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  • Bangishimo: The Medicines We Carry
  • Bangishimo: The Medicines We Carry

Curated by Darryn Doull with Fitsum Areguy and Shalaka Jadhav

As we move forward and start seeing ourselves in the future, these medicines that we carry with us, they ground us, they connect us to our ancestry, our Indigeneity, no matter where we go, no matter where we are.

- Bangishimo, 2023

Portraits have long been used to reinforce dominant narratives, a practice deeply rooted in colonial legacies. Challenging portrait photography as merely a method to catalogue, study and lay claim to peoples and nature, Bangishimo—Kitchener's first Indigenous Artist-in-Residence—reframes their relationship to the medium. Across these intimate portraits of community members, Bangishimo weaves in connections to seven medicines: birchbark, cedar, sage, strawberries, sweetgrass, sunflowers, and tobacco. In using these medicines, Bangishimo explores ancestral connections to land and the need to reclaim time honoured teachings within a futurist vision. With the creative support from local artist Brittney Baldwin, Bangishimo and Baldwin were able to create a number of pieces centering the seven medicines, to be adorned by the subjects in this series. The Medicines We Carry disrupts colonial lineages, inscribing Black and Indigenous futurities into public memory, and emphasizing relationships to the land.

Bangishimo would like to acknowledge the City of Kitchener, Textile, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Region of Waterloo Arts Fund, Waterloo Region Community Foundation, 44 Gaukel, Fitsum Areguy, Shalaka Jadhav, Maddie Resmer, Britney Baldwin, Conan Stark, Erik O’Neill, Connie Roy, Lila Bruyere, Skye Smoke, Ann Marie Beals, Benny Skinner, Dani Atkins-Byard, Phi Doan.

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About the Artist

Bangishimo (They/Them) is an IndigiQueer Anishinaabe originally from Couchiching First Nation located on Treaty #3 territory. They currently reside in so-called Kitchener located along the Grand River. Bangishimo is a community organizer, educator, and advocate. They are one of the co-founders of O:se Kenhionhata:tie, also known as Land Back Camp. ​Their advocacy and photography has allowed them to visit over eighteen countries; taking photos and sharing the stories of those they meet along the way. Bangishimo's work has been featured in numerous publications and in art spaces across Canada. Most recently, Bangishimo won the Briarpatch Writing in the Margins Contest 2020, voted Best Photographer 2021/22 in the Community Edition, and recipient of the Waterloo Region Arts Award 2022. Bangishimo is the 2022/2023 Artist-in-Residence for the City of Kitchener.


About the Curators

Fitsum Areguy

Fitsum Areguy is a scholar-activist and writer based on the Haldimand Tract (Kitchener, ON). Drawing on learnings from years of organizing and advocacy, Fitsum's interdisciplinary artistic practice is animated by storytelling, place-making, and kinships that imagine otherwise worlds. Fitsum holds an Hons. BA from University of Waterloo in Recreation and Leisure Studies and an MA in Community Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University. His scholarship follows Black intellectual traditions that place emphasis on the making and remaking of “the human." Fitsum is interested in bio-necropolitics, informal caregiving, and resistance/activism, especially among youth. His writing can be found in Red Noise Collective, Briarpatch Magazine, Canadian Dimension, New Sociology, and Korea Exposé, among others. Fitsum is the co-founder and Project Director of Textile, and sits on the board of directors for Multicultural Theatre Space and The AIDS Committee Of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo & Area. In his free time, he enjoys playing pick-up ball with strangers, listening to dance music, and snacking on shawarma poutine.

Shalaka Jadhav

Shalaka Jadhav spent their childhood between cities in India and in Dubai, before moving to a neighbourhood spitting distance from Ontario’s largest mall. They now join from Block 2 of the Haldimand Tract, splitting their time on Treaty 1 territory.  Trained as an urban planner and practicing as a curator, Shalaka has worked across multiple roles, including audio journalism, in social innovation spaces, in urban planning departments, on rooftop gardens, and on farms.  Across their work, they strive to apply an ecosystem approach of thinking, dreaming, and sustaining. Shalaka is an Emerging Curator as part of the inaugural University of Manitoba School of Art Gallery Visiting Curator Program, a member of the Relationships, Reciprocity, Exchange Collective at OCAD University, and an editor with Textile, based in Waterloo Region.  They’ll likely point out the names of “weeds” as you walk together, enjoy studying the menus of local restaurants, and always order dessert.

Related Programs

Opening Celebration 
Friday, 9 February 
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. (Members - guided tour at 6:30) Please RSVP to Cera Frederiksen at 
7:00 - 10:00 p.m. (All)

Artist Talk with Bangishimo 
Thursday, 22 February, 7:00 p.m.

About the City of Kitchener Artist-in-Residence Program

This program celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2020. When it first launched, the AiR program was one of the first of its kind for a municipality in Canada. The program advocates for and supports artistic innovation and excellence in various disciplines of contemporary art. Through the program, the City of Kitchener aims to facilitate and develop meaningful relationships between the community and the artist. Artists may take non-traditional routes to develop their careers, and as such, the city wants to support local artists with diverse cultural backgrounds, lived experiences and practices. You can learn more about the program and past participating artists here.

Thank you to our free admission sponsor

Event Sponsors


(1) Bangishimo, Charmed by the Forest Hag, 2023. Digital photograph. Modelling by Brittney Baldwin, hair by Connie Roy, makeup by Maddie Resmer, costume and props by Brittney Baldwin and Bangishimo, lighting by Conan Stark. Made possible by the Artist-in-Residence program at the City of Kitchener, 2023. Courtesy and © of Bangishimo.

(2) Bangishimo bio photo courtesy of the Artist, by Conan Stark. 

(3) Courtesy of Fitsum Areguy.

(4) Courtesy of Shalaka Jadhav.