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Anamnesis: Joseph M. Sánchez & Janice Tanton

To add additional context Jim Logan’s monumental body of work Requiem for Our Children, I am honoured that Joseph Sanchez & Janice Iniskim-Aki Tanton took up the challenge and were willing to add their voices to the conversation, providing an alternative pictorial view to the Canada 150 celebrations. Please join us on Saturday July 22nd as they will be in attendance to talk about their work and the rise of the Indigenous voice and artin Canada and around the world.

Joseph M. Sánchez is an American artist from Trinidad, Colorado, by way of the White Mountain Apache Reservation and Taos Pueblo. A leader in Indigenous and Chicano arts since the 1970s, Joseph has worked with hundreds of artists creating work, developing exhibitions, and advocating for the rights of minority artists, most importantly with the Professional Native Indian Artists (Native Group of Seven). A spiritual surrealist, Joseph's work is sensual and dreamlike, provocative and thought-inducing. Still producing work, and exhibiting across the United States and Canada, Joseph M Sánchez is simultaneously a community elder, and an instigator at the front lines of the battle for the creation of art and how we define it as a culture.

Born in Trinidad, Colorado to Pueblo, Spanish, and German parents, Joseph Marcus Sánchez was raised in Whiteriver, Arizona on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. In 1966, he graduated from Alchesay High School in Whiteriver, with the intent to join the priesthood. This was not the right fit, and he returned home to the White Mountains. Sadly, his mother became ill and died unexpectedly. Soon after, in 1968 he joined the United States Marine Corps and was stationed at the El Toro UCMC Base in California, where he trained soldiers drafted for the Vietnam War.

In 1970, He travelled to Canada, where he met Ann Nadine Krajeck, a young photographer. They were married and settled in Richer, Manitoba, eventually purchasing a 20-acre farm in Giroux, Manitoba. In February 1975, Sanchez returned to the United States under President Gerald Ford's amnesty program. Ann stayed in Canada, and Joseph traveled back and forth until she joined him.

In 1978 Joseph M. Sanchez began work at the worked at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts as a security guard, becoming a gallery assistant until 1982. Soon Sánchez was recruited by the Phoenix Art Museum as a preparator, where he remained from 1982-1984.

In 1983 Sánchez began his own business, ARTS, catering to museums, galleries, institutions, collectors, and artists in the Phoenix, Area in all manner of art preparation, crating, transportation, and curation, which he maintained until 1988. It was through this that he met one of his mentors, Phillip C. Curtis for whom Sánchez served as an artist assistant from 1979-1999. It was also during this time that he also returned to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts as a contract exhibition designer and curator. His curatorial success during this time was "First Contact...the search," a provocative and successful exhibition about UFOs and the paranormal. “First Contact…” was Sánchez’s first major exhibition as a curator, and more than 10,000 people attended the show. The exhibition showcased the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull, NASA Astronauts, Travis Walton, and Native American mythology concerning UFOs.

In 1989, Sánchez began working for the Riva Yares Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona full time, though he had been their registrar beginning in 1977. He worked in Scottsdale, and facilitated the opening of the Riva Yares Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, now known as the Yares Project, until 1996.In 1996 he became Director for the Laynor Foundation Museum.

In 2001 Sánchez began volunteering for the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and he soon became their Exhibition Coordinator. Later, Sánchez was named the Chief Curator at the IAIA Museum, now known as the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, and was acting Director until his retirement in 2010. It was during his tenure at the IAIA that Sánchez developed several exhibitions relating to the communication of Native Artists across the continent, including “Relations: Indigenous Dialogue.” He also curated the Bob Haozous retrospective, “Indigenous Dialogue,” and “Fritz Scholder: An Intimate Look.”

In 2008, Sánchez was named the United States curator for the SITE Santa Fe Biennial, "Lucky Number 7," including an essay in the published catalogue. In 2011, Sánchez was curator for "Native American Art at Dartmouth from the Collection of the Hood Museum," at Dartmouth University, including an essay in their book on Native American art coinciding with the show.

Joseph M. Sánchez’s essays lectures, performances, workshops, artworks, and curated exhibitions, continue to make an impact, and have been referenced in numerous publications. Since retirement, Sánchez has continued to curate, lecture, and educate, but primarily works in the studio full time, and continues to exhibit in galleries and museums internationally.

Janice Iniskim-Aki Tanton is an interdisciplinary artist, with a focus on painting. Awarded as an Alumna of Distinction (Creative Arts & Design) from Durham College, she also studied at the University of Windsor BFA (Acting), Janice continued her interest in the arts, working professionally in theatre, film, music, vocal performance and graphic design, culminating in the launch of her own art, publishing and design company in 1989.

She quickly developed a wide network for her art throughout North America, securing major corporate accounts and licensing opportunities while operating two commercial galleries and a design/fine art studio. Her entrepreneurial success led to an invitation as a delegate to the first Businesswomen’s Summit between Canada and the U.S. as well as a nomination for the Rotman Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the young age of 31. Janice’s work resides in numerous corporate and private collections across the globe.

In 2005, Janice moved with her family to Treaty 7 Territory in Canmore, Alberta where she accepted a position to serve as Program Manager for Aboriginal Leadership at The Banff Centre. Setting aside a successful art career to devote time to her young family and her new role, Janice discovered artistic inspiration and support through close relationships with faculty and participants from Aboriginal communities from across Canada and Australia. She is greatly honoured to have been adopted as the daughter of Elder Tom Crane Bear of the Siksika Nation (NAAF Culture and Spirituality Award Recipient), initiated into the pow wow dance circle, is a tipi owner, has been given the Blackfoot name Iniskim-Aki (Buffalo Stone Woman).

Curious as to how to reconcile the wide spectrum of diversity within her communities and families, Janice began to work in a new vein of artistic exploration. Focusing upon these cross-cultural relationships through painting, film and a melding of performance arts practices, she launched the Community Fusion Project with the support of a grant award from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2011, she again received an award from the Canada Council for the Arts for CAMP, an extension of her work in this area. She continues to work with the members of the Indigenous Deep Listening Project in Australia where she has exhibited at the Koorie Heritage Trust.

Janice retired from her role in Aboriginal Leadership at The Banff Centre at the end of 2010 to devote her time solely to her art studio and project work. She continues her strong relationships with aboriginal communities and leaders across Canada with the focus of her work centred upon artfully discovering the colourful contemporary threads of commonality woven within the remarkable diversity of our species.

Janice’s artistic practice breaks new ground by exploring the intersection of collaborative cross-cultural artistic practices designed to strengthen and encourage a more dynamic conversation and deeper cultural understanding.