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The Global Indigenous Arts Network (GIAN) is a research group dedicated to cultivating links between Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics, contemporary artists, and other cultural agents with the aim of forging long-lasting intercultural and inter-epistemic alliances within, and beyond, the global arts scene. GIAN aims to provide increased visibility to Indigenous situated knowledges as a means for decolonizing current Western-hegemonic ways of belonging and looking at the world. Echoing Tuscarora scholar Jolene Rickard (2017), GIAN recognizes the urgent need to take into account Indigenous knowledges in global art, art history, and visual culture studies in order to exercise an effective intervention on modernity / coloniality and its framing of Indigenous cultures within a hegemonic metanarrative of the West.


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TRANSINDIGENEITY: Between Local Specificities and Global Complexities

Keynote Presenter: Ursula Biemann, Devenir universidad project

22 November 2023

Aula Jane Addams,

Universitat de Barcelona

Hybrid Event (in-person and online)

According to David Garneau (2020), Métis artist, curator, and critic, Indigenous art is an emerging category that extends and adapts First Nations Peoples’ ways of being and knowing to the contemporary moment and well beyond the sites of Indigenous territories of origin. Within this context, Indigenous peoples from around the world are increasingly seeking to establish connections in order to produce international networks and a collective consciousness. If, as jurist and Blackfoot First Nation elder Leroy Little Bear states, in Indigenous culture everything is under flux, then the concept of time is dynamic but without movement. This understanding of time evidences a complex form of relationality: visiting and revisiting, telling and re-telling, making and re-making, to the extent to which an Indigenous understanding of time makes it inseparable from bodies and places. In this regard, Chickasaw academic Chadwick Allen (2013) argues for a “trans-Indigenous” research programme within the field of Indigenous Studies that would allow for a site of enunciation embedded in the specificities of the local Indigenous while simultaneously grappling with the complexities of the global Indigenous. Following this spirit of establishing a simultaneous interplay between the synchronic, the diachronic, and the transdisciplinary by recognizing the mobility and multiple interactions of Indigenous peoples, cultures, histories, and texts, we invite artists, theoreticians, and researchers to participate in the Research Seminar “Transindigeneity: Between Local Specificities and Global Complexities”. Some of the key questions we aim to address are: What forms of local specificities inform and/or travel from local contexts to the global stage? How can Indigenous artistic production address this migration between the local and the global? What configurations do Indigenous ways of being and knowing come into play in the global art scene today? And what points of tension are evidenced through this displacement from local Indigenous realities to global points of contact between different indigeneities worldwide?

Photo credits: Theo Esthetu, Atlas Fractured, 2017

The increased visibility of the Indigenous in the framework of global contemporary art is marked by the recent inclusion in the "mega-exhibitions" (peripheral biennials or global salons, Documenta) of an increasingly bulky presence of artists from Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Canada and the Nordic countries in the search for a global discourse of "Indigeneity", a term that comes from the adjective "indigenous" and the abstract suffix "eity", which indicates quality. The emerging discourse of Indigeneity leads us to establish a distinction between the idea of Indigenous as related to identity, and the notion of Indigeneity understood as a discursive formation, as a relationship that not only includes Indigenous peoples but also those who self-identify as non-Indigenous. Within this framework, in this course we will present the works and contexts of a series of Indigenous artists present in four major exhibitions: the 2017 Kassel Documenta, the 2022 Kassel Documenta, the 2022 Venice Biennale, and the 2023 Sharjah Biennale (United Arab Emirates).



Instructor: Anna Maria Guasch


New dates to be confirmed

Free Online Course

(delivered in Spanish)

Andrea Noble (2004) has argued that canonical Visual Culture Studies have tended to present a progressive and innovative discourse in its approach to image and visual analysis. Yet, for her, Visual Studies’ understandings of the visual have found clear limits when it comes to addressing non-Western forms of visuality. Noble maintains that Visual Studies have invisibilized the Western-centredness of their theoretical framework and have erased the theories and practices of coloniality that conceptually anchor their foundational analytical categories. Similarly, Nicholas Mirzoeff (2011) has argued that, historically, Visual Studies emerged as a discourse mostly by the West for the West. In this regard, Noble and Mirzoeff champion a more critical, decolonial approach to Visual Studies that takes into account the orthodoxies on which this interdisciplinary field is based in order to better account for other, non-Western understandings of visuality.   Considering this problematics as a point of departure, this short course will analyse three specific categories central to Visual Studies that can be decolonially intervened. Firstly, the course will look at the concept of representation and consider its central importance to the theoretical framework of Visual Studies. Next, the course will analyse the image as a conceptual cornerstone for canonical theorisations of visuality. Thirdly, this course will approach the concept of visuality as a foundational epistemic regime of modern/colonial Western dominance. Finally, the fourth session will discuss the potentiality of a decolonial in/disciplinary Visual Studies that can make explicit the colonial anchorages of its theoretical framework and seek out new/other categories for a decolonial study of the visual.


DECOLONIZING VISUALITIES: Critical Concepts and Interventions in Visual Studies

Archivo Platform

Instructor: Nasheli Jiménez del Val

Dates TBC, November 2023

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