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CAFKA acknowledges that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Attawandaron (Neutral), Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples. The Region of Waterloo is situated on Block 2 of the Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations, which includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy, also known as the Six Nations of the Grand River, were granted this land to enjoy forever as part of the 1784 Haldimand Treaty with the British, after the Six Nations were dispossessed of their land in Upstate New York following the American Revolution. The Haldimand Tract was reduced to less than 5% of this original territory in the over 200 years since, primarily through the loss of land to encroaching settlers. The Haudenosaunee Great Law emphasizes collective responsibilities and rights, and with this the principle of the “Dish with One Spoon” – a treaty extended with the Anishinaabe and the British – which stipulated that the land was to be shared equally, collectively and with the utmost attention paid to peaceful relations and the conservation of lands for future generations. As an organization composed of individual artists, arts workers, and community members with diverse backgrounds and histories, it is always our responsibility to learn, acknowledge, respect and uphold the treaties made with Indigenous nations, and respect the right to land and life on unceded territories whose traditional caretakers continue to resist colonial violence today.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, CAFKA – Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area, is a non-profit, artist-run organization that presents a free biennial exhibition of contemporary art in the public spaces of the City of Kitchener and across the Region of Waterloo. CAFKA is a producer, advocate and educator for contemporary public, interactive and interventionist art practices. CAFKA commissions contemporary artists from Ontario, across Canada and abroad, to develop new temporary art projects that can respond to the specific features of the local urban landscape and culture. CAFKA's biennial includes approximately 25 installations, performances, projections and interventions involving collaborations with concurrent music and cultural festivals and Regional art institutions. Between biennial exhibitions CAFKA presents selected public projects, promotes art education through its public tours and workshops, videos, public lectures and other ancillary programs and events.
CAFKA's biennial serves as the vehicle for the expression of the community of artists, arts professionals, art students and friends of contemporary art in the public spaces of the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, Ontario. It is created to take the experience of contemporary art out of the gallery, to present it as a critical and integral part of community life, and to make that experience accessible to everyone in the Region. The exhibition is curated to engage public discourse around issues of public and private space, bringing groundbreaking artists from around the world to contribute to the discussion.