Jason Baerg is an Indigenous curator, educator, and visual artist. Curatorial contributions include developing and implementing the national Metis arts program for the Vancouver Olympics. Baerg graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelors of Fine Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts from Rutgers University. He taught at Rutgers University (2014-2016) and served as an adjunct instructor at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Fall of 2016). Dedicated to community development, he founded and incorporated the Metis Artist Collective and has served as volunteer Chair for such organizations as the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition. Creatively as a visual artist, he pushes new boundaries in digital interventions in drawing, painting and new media installation. Recent international solo exhibitions include the Illuminato Festival in Toronto, Canada, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and the Digital Dome at the Institute of the American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Jason Baerg has given formal artist talks at such institutions as the Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design, Auckland, New Zealand, New York City’s Parsons School of Design and the University of Toronto. In 2008, Baerg won the Emerging Artist Award for the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, granted on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Culture. He has sat on numerous art juries and won awards through such facilitators as the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and The Toronto Arts Council.
ARTIST STATEMENT: Given, and Giving Back
I was born to be a Metis Artist. Raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, I was inspired by media and everything that was creative on-air! How has Indigeneity informed and inspired my work? My mother’s intrinsic community values have shaped me. My mother has spent a lifetime building community; one of the ways she severed was by volunteering as Senator for the Métis Nation of Ontario for 11 years and like her siblings; she continues to contribute significantly to the culture. I have witnessed the constant support of the community that drives my leadership to develop, and in turn, I mentor those coming forward. These cultural foundations provide topics to investigate as well as the opportunity to learn from the appropriate Indigenous authorities. This worldview and cultural positioning affect the way I approach narrative, color, and repetition in my work.
Today my work investigates global social metaphors with interest to activate collective observation and response. Formally I aim to push new boundaries in digital interventions in drawing, painting, and installation; experimenting with innovative media is critical to my creative vitality. My work is constructed with the audience included; art is a dialogue, and the conversation between the producer and observer is a chance for change. Intentions in all productions are to leave the viewer with more to consider, be it directly related to the formal aspects of art, or how the work affects them on cerebral levels. As a person of Indigenous ancestry, my motivations are always inclusively affirming tolerance and diversity. Art is an important communication mechanism that stems from ritual and healthy rituals support communities coming together.