you share in this longing for home? In what ways do you carry the stories you inherit, as well as the ones you inhabit?

    Commissioned as part of ublaak tikiyuak, Angunayuak (Kablusiak’s brother) wrote phantom, a poem that shapes such feelings shared between friends, siblings, lovers, family and alongside ancestors—distant and near. Kablusiak and Angunayuak evoke these moments, whether a rowdy invocation of Ernest Monias in an extended karaoke session, gifts of dried meat sent from home, fundraising galas at your local artist run centre, or binge-watching Netflix until you reach the morning with the company you want to keep.

    Quyanainni Angunayuak, Holly, Arlin, Liam. Quyanainni to the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations. Quyanainni to the Sitsika, Piikani, Kaina, Tsuut’ina, Iyarhe Nakoda, Chiniki, Wesley, Bearspaw Nation and to the Metis Nation Region III. Pikpagiyapkin.

    Thank you to Shannon Norberg of Jarvis Hall Gallery, and to the lenders who generously loaned the works for ublaak tikiyuak.

    Postscript 78: Kaitlyn Purcell on Kablusiak