Investing in creativity and new beginnings

Two women face each other, holding sticks. A tree is in the background.
Nigamon/Tunai © Helena Valles
A group of people with ribbons and wreaths of flowersare photographed from below.
ODE © Julie Artacho

Is there such a thing as a true beginning? Whether we’re talking about the start of a year, a new creation, or – in my case – a job, the word beginning can feel not quite right. For example, does creation begin with the spark of an idea, the first time you describe a concept to someone else, or – and I’m kind of joking here – with the submission of the project’s first grant application? And in any case, how do we begin when our feet are sinking deep in everything that has been?

Personally, I am drawn to the idea of beginning again – the capacity we each have to start over, to reimagine, to defamiliarize – and an understanding of beginnings as future-facing markers that hold both past and present. And so, hello again! I’m Sarah Conn, former interim and now for real Artistic Producer of the Creation Fund. I love this work, our team, and the artists we support, and I’m honoured to have the chance to begin again in this role with you. And if you'd like to join our team, we're looking for a new Artistic Associate! The job posting closes on February 25th, and all the information is here.

As I settle in, I’m reflecting on the Fund’s mission: to meaningfully invest in creation and to support Canadian artists in realizing beautifully bold artistic dreams. While investing has financial implications – and that’s certainly a large part of what we do – I’m drawn to look at the act of investing more holistically and imaginatively. Artist and cultural strategist Marc Bamuthi Joseph recently spoke about the need to presently invest in a culturally transformative future. What investments do we need to make now – whether at the Fund, or as artists, audiences, donors, cultural workers, or just generally as human beings – to lay groundwork for a better future? I’m interested in investing as a collective practice and as a means of building an intergenerational ecosystem of creative dreamers, risk-takers, and alchemists. To that end, I’m planning a year of deeper partnerships and relationships; invitations for gathering, sharing, and celebrating; and experiments in sustaining risk in creation. And of course – investments with artists! Each Fund investment incubates both great artistic work and new models of creation and community, a series of beginnings and new futures. We hope you will join us on this adventure and encourage others to join as well. Let’s begin again and again together!

To kick things off, we’re so excited to announce our latest investments: Productions ONISHKA’s Nigamon/Tunai and Catherine Gaudet’s ODE.


Nigamon/Tunai is a new creation resulting from 12 years of friendship and solidarity between creators Émilie Monnet and Waira Nina. This poetic manifesto links resistance against the extraction of Northern and Southern Indigenous people and resources, notably copper, and builds exchanges between Indigenous communities in Canada and the Columbian Amazon.

Émilie Monnet: “We began with the initial research question: How do you be a good ally, particularly in the context of a relationship between a privileged Indigenous person from the North, living in the land known as Canada, and an Indigenous person from the South whose country has been devasted by Canadian mining and oil companies?”

Waira Nina: “Creation supports the transmission of our cultures, our values, the soundscapes of our communities – all these treasures that we must take care of, that we must protect. [Nigamon/Tunai] preserves the memories of turtles, forests, bodies. Memories that we house within us, and that we share.”

Émilie Monnet: “We explore how the songs and mythologies of different Indigenous communities speak to each other, respond to each other, in a fascinating sonic resonance between territories, how voices can resonate even when women are silenced by violence, colonization, war.” 

Catherine Gaudet

Catherine Gaudet’s ODE, produced by CCOV, started as a comedy horror musical and remains hard to classify as it sways between sacrificial rite and pop-rock spectacle. Its language gradually accumulates complexity through repetition to produce a hallucinatory, almost psychedelic effect.

“With ODE, I want to use an obsessive rhythm of steps and song to create a space that’s radically naive and transcendent. This aesthetic seeks to draw the audiences in, to make them resonate in sync with the performers, like at a rock concert. We aim to offer something that’s almost too bright, relentlessly building tension until it finally breaks.”
– Catherine Gaudet 

Both creative teams are deep in creation: Catherine, composer Antoine Berthiaume and the creative team are preparing for their final residencies and rehearsals. Émilie and Waira are conducting sound and writing residencies, travelling to Columbia to document a turtle ceremony, and doing research interviews. We’re cheering them on and can’t wait to celebrate at their premieres in Montréal in May 2024! We hope you’ll join us!  

Have a great month of new beginnings!

For a full list of upcoming shows supported by the Fund, visit our Season page.

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