For the last few years, my routine has been to wake early, make coffee and spend time on social media networks -- reading articles, commenting on friend's photos, discussing my favourite subjects on blogs, and occasionally writing commentary here. This routine coincided with the purchase of my first Mac laptop, which gave me the option of being online while propped up on the couch, with my coffee steaming on the table next to me.
It is Feb. 15th, Louis Riel Day in Manitoba, and Métis curator and writer Cathy Mattes is talking about two of her favourite subjects -- art and Louis Riel. She is telling a story about two very different monuments to Louis Riel that were created for the Manitoba Legislature.
"In 1971, a statue depicting Louis Riel as a naked, tormented figure was erected on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature as part of Manitoba's centennial celebrations," Mattes explains.
In Saskatchewan, long-present landmarks and sacred objects can be found alongside the trappings of contemporary life: buffalo rubbing stones, tipi rings and medicine caches reside a few kilometres from recently-built cities. The interplay of past and present, on the land and within people, is the subject of Saskatchewan-based artist and art history professor Mary Longman's art and research.
Steven Loft has a lot of chutzpah. This Mohawk-Jewish curator, writer and media artist is the first to hold the two-year position of curator-in-residence, Indigenous art, at the National Gallery of Canada. His overall career goal is impressively ambitious: “I want to change the way mainstream Canada thinks about Aboriginal art.”
In Nlaka’pamux (pronounced ng-khla-kap-mh) country in south-central British Columbia, you can hear coyotes howling in the canyon at night, and glimpse them disappearing into the woods. For the Nlaka’pamux people, coyote is a trickster, using his creativity to transform the world, while rebelling against and disrupting established order.
As a scavenger, coyote is the ultimate survivor, constantly adapting to changing times.
Chris Bose, a photographer, filmmaker, digital storyteller, poet and musician, has a lot in common with coyote.
Arthur Renwick comes from two places in northern B.C. -- Kitamaat, the ancestral home of the Haisla people, and Kitimat, an Alcan company town, built in the fifties to house the aluminum smelter’s workers.
To get to Kitamaat, the Haisla village, you have to turn left at the entrance to the company town, and drive 14 kilometres to the other side of the channel. There, you will find the tiny Haisla community, where Arthur spent his childhood summers playing with his cousins, and where he used to sit and listen to his grandmother Ella drum and sing in the Haisla language. She was an important elder in the Haisla village, and played a central role in keeping the community and culture alive.
This exhibition of photographs, etchings, collages and videos offers viewers the chance to understand more deeply the Aboriginal struggle for healing and wholeness through portrayals that question, play with and reconstruct identity.