January 17 to February 18, 2018
Opening reception: January 17, 2018 at 7 pm
Building on 40 years of creative collaborations with Indigenous artists, communities, and organizations, the Art Gallery of Guelph launched 150 Acts: Art, Activism, Impact in the fall of 2017, an exhibition that provides a platform for diverse Indigenous narratives that imagine new social futures. 150 Acts coincided with Canada’s sesquicentennial, an essential moment of national reflection and an opportunity to query the relationship of nationhood itself to Indigeneity in Canada. In December 2017, the AGG introduces part two of the exhibition with the addition of works by Shuvinai Ashoona, Meryl McMaster, Shelley Niro, Jessie Oonark, Pudlo Pudlat and Jeff Thomas. Works by Anique Jordan and Abedar Kamgari have also been incorporated to bring into the dialogue the experiences and histories of artists and communities forced into migration through legacies of conflict and colonialism, only to become settlers in the Canadian context.
Throughout, the exhibition recognizes art practices as simultaneously personal, conceptual, cultural, political, and social acts – and as meaningful responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. From installation, film, new media, and performance to practices framed by traditional beadwork, textile, sculpture, drawing, and painting, the artworks explore both socio-cultural and physical terrain while mapping wholly new geographies through language, storytelling, and the land itself.
Foundational pieces from the AGG’s Indigenous collections are complemented by new art practices from across Canada, including site-specific work commissioned by Partners in Art for LandMarks2017/Repères2017, underscoring evolving Indigenous methodologies that have transformed the public sphere with a consistent and profound sense of social justice. Featured artists include KC Adams, Mary Anne Barkhouse, Christi Belcourt, Rebecca Belmore, Bonnie Devine, Geoff Greene, Maureen Gruben, Thomassie Kudluk, Cheryl L’Hirondelle & Camille Turner, Ken Maracle, Michael Massie, Neal McLeod, Norval Morrisseau, Shelley Niro, Susan Point, Annie Pootoogook, Kananginak Pootoogook, Arthur Renwick, Don Russell, Art Wilson (‘Wii Muk’wilixw), Wayne Young, and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun.
Compelled by the powerful historical and geographical dynamics embodied in our relationship to the lands upon which we live, work, and create, 150 Acts: Art, Activism, Impact provides a vital opportunity to re-narrate landscape through art practices that actively engage our collective histories and possible futures. This second phase of 150 Acts also includes Shelley Niro: ONGNIAAHRA/Niagara (at Boarding House Gallery) and two performances of Sewatonhna ren – May Your Spirit be Well by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (Santee Smith, Artistic Director) on Saturday, February 24, 2018.
150 Acts: Art, Activism, Impact is made possible through the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, and Ontario Arts Council. The Art Gallery of Guelph is also grateful for the partnership and support of Partners in Art. Sewatonhna ren – May Your Spirit be Well is presented through the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Musagetes Fund – Guelph Community Foundation.
image (detail): Meryl McMaster, Truth to Power, 2017, Giclée print, edition of 3. Collection of the artist.