I cruised on upstairs the other day at work, to check out the new exhibition to be reckoned with..., and was pretty much blown away by the pieces by Saskatoon Aboriginal artist Ruth Cuthand. Exhibited are 6 pieces from her Trading series, which portray a variety of diseases that were brought to America by European traders. What blew me away was the bead work which creates the microscopic diseases. Stunning.
According to the artist, “The beads are a visual reference to colonization; valuable furs were traded for inexpensive beads. On the plains beads were a valuable trade item and they replaced the method of using porcupine quills. Trading examines both sides of European trade from the new items that revolutionized Aboriginal life to the decimation of many tribes through disease.”
If you haven't seen it yet, I strongly suggest you do. Like now.
to be reckoned with…
Mary Anne Barkhouse • Ruth Cuthand • David Garneau • Robert Houle • Nadia Myre
May 15 – August 22, 2010
Complementing the historical representations of First Nations peoples in James Henderson: Wicite Owapi Wicasa, this exhibition will showcase some of the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s most recent acquisitions to the permanent collection. Pivotal works produced by five influential contemporary First Nations and Métis artists will be brought together in consideration of questions about history, identity and colonialism. Together the artists’ individual investigations into the realities of colonization and the effects of contact speak of a history of interaction: the pre- and post-contact relations that have informed and shaped Canadian history and contemporary culture. Ultimately, the exhibition is about reconciling what is truly relevant about the past with what is important about the present, and creating a dialogue which will enable the co-existence of future generations.