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Summer 2010 Cover
David Garneau "British Flag Flower" oil on canvas, 2008 , 60" x 48"
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"Indian Act page 55 of 56"
Nadia Myre, "Indian Act page 55 of 56," cloth, beads, paper, tape, 2000-2003. PHOTO: Collection of the MacKenzie Art Gallery.
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"The Skins of Our Fathers II"
Mary Anne Barkhouse, "The Skins of Our Fathers II," silk, cotton, Duo Matrix Neo, paint, velvet, beech, 2007. PHOTO: Photograph: Michael Cullen, McLaughlin Gallery.
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David Garneau, "Metis Flag/Flower," oil on canvas, 2005. PHOTO: Collection of the MacKenzie Art Gallery.
INSIDE THE COLLECTION: CONTEMPORARY ABORIGINAL ART AT THE MACKENZIE GALLERY
An exhibition featuring David Garneau, Robert Houle, Ruth Cuthand, Nadia Myre, and Mary Anne Barkhouse.
BY: Patricia Dawn Robertson
At the heart of The MacKenzie Art Gallery’s summer show, To Be Reckoned With..., is a version of the Indian Act. Montreal artist Nadia Myre enlisted the help of more than 200 collaborators to bead-over the Indian Act in a gesture of reclamation.
Six pages from her monumental 56-page work,Indian Act (2002-2003), will be included in the show. For Myre, the Act symbolizes the “grim realities of colonization, the effects of contact and its often-broken and untranslated contracts.” In this work, a copy of The Indian Act is mounted on stroud cloth and sewn over with red and white glass beads.
For curator Michelle LaVallee, the work fits well within the boundaries of this show — contemporary Aboriginal work from the Gallery’s collections, both new acquisitions and older works. “We have a substantial collection of Indigenous work at the MacKenzie - although there is still work to be done,” she says.
LaVallee has pulled together some heavy-hitters from the permanent collection to accomplish her aim: Ruth Cuthand, David Garneau, Robert Houle, Nadia Myre and Mary Anne Barkhouse.
The show explores a number of themes: desire, identity, race, reclamation, colonization and the environment. Whether it’s through subversive satire, or a direct statement, the works collected inTo Be Reckoned With... combine to carve out a clear message about Canadian society: our shared history needs to be re-examined so we can redress the imbalances born out of colonization.
In a similar vein to Myre’s work, Ruth Cuthand’sTrading (2008-2009) series employs the traditional craft of beadwork to examine post-contact diseases in a contemporary context. Saulteaux artist Robert Houle’s contribution to the show, Palisade I (1999), portrays the negative impact of colonization and the malicious spread of viruses.
Regina artist and curator David Garneau’s Flag/Flower series (series), includingMetis Flag/Flower, examines the complex question of identity. Garneau maps his Metis heritage with acrylic on canvas paintings inspired by the Carlton Trail traversed by the artist and his ancestors.
Mary Anne Barkhouse’s The Skins of Our Fathers II addresses the state of our fragile ecosystem. The Ontario College of Art grad brings nature back to the living room with her satirical Louis XIV recreations featuring animals poised on sofas. This piece is originates from her solo exhibition, Boreal Baroque.
To Be Reckoned With... is on at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina May 15 to August 22, 2010.