Posts Tagged ‘First Nations’

Three Sisters – both literal and allegorical. Three women, each with a vegetable, and these three vegetables, corn, squash, and beans, are the three sisters of indigenous agriculture. These were the main crops of most North American native groups and they were usually planted together; together they thrived for thousands of years.

large mural by street artists tikay and aner on Dundas West, 3 indigenous women in traditional clothes with symbols, corn, squash, medicine wheel, flowers,

This is one of two murals by Paula Tikay and Aner Urra (aka tikay & aner) in the Dundas West area.   They are two indigenous Mapuche artists from Chile who were invited to come to Toronto to paint the murals.

close up of woman with long black braided hair, standing in the midst of a squash plant, with yellow flower, a squash, and many leaves, in mural

close up of two women in mural with cobs of corn and alarge green bean growing on a bean plant, lots of leaves

looking down a short narrow alley with a large colourful mural on the left side, blue background with leaves and vines in the foreground

a window in a brick wall, Raptors flag inside but shows backwards outside, mural painted around the window in blues with green leaves and vines

The project was organized by Rodrigo Ardiles (of the Dundas West Museum).  This neighbourhood was chosen because of its ties to the many immigrants from Chile who have found a home here as early as the 1970s.   Children from the nearby Alexander Muir / Gladstone Avenue Junior and Senior Public School and The Grove Community School had some input on the mural.    Also involved was StartARToronto.

Two Canadian First Nations women, Jane Ash Poitras and Rebecca Belmore,  have their art on display at the moment.  Both women are concerned about the effects of history on their culture and heritage.  Both mix politics into their art.   How do you rise out of oppression while preserving your heritage?  What are the issues surrounding acculturation and do you deal with them?   But as you can see, they approach their art in very different ways.

At the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are four paintings by Jane Ash Poitras (b. Fort Chipeywan Alberta 1951).   Poitras is Cree.  She was orphaned at the age of 6 and raised by a Catholic German woman in Edmonton.  Before turning to art, she earned a BSc in microbiology.

below: ‘Buffalo Seed’, mixed media, 2004.  Old black and white photos are used in this collage along with sunflower petals and fabulous colours of oil paint.

colourful collage and painting by Jane Ash Poitras. Uses old black and white photos

below: “Potato Peeling 101 to Ethnobotany 101”,  Placed side by side, these two large works serve to contrast traditional indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants with the teachings imposed on indigenous youth by the residential school system.

2 large assemblages, collages, by Jane Ash Poitras, called Potato Peeling 101 to Ethnobotany 101, on display at the Royal Ontario Museum

below: There is a lot of detail in the two boards that get lost in a photo like the one above so here is a closer look at some of the photos in the collage above

collection of old black and white photos of First Nations kids in schools

text of a quote by Rebecca Belmore that says "for decades I have been working amongst my people, calling to the past, witnessing the present, standing forward, facing the monumental

 

“Facing the Monumental” is the title of the Rebecca Belmore exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  It covers three decades of her work and includes photographs, sculptures, and videos of her performance art.   Her art is more conceptual.

Belmore is an Anishinaabe woman from the Lac Seul First Nation.  She spent her childhood in northwestern Ontario with her maternal grandparents where she spoke Ojibwa.  For high school, she boarded with a white family in Thunder Bay.  Many First Nations communities are too small to support a high school so students are sent to live elsewhere while they complete their education.  It is a system with many problems.  It’s probably fair to say that the whole “system” is problematic.

below: ‘Sister’ 2001.  An ambiguous image – why does the woman have her arms stretched out?  What is happening here?

Sisters, art by Rebecca Belmore at the AGO from 2001

below: “Tower”, 2018.  A condo tower of shopping carts around a clay core – the carts symbolize the homeless.

art by Rebecca Belmore at the AGO

below: “Mixed Blessing”, 2011.  Two cultures.  Blending?  Fighting each other?  Hiding in embarrassment?

art by Rebecca Belmore at the AGO

below: And last, “Fringe” 2007.  Like two of the three artworks above, Belmore uses the body to address violence against First Nations people, especially women.   The image draws you in and repels you at the same time.   You don’t want it to be real but there is the possibility that it is.   If it makes you feel better, the diagonal scar is created using make-up and what looks like blood are strings of beads.

fringe, by Rebecca Belmore, a photo of a woman's back as she's lying down, scar and beads

Jane Ash Poitras is at the ROM until April 2020.

Rebecca Belmore is the AGO until 21 October 2018.

 Planet IndigenUS is a ten day festival co-produced by the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford. It features 300 artists with dance and music performances as well as visual art exhibits at a number of venues.  One of the venues is the gallery at Harbourfront Centre where a number of artists of Anishnabe heritage are showing their work.  Two of the artists are Christian Chapman and Scott Benesiinaabandan, and a sample of their work is presented here.

 

 Screenprints by Christian Chapman

print of an evergreen forest, a text in Ashishnabe language on top of the trees, hanging on a gallery wall gaawiin wiikaa ji gwerina-ka-nawich
miskwadessi opixwanak misa oi kitimagia
miskwadessi wag dash awessiwag
ji manaadji-a-ka-ni-watch

 never turn a turtle on its back so that it is helpless
turtles and all other animals are to be accorded respect

 

print of asky with clouds in red and orange tones, a text in Ashishnabe language on top of the trees, hanging on a gallery wall gaawiin wiikaa zaagi-dandaweken
wassetchiganatikong wayti-endaian
ai anike dibadjimowin eta ga nibodwach
sa gitinacasowug

never climb out a window in your house,
traditionally, only dead people are brought out like that

***

below: ‘God Save the Queen’ by Scott Benesiinaabandan
a series of photos in which the queen is partially covered by the artist’s Solidarity Flag

In an art gallery, a series of three large photographs of a statue of Queen Victoria.  THe first picture is just the statue, the middle picture is a man starting to put a  flag over the bottom part of the statue and the third picture is the flag on the statue.  Flag is solidarity flag created by Scott Benesiinaabandan, black and blue background, red circle in the middle, yellow sun in the red circle

 

Medecine Wheel is painted on the north side of the June Callwood Center for Women, Parliament Street.

It faces a vacant lot that is surrounded on the three other sides by chain link fence.
Locked gate.  No entry.

large mural on the side of a building, green weeds growing in front of it, a large man's face is the ceter piece of the mural.

large mural on the side of a building, green weeds growing in front of it, a large man's face is the ceter piece of the mural.

sign painted on a mural with its title "medecine wheel' and the names of the people involved in the painting of the mural

UPDATED: Construction here has finished and the hoardings have been removed.  These murals no longer exist.

A couple of years ago, the city started a project to replace the water mains that run under Gerrard Street. As part of that project, a section of Allan Gardens was dug up to provide access to the underground mains.   The site was barricaded by wood hoardings.  These hoardings have since been covered by a large mural titled  ‘Nindinawemaaganidok / All My Relations’.  Twenty one artists contributed to the painting of the mural.

The north side of the wall:

part of a First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens seen from back a bit, tees, construction equipment and a couple of people are also in the picture

Four themes appear in this mural,  Community, Water, Anishnawbe Teachings and History of the Land.  Animals such as buffalo, deer, wolves, turtles, and beaver are common motifs.

part of First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens a deer with antlers stands by a pine tree.

part of a First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens - animals, beaver, turtle, eagle, bird,

part of a First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens - the sun shones on a person lying on the ground.

The east side of the wall:

part of a First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens, pine tree on a rock by a lake, under a full moon lit night sky

below: Sky Woman

part of a First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens, blue woman's face, she is loking at the viewer, her long hair blowing in the breeze, rocks below her

part of a First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens a leafless tree and a couple of smaller pines by a lake

part of First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens, a eagle in flight and a man.  construction equipment can be seen bei=hind

South side (along Gerrard Street):

part of First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens, a young man's breath is stylized as blue ribbons streaming from his mouth

part of a First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens - a woman surrounded by circles (bubbles?) as she sits on the ground.

West side:

First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens

part of a First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens - a row of 6 men's heads seen in profile, all looking to the right, their long hair blowing away from their faces.

part of an Anishnawbe First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens - a stylized eagle in bright colours in flight.

part of an Anishnawbe First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens - a couple walking hand in hand beside a circle divided into quarters, one is black and one is red and a head comes out of each quadrant.

part of an Anishnawbe First Nations story/legend themed mural painted on wood construction hoardings in Allan Gardens
If construction goes according to plan, the hoardings should come down by the end of May 2015.  As to whether or not this deadline will be met is anyone’s guess.

The artists: Tannis Nielsen, Phil Cote, Natasha Naveau, Rosary Spence, Gwen Lane, Angela Malley, Judy Rheume, Gary M. Johnston, Amanda Murray, Rebecca Baird, Cotee Harper, Graham Curry, Briana Stone, Lyndsey Lickers-Nyle Johnston, Isaac Weber, Honey Smith, Shelby Rain McDonald, Paula Gonzalez-Ossa, Kalmplex, Adrion Corey Charles, Ron Razor and Steven Henderson.

Link to more information (as well as a video) about this project