These are contemporary storytellers, irreverent as they are respectful of ancestral lore, and their artwork reflects this complex duality. There are over 600 First Nations in this country, a cultural wealth of immeasurable proportions, catching but a glimpse of it is as much a visual journey, as it is an artistic experience. Twenty-six artists are participating in this exciting event, which wraps up on June 22nd. They include Nadia Myre, shortlisted for this year’s Sobey Award. It is taking place in two venues, the Stewart Hall art gallery in Pointe-Claire, and Galerie Art Mûr in Montreal. A shuttle fleets between the two.
The diversity on display in both galleries is difficult to describe, and involves not just the originality of vision, but also a plethora of mediums. From taxidermy to video, the artists in this mega-exhibition have taken upon themselves the daunting task of re-creating the past, while all the while testing the boundaries of contemporary expression. Driven by loss as much as hope, these Native artists are staunchly, irreversibly charting their own creative path, and it is, indeed, compelling to observe the process.
The exhibition is curated by Mike Patten, who writes in the accompanying catalogue: «For the second edition of the Contemporary Native Art Biennial I chose to invite contemporary native artists – many of whom are also teachers on the post-secondary educational systems – to share stories that are brutally contemporary and incredibly relevant to current times.»
May 3 until June 22, 2014
Stewart Hall Art Gallery
176, ch. du bord-du-lac-Lakeshore,
Tel.: 514 630-1254
5826, rue St-Hubert
Tel.: 514 933-0711
Beyond Redemption, 2010
Taxidermied bison, bison robes, black crosses
Tanis Maria S’eiltin
Territorial Trappings, 2012
Plastic, acrylic paint & stencil, black environmental felt, badger trap #4, lynx pelt, yellow neon light – "Trade" (spelled backwards), Whale Baleen, chains, octopus hooks, nylon twin
REDress Project, 2010-ongoing
Photo credit : Alexandre Sasha Sergejewski