Toronto: Luminato cancels “Um of Water” and admits errors

Monday, June 13, 2022

Museum of Water began in the UK as a collection of public offerings of personal connections to water, intended to deepen our relationships with water. A purpose-formed Indigenous artist collective reimagined this project as Museum of Water, with the intention of presenting a number of live and online events – artworks, conversations, experiences, and more – as part of Luminato 2022, following a long development process.

One of our hopes was that the project would result in deepened relationships between Luminato and the Um of Water collective, and the artists who were brought into the project.

However, we made many mistakes in the process. We did not provide the resources, support, respect, and regard for community practices required to complete and present Um of Water at the level it deserves. As a result, we decided that we won’t present Um of Water at this year’s festival, and we are deeply sorry for this outcome.

Luminato has internalized colonial systems and perspectives and has engaged with Indigenous artists in ways that negatively affect some members of the Indigenous arts community.

We acknowledge the Um of Water Indigenous artist collective’s advice, their ideas and their connections to artists within this project and others, and we thank them for their generosity.

We want to learn from this experience. We need to do better. We are taking concrete steps to understand this project’s breakdown, and we commit to:

 • hiring an Indigenous advisor(s), to examine our unconscious and conscious biases, and our ways of communicating; and to develop our understanding of ceremonial and community practices and protocols

 • reviewing and improving our project management and production resourcing and the implications of our current structure on our ability to properly care for Indigenous artists

We are committed to transparency and will continue to share our actions with the community.

The Um of Water Collective, comprised of Indigenous and Co-conspirator members, wishes to be anonymous at this time.

The Um of Water  was supported through Luminato’s commissioning program.

Please consider donating to the Keepers of Water to help keep our waters clean and safe: www.keepersofthewater.ca.

Visit Luminato at luminatofestival.com.