It will be two honourary degrees, not just one, in June for internationally acclaimed visual artist and lecturer Jane Ash Poitras.
She will receive an Honourary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) degree from the University of Alberta at Convocation Ceremonies on June 3rd, and an Honourary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree from the University of Calgary at Convocation Ceremonies on June 10th.
Prior to that—on May 23rd—she attended the opening of a major exhibition and sale of her art at the Bearclaw Gallery in Edmonton.
Jane`s art has been showcased in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world, and can be found in many prestigious public, private and corporate collections. Several major solo exhibitions of her work have toured across Canada, and her art has been purchased and featured by public institutions across Canada, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Alberta.
International exhibitions of her art and her lectures have taken her to Paris, Amsterdam and Mexico City, and to Seattle, Phoenix, Santa Fe, Washington, DC and other locations in the United States.
Jane is a graduate of the University of Alberta with degrees in microbiology and printmaking, and has a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Sculpture from New York City’s Columbia University. She was a long-time lecturer for the U of A Faculty of Native Studies and is a much-in-demand guest lecturer across North America and overseas.
Jane is a proud member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation in Fort Chipewyan. Orphaned at an early age, she was fostered by an elderly German woman, Marguerite Runck, and grew up in Edmonton.
Respected for her generous support of Aboriginal and community causes, her numerous honours include an Honorary Bachelor of Arts degree from Humber College in Toronto, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award, the Alberta Centennial Medal, the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Arts and Culture, the University of Alberta Alumni Award of Excellence and the City of Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame Salute to Excellence.
Jane has been featured in numerous video productions, exhibition catalogues, magazine articles and radio interviews. Her images have graced the covers of several books. University of Calgary Press has published a book on her career and art, “Cultural Memories and Imagined Futures: The Art of Jane Ash Poitras” by Pamela McCallum.
Jane’s journey of discovery and creation has opened new doors to enlightenment as she combines her many diverse interests in pursuit of her distinctive artistic vision. Over the years, Jane has pursued many different routes of discovery, each reflected in the art she has produced. Those journeys of exploration have taken her not only into plumbing her Aboriginal roots, but into such diverse topics as history, pharmacology, ethnobotany and linguistics.
The range and diversity of the interests that inspire and inform her artistic creations have resulted in a number of distinctive series of artworks that, over time, reflect the paths she has taken on her journey of discovery. A survey of those series over the 30 years of her professional career could well serve as a map of that journey and a graphic record of her evolution as an artist.
One of the key aspects of her art that sets it apart from the work of other artists is her ability to combine and reconcile disparate themes and elements to create fully resolved works that convey information on different levels.
Jane is represented in Edmonton by the Bearclaw Gallery, in Banff by Canada House Gallery, in Ottawa by Galerie d’Art Vincent, and in Toronto by Kinsman Robinson Galleries.