Artist: Kevin McKenzie
Dates: April 5, 2013 to May 11, 2013
Opening Reception: 8pm, Artist Talk at 9pm on Friday, April 5, 2013
Location: Urban Shaman’s Main Gallery
Artist Statement: This project was inspired by an object I found by chance, in the Exchange district of Winnipeg: a set of salt and pepper shakers at an antique shop. The figurines, from the 1950s, depict two highly-stylized Native American children. I immediately felt these romanticized characters would make an interesting retro photo piece, creating a genesis for my new exhibition. Abo-Retro examines the commodification of a culture. From the 1940s to the 1960s popular culture embraced Native America, this body of work extracts examples from this time period, and presents this material as a metaphor for our current political state of unrest.
Biography: Kevin McKenzie, a member of the Cree and Métis nations, was born in Regina, Saskatchewan. After attending college in the 1980s, McKenzie moved to Vancouver involving himself in the local Vancouver art scene in through numerous group and solo exhibitions, independent curating, and working with various organizations including Redwire magazine, Roundhouse Community Centre, Native Education Centre, grunt gallery, among others. Though he continues to produce a hybrid of contemporary art, fusing the traditional with the industrial, he recently moved his art practice to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he has also taken on the position of gallery preparator at Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery.
McKenzie’s multi-disciplinary arts practice includes solo and group exhibitions that have appeared locally, nationally and internationally. His practice includes: visual arts, photography and performance art—all of which are influenced and inspired by his traditional First Nations background and the ever-changing urban landscape. McKenzie has been the artist in residence at the Indian Art Centre in Ottawa and the Banff Centre for the Arts. His work is represented in the collections of the National Indian Art Centre, the MacKenzie Art Gallery and most recently the National Gallery of Canada’s permanent collection.