Wednesday 28 June 2023

Pow Wow in Winnipeg!

Definitely one of the highlights of my short trip to Winnipeg was having the honour of attending the fantastic opening ceremony for Manito Ahbee 2023 – an annual Indigenous cultural extravaganza that is province-wide. 

The regalia, dancing, drumming and singing was amazing. Unfortunately I have not mastered the video function on my phone and didn’t take any still photos, so these are low quality screen grabs. Luckily the Manito Ahbee Festival has it's own website with plenty of videos, pictures and information here.

My previous blog posts about my time in Winnipeg, including Indigenous Feminism, public art, The Forks and Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq can be accessed here, here, here and here.

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Winnipeg Art Gallery

Though it seems ages ago that I was in Winnipeg, it was just over a month and I am still thinking of that wonderful visit! As well as Inuit Sanaugangit: Art Across Time, which I posted about here, I also saw other exhibitions at The Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq

There was an exhibition of the 2023 Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award Shortlist Artists. All the shortlisted artists were female and all were Indigenous.  I particularly liked the work of Ningiukulu Teevee, though since they were behind glass it was very difficult to photograph them.

This is a detail of one, which gives a better idea of the texture in the drawing.

In a lobby area on the second floor, several large works by Ivan Eyre were displayed on the walls flanking the stairwell. Although Eyre was born and grew up in Saskatchewan, he moved to Winnipeg in the early 1950s and taught painting and drawing at the University of Manitoba for 33 years until he retired in 1992. Eyre died in 2022,

This is a detail of the previous large panoramic landscape.

In another gallery room were several installations by Faye Heavyshield. It is difficult to get a sense of her work in a small photograph but each of the floating pieces are human-size. Another wall installation, my favourite actually, was unphotographable in that each part of the whole needed to be examined and an overall picture would not give any sense of the work at all!

Other posts I made about my time in Winnipeg can be found here and here.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

The Forks, Winnipeg

Walking around The Forks area in Winnipeg (oh so many weeks ago now!) in search of Indigenous feminist public sculptures (which I posted about here), I had to cross the pedestrian bridge over the Assiniboine River. Looking up I noticed a brightly painted bicycle; I figured it was a piece of public sculpture, but could find no information or artist credit anywhere. I wondered about the large area behind it too, but when I continued walking ...

the mural, by Mike Valcourt was revealed.

The heritage marker for the Red River was a fascinating sculpture that required close inspection .I should have taken some more detailed pictures at the time, because I could find no information, artist credit or pictures when I googled it later (I thought I would). 

The pedestrian bridge was a perfect spot to view the smaller Assiniboine River meeting up with the larger Red River. Across the water is St Boniface, a predominantly French-speaking area of Winnipeg, where Canadian author Gabrielle Roy grew up.

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Indigenous Feminism

 The day after I arrived in Winnipeg, I attended a fabulous workshop/lecture Indigenous Feminisms through Visual Art at MAWA (Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art). Dr Suzanne McLeod led the group through an inspirational history of Indigenous feminism discussing both past and current work by Indigenous women artists. One of the contemporary artists discussed, KC Adams, who had a public sculpture at The Forks in Winnipeg and I took the opportunity to see it in person. 

Niimaamaa, the title of this collaborative piece, means “mother” in Cree, Ojibwe and M├ętis languages. It is an outline of a pregnant woman, apparently the first time this subject has been depicted in public sculpture in Canada. 

It is a mixed metal work representative of motherhood and Mother Earth. This sculpture is a collaboration between three Indigenous women: KC Adams, Jaimie Isaac and Val Vint.

Further along the pleasant walk at The Forks one comes across the sculpture Education is the New Bison by Val Vint. 

It is a mostly corten steel sculpture composed of “books”with laser-cut author names and titles that are important to Indigenous culture.

The bison is created from books written by Indigenous authors or allies.

Further along yet again, lies the inspirational corten steel piece by Jaimie Isaac The 8th and Final Fire

The tipi-shaped flame at the front continues as a series of echoes as one walks around the sculpture.

The plaque (in several languages, though I have only included the English words) gives a full explanation of the thinking behind the sculpture.