Mamawo Payiwak: They Gather Together in One Place

2016-01-18 to 2016-05-27
Curator: Michelle McGeough

When the Newcomers came to what is now called Canada, what they noticed were the esteemed positions and power held by the women in Aboriginal communities. The power of these women was not to be underestimated. They were decision makers, power brokers, medicine people, educators, and in many instances considered as equal partners. Among Aboriginal Nations, there are many stories about these women. However, their feats were seldom recorded by the Newcomers.

The most devastating effect of colonization has been the marginalization of Aboriginal women. This exhibition is a testament to the power and strength of women in our communities. Showcasing the artwork of these Aboriginal artists who depict the importance of women in our lives, provides an opportunity to make visible the personal stories and the important roles women have and continue to play in our communities. Some of the artwork speaks to the effects of colonization in our daily lives, while in other instances we are reminded of the positions we held in our societies. The artists themselves contribute to continuing this legacy through their ongoing involvement in their communities. These women are not only artists; they are educators, mothers, daughters, lawyers, nieces, grandmothers, activists, cousins, academics, aunties and healers. They, like the women they depict in their artwork, are role models to the next generation of Aboriginal women.

Artists

Daphne Odjig


Odawa Potawatomi

Daphne Odjig is referred to as the founding mother of the Woodland School of painting. In the 1970’s Odjig opened the first native owned art gallery in Canada. It was in her gallery that Odjig and other Aboriginal artists such as Norval Morrisseau and Alex Janvier, would meet and eventually form the Professional Native Indian Artist (PNIA) Inc. The organization was established to promote Aboriginal artists and their work as contemporary art. Their efforts help shape and form a foundation for contemporary Aboriginal Artists, Curators and Art Historians. Odjig has received two honorary degrees. She is a member of the Order of Canada, and recipient of the Canada Silver Jubilee Medal. She is also a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. In 2008 a major retrospective of her work entitled Drawings and Paintings of "Daphne Odjig: A Retrospective" toured both Canada and the United States.

A Comparing of Experiences
1982
acrylic on canvas

Acquisition:
Regional Juried Art Acquisition 1983-1984

Freda Diesing 1925-2002

 

Haida

Freda Diesing studied painting at the Vancouver School Art. At the age of 42 she began a wood carving apprenticeship, studying under Tony Hunt, Robert Davidson and Bill Holm. She is credited as being the first Haida woman to become a pole carver. Her work predominately portrays female forms and figures. As an instructor of the famous Kitanmax School of Art, and through workshops in both Alaska and British Columbia, Diesing influenced a new generation of Aboriginal artists. She also served as the Director of the Indian Arts and Crafts Society of B.C. In 2002 she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Northern British Columbia. Diesing’s contributions to the Aboriginal art community were recognized with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award. In 2006, the art school at the Northwest Community College in Terrace, British Columbia, was named "The Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art" in her honor.

Woman Mask
1971
mixed media on wood

Acquisition:
Unknown

Glenna Matoush

 

Anishnaabe

Glenna Matoush’s artwork has been described as being a "part of the tradition where creative activity cannot be separated from lifestyle." Many of her early paintings and etching were of members from the Cree community of Lake Mistassini, where she lived. Etching and paintings from this period of her work capture the daily activities of the people from this Northern Quebec community. Matoush’s more recent paintings address the social and political realities of Aboriginal people, including environmental issues, AIDs and the recovery of indigenous languages and cultures.

Evadney Lacing Snowshoes
1980 20/50
etching on paper

Acquisition:
Exhibition Acquisition 1981 1982: "Art Amerindian '81"

Lauren I. Wuttunee

 

Plains Cree

Lauren Wuttunee combines careers in law and the fine arts. After having received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary in 1980, three years later she received a Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia. In 1989, Wuttunee returned to school to obtain a Master of Arts from Instituto Allende, San Miquel de Aliende, Mexico. Along with her art practice, for which she has received numerous awards, Wuttunee continues practice law as a Crown Prosecutor.

Visionary Past
1988
mixed media on paper

Acquisition:
Alberta Indian Arts & Crafts Society 1992-1993

Lee Claremont

 

Mohawk

Lee Claremont received her BFA with Honors from the University of British Columbia. Claremont has taught at the International Aboriginal College, En’Owkin, in Penticton B.C. She has served at the national level as an advisor on the development of curriculum and teaching guide to help artists develop their professional art practice. She has also served as a juror and advisor on numerous community committees.

Skywoman's Heart Belongs to Turtle
2003
acrylic on canvas

Acquisition:
National Juried Art Acquisition 2005-2006

Jurors:

Mireille Sioui
Huron-Wendat | Hurons de Lorette, QC

Lee-Ann Martin
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, ON

Frederick R. McDonald
Woodland Cree | Fort McKay First Nation, AB

Marianne Nicolson

 

Kwakwaka’wakw

Marianne Nicolson has a MFA in Visual Arts and a MA in Linguistics and Anthropology. In 2013, Nicolson completed a PhD in Linguistics and Anthropology at the University of Victoria. As an active community member, she has directed a children’s cultural arts program and has served as the Director and founding member of the Nun’wa’kola Cultural Society.

Portrait of a Mother and a Daughter, "Portrait of Gik'anala"
2001
mixed media

Acquisition:
National Juried Exhibition/Acquisition Program 2000-2001

Jurors:

Skawennati
Mohawk | Kahnawake First Nation, QC

Cathy Mattes
Métis | Brandon, MB

Rosalie Favell
Cree Métis | Winnipeg, MB

Rosalie Favell

 

Cree Métis

Rosalie Favell has received numerous awards including the Chalmers Fellowship, the Victor Martyn Lynch Staunten award and most recently the City of Ottawa’s Karsh Award. Her work can be found in a number of esteemed collections across Canada and the United States including the National Gallery of Canada. Favell has a BFA in photography from Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, as well as a MFA in Photography from the University of New Mexico. Favell has taught at the prestigious Institute of American Indian Art and the University of Manitoba. As a participant in the Crossing Communities Art Project, Favell was part of the first international workshop in Nepal. Crossing Communities Art Project aims to bring together the voices of marginalized women and youth to initiate change globally and locally. She has been an active member of the project since 2001.

Annie
2011 1/10
ink jet print on paper

Acquisition:
National Juried Art Acquisition 2012 2013

Jurors:

Lee-Ann Martin
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, ON

Roy Kakegamic
Cree | Sandy Lake First Nation, ON

Heather Igloliorte | Inuit
Nunatsiavut, NL

Ruth Cuthand


Plains Cree

Ruth Cuthand’s artwork has always challenged mainstream perspectives on colonialism and the historic relationships between Canada’s Indigenous people and its’ Settlers. Her artwork has addressed and explored the effects of colonialism as it manifested in institutionalized racism and residential school abuses. More recently, Cuthand’s role as an outspoken advocate for Indigenous people was recognized when this painting was chosen as the primary symbol for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Cuthand’s advocacy for Indigenous people is also made evident in her work towards establishing the first Aboriginal Art History courses at the University of Saskatchewan and the First Nations University of Canada, where she also taught. In 2013, Cuthand’s contributions and achievements were recognized when she was honored with Saskatchewan’s Lieutenant Governor’s award.

How Much Was Forgotten
1983
acrylic on canvas

Acquisition:
Saskatchewan Regional Juried Art Acquisition 1984-1985

Jurors:

Maxine "Ioyan Mani" Noel
Santee Oglala Sioux | Birdtail Sioux First Nation, MB

Norman Zepp
Non Aboriginal | Regina, SK

Susan Whitney
Non Aboriginal | Regina, SK

Shirley Bear

 

Maliseet Wolastoq'kew

Shirley Bear has spent her life advocating for Aboriginal women’s rights. In the 1980’s, she actively lobbied for changes to the Indian Act, which resulted in the passing of Bill C 41. Besides being a multimedia artist, Bear is a writer, lecturer, curator and traditional herbalist. She recently authored a book of poems entitled Virgin Bones. She has counseled and advocated for Aboriginal students in her capacity as the Aboriginal Advisor for Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and as the Director of Aboriginal Services at British Columbia’s Institute of Technology. In 2011, Shirley Bear was awarded the Order of Canada.

Sogôie
c. 1985
oil on linen

Acquisition:
Atlantic Regional Juried Art Acquisition 1985-1986

Tania Willard

 

Secwepemc

Tania Willard graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor degree Fine Arts. She has distinguished herself in both of her careers; an artist and a curator. She is considered to be one of Canada’s up and coming Aboriginal curators. Her most recent curatorial project, "Beat Nation; Hip Hop as Indigenous Culture," is an exploration of how Aboriginal youth have embraced hip hop culture. In 2009, Willard founded her own company Red Willow Designs. Red Willow Designs is an art, design and illustration company that works with not for profit clients from the Aboriginal community. She has also been a board member of the Redwire Native Youth Society.

Be a Good Girl
2008 1/6
handcoloured woodcut

Acquisition:
National Juried Art Acquisition 2012-2013

Jurors:

Lee-Ann Martin
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, ON

Roy Kakegamic
Cree | Sandy Lake First Nation, ON

Heather Igloliorte Inuit | Nunatsiavut, NL

Winnie Tatya

 

Inuit

Winnie Tatya was born in the Garry Lake area. Winnie and her husband moved to Baker Lake when her family could no longer maintain their traditional lifestyle on the land. In Baker Lake, Tatya learned printmaking and carving, but her sewing skills found a new venue in the creation of wall hangings. She is known for her distinctive long feather or Cretan stitch, which is tightly worked to completely cover the felt forms.Tatya’s work has been featured in both National and International exhibitions. In 1982 she was given a solo exhibition at Winnipeg’s Upstairs Gallery. In 1989, her wall hanging entitled ’Red Goose’ was featured on a UNICEF Christmas card.

Women with Birds
1996
wool

Acquisition:
Direct Acquisition 2006-2007

Zoey Wood Salomon

 

Odawa

Zoey Wood Salomon is a self taught artist. Creating works in the distinctive woodlands style, Wood Salomon paintings often depict everyday life and the oral traditions of the Odawa Ojibway people. In the twenty years that she has been a practicing artist her work has been collected by a number of private and public collections. Wood Salomon is active in Ontario Native Women’s Association and the Indian Friendship Center; she also holds talks in the local schools of Sault St. Marie, where she presently resides.

Unwanted Guest
2001
acrylic on canvas

Acquisition:
National Juried Art Acquisition 2005-2006

Jurors:

Mireille Sioui
Huron Wendat | Hurons de Lorette, QC

Lee-Ann Martin
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, ON

Frederick R. McDonald
Woodland Cree | Fort McKay First Nation, AB

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