Ursula Johnson has exhibited work nationally and internationally since graduating from NSCAD in 2006. A major focus of her practice is based in performance and installation. Johnson describes her work as “changing mediums based on who I am talking to and what conversation I am trying to have”. Much of her work employs cooperative didactic intervention and is place-based while incorporating various mediums often collaborating with others.
Ursula has also been collaborating with her wife, Angella Parsons, under the collaborative duo KINUK. Johnson and Parsons have created works that explore notions of public verses private within the scope of the interpersonal nature of their relationship and cultural difference and sameness.
Johnson has been shortlisted for the Salt Spring National Art Prize (2015) and the Nova Scotia Masterworks Award (2016). She was a recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation Reveal Indigenous Art Award (2016) and winner of the 2017 Sobey Art Award.
What excites you most as an artist?
New opportunities to collaborate.
What do you believe is the artist’s role in society?
To try to create a space to encourage dialogue that can contribute to social change
What is your favourite element of your nominated work?
The programmed operatic lighting design that simulates daybreak to dusk in a 40minute cycle
Has your nominated work changed your creative practice? If so, in what way(s)?
I have become more aware of the architecture of spaces in which my sculptural and performative work exists in. This work helped me to create a better understanding of how my work can work with or against the work of the designers, architects, etc . This work has lead me to explore with more depth the dialogue between my work and the spaces they occupy/engage with/in.