Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto is pleased to present Come and Get Your Love, an exhibition of paintings by queer Anishinaabeg (Algonquin) artist Natalie King. Through the sacred worlds of queerness and Indigeneity, King bestows us with figures connected by love and radiating joy, existing within the varied nuances of queer Anishinaabeg life.
The work of Indigenous women and femmes is at the forefront of Indigenous movements driven by sovereignty. These movements, ideas, and thoughts are geared towards a self-determined future. King highlights the flourishing inner and outer dimensions of this future with queer Indigenous bodies on Turtle Island to illustrate the relationship Indigenous peoples have had with embracing and loving their culture(s), knowledge(s) and identity. Each of these figurative paintings present femmes’ journeys as varied and intricate, depicting their personal realities of community, care, and belonging. King’s artistic practice depicts lived experiences through frameworks of desire and survivance.
King’s bold paintings vibrate with colour and action, and are filled with energy. Women and femmes, queer and two-spirit bodies are seen occupying multiple roles and spaces outside of stereotypical sexist and racist frameworks. Queerness becomes one with the land, as it has always been. King's work is joyful, acting as a reminder for the freedom that can exist in an imagined future. It is an act of resistance to damage-centred narratives that are tied to Indigenous communities and the conspicuous consumption of queer, Indigenized trauma, by presenting queer love and empowered femme bodies as leaders.
King’s imagery spotlights femmes surrounded by flora, fauna, and food, referencing the spiritual and socio-political roles of women and femmes within their communities. King’s approach highlights thriving Indigenous bodies on the land to promote the resurgence of Indigenous cultures and knowledge. Indigenous women and femmes, queer two-spirit trans and non-binary peoples, propel a future where queer Indigenous knowledge(s) and identities are respected, powerful, and sacred.