Artist Talk with Richard Harlow and Maanii Oakes

December 8, 2018
2:00 – 4:00 pm
Tangled Art Gallery


Join artists Maanii Oakes and Richard Harlow for an intimate conversation hosted at Tangled Art Gallery, as part of FLOURISHING SOMEWHERE WE STAY AUTHENTIC. As part of the larger Flourishing exhibition series, Harlow and Oakes will discuss practice, community and explore the process that culminated in their collaborative work.



In 2010, Richard Harlow, an apprentice painter attending Emily Carr University, was diagnosed with Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, a rare optic nerve disease that affects 1/250,000 people with no cure.Harlow stopped creating art for years. Newly aware of the isolation, poverty, discrimination, and ableism of disability, he dedicated his life to helping others with disabilities. Harlow hosted a TV show called App TV on AMI and became a dedicated CNIB board member.He dabbled in stand-up comedy, modelling, and acting before gathering the courage to create art again. In 2017, he reinvented his art style and enrolled in senior art classes at Vancouver Island University. With his “Accessible Art” he aims to eliminate the barriers in the art world. Commonly hanging paintings at an accessible height, Harlow encourages people to touch his works. Presenting in public art galleries makes his art financially accessible to those living in poverty. His work aims to convey that no person has limits to what they can accomplish and that having a disability is not the end, it’s only the beginning of a new chapter.


Maanii Oakes is a working nineteen year old Swampy Cree Anishnabek and Kanienkehaka cultural tattoo practitioner and visual artist in the mediums of skin stitch, handpoke, pencil crayon and most recently rawhide sculpture. Her work is influenced by her home of Eeyou Istchee, as pressed by her late grandfather in enacting Cree ways of governance and being. She tattoos both traditional and contemporary designs pulling from her own archival research and the strong material culture of her ancestors including bulrush weaving patterns and the painted caribou blankets of James Bay. In contrast her figurative pieces address recent history and present day colonialism, not pandering to loss of what she never had but rather looking to engage the stark reality of living culture seeping through layers of assimilation. Her practice also includes a variety of public speaking engagements and mentorship in community arts centering environmental justice and indigenous stewardship demonstrating her commitment to community and cultural exchange.


FLOURISHING: SOMEWHERE WE STAY AUTHENTIC is the second exhibition in the FLOURISHING series, featuring Maanii Oakes and Richard Harlow. Hailing from opposite sides of the country, these two artists converge to present work illustrating the inescapable impact of one’s environments, natural and human. SOMEWHERE WE STAY AUTHENTIC offers the audience glimpses into the artists’ efforts to navigate potentially overwhelming terrain, negotiating their own versions of landscapes in which they are able to thrive. We can never truly escape our past or the forces that have brought us to the here and now, but perhaps in looking honestly and unflinchingly at who and where we are, we open ourselves up to the potential of co-creating of what will be.


Tangled Art Gallery is in a barrier-free location. Audio description will be available for the exhibit. We will have ASL interpreters and attendant care present during public engagements. Service animals are welcome. We request that you help us to make this a scent-free environment.


Tangled Art Gallery is located in studio 122 on the main floor on the 401 Richmond Building. The closest accessible subway station is at Osgoode Station. The closest accessible streetcar stop is the 510 Spadina Queen Street West Stop (Queen Street stop going south from Spadina Station, Richmond Street stop going north from Union Station.


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647 725 5064
Tangled Art Gallery is dedicated to exhibiting disability art and showcasing the highest standard of accessible curatorial practice.

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