Uprising: The Power of Mother Earth
Christi Belcourt – A Retrospective with Isaac Murdoch
July 7 – October 11, 2020
Uprising is a mid-career retrospective of the work of Michif (Métis) visual artist Christi Belcourt. It brings together over 30 paintings, calling attention to her creative achievements over 25 years of art-making. The exhibit is complemented by the work of knowledge holder, storyteller, and artist Isaac Murdoch, whose iconic images, such as Thunderbird Woman, have become symbolic of the Indigenous resistance movement against resource extraction.
Celebrating Belcourt’s profound respect for the natural environment, the exhibition charts Belcourt’s practice from the early to late 1990s and her explorations of land, water, and medicinal plants traditionally used by the Métis people. In the early 2000s, she began referencing Indigenous and Métis beadwork in large-scale paintings using floral motifs. In works such as Four (2004) and The Conversation (2002), Belcourt simulates the technique of beading by dipping the end of a paintbrush or knitting needle into paint and dotting the canvas, one “bead” at a time. The black background of these works references the black velvet onto which 19th century Métis artists sewed appliqué to emphasize the beaded flowers’ vivid colours. Belcourt’s paintings entice viewers to contemplate the diversity, complexity, and beauty of plants, as well as their own relationship to Mother Earth.
Belcourt’s practice expanded to include collaborations with Murdoch. In November 2014, along with artist Erin Konsmo, they formed the Onaman Collective. The Collective organizes community art builds, working alongside community members to screen-print and paint banners, tell stories, learn languages, and share food. The banners not only demonstrate the artists’ use of art to empower water and land protection action, they show how art can be accessible at grassroots and international levels. Belcourt and Murdoch’s work is a testament to the power of evocative art and its ability to motivate people to rise up and take action.
Curated by Nadia Kurd, this national touring exhibition is co-produced by Thunder Bay Art Gallery and Carleton University Art Gallery and presented by the Art Gallery of Guelph with the support of Canadian Heritage.
Bazigwiiwin: E-Ombinigaadeg Omashkawiziiwin Gimaamaanaan Aki
Christi Belcourt – Gaa-Gii-Bi-Izhininang gaye Isaac Murdoch
Miziwe omaa kaanada akiing izhaamagan owe waabanda’iwewin animikii-wiikwedong mazinibii’iganan waabanda’iwewigamig gaye Carleton gichi-gikendaasoowigamig mazinibii’iganan waabanda’iwewigamig oniizhoo-ozhitoonaawaa
Nadia Kurd o-gii-ozhisidoonan ge-waabanjigaadegin mazinichiganan
Bazigwiiwin amii ezhinikaadeg gaawaabanda’iweng Christi Belcourt Wiisaakodewikwe omazinibii’iganan aabitawiya’iing e-ayaad obimaadiziwining. Awashime 30 minik mazinibii’iganan da-agoodewan ji-waabanda’iweng awashime 25 daso-biboon e-giidazhikang. Gaye awe gaa-maawadoonang gikenjigewin, dibaajimowin gaye mezinibii’iged inini Isaac Murdoch, bezhig Animikiikwe izhinikaadeni omazinibii’igan, amii dash iwe mazinibii’igan gaa-aabadak ji-gagwegibitinigaadeg gii-odaapinigaadeg gegoo akiing onji.
Aapiji Belcourt ogichi-inenimaan Gimaamaanaan Aki, amii dash gaa-izhichiged Belcourt gii-maajiseg 1990 biinish gegaa gii-ishkwaaseg e-gi-mazinibii’ang aki, nibi gaye mashkikiin gaa-gii-aabajitoowaad Wiisaakodewininiwag. Apii 2000 gii-maajiseg, gete-Anishinaabe gaye gete-Wiisaakodewinini mazinigwaasowinan o-gii-onjimazinibii’aanan gichi-mazinibii’iganan waabigoniin e-gii-mazinibii’ang. Iwe Niiwin (2004) gaa-izhinikaadeg gaye Gaganoonidiwin (2002), daabishkoo mazinigwaasowin ezhinaagwaninig omazinibii’igan Belcourt, bepezhig jakibii’igan e-aabajitood daabishkoo bepezhig manidoominens. Makadewibii’ige nitam jibwaa-mazinibii’ang waabigwaniin, daabishkoo makadewegin gaa-gii-izhiapigwaadamowaad Wiisaakodewikweg mewinzha 1900 jibwaa-izhiseg, ji-bagakinaagwakin mazinigwaasowinan nawach. Belcourt omazinibii’iganan izhi-naagwan epiichi-wawaanizhishingin waabigoniin, epiichi-bepakaan izhinaagwakin gaye dash Gimaamaanaan Aki e-izhi-dibendaagwakin gakina.
Belcourt o-gii-maajii-wiidanokiimaan Murdochan. Gashkadinogiizis gii-bimangizod 2014 gii-izhiseg, o-giiozhitoonaawaa izhichigewin Onaman Collective e-izhinikaadeg, mazinibii’iged Erin Konsmo dago. Iwe Onaman wiiji’iwemagan ji-ozhichigaadegin gakiiwe’onan dazhiikewining, ji-dibaajimong, jinitaa-anishinaabemong gaye ji-wiidoopamiding. Odizhinizha’aanaawaan ini gakiiwe’onan aaniindig, e-maajiinizha’amowaad gemaa e-izhiwidoowaad aaniindi ge-izhi-aabadakin maamawigaabawing. Gii-aabajichigaadegin ini gakiiwe’onan waabanjigaade e-aabadak mazinibii’igewin ji-ombinigaadeg gii-naadamaading nibi gaye aki, amii gaye ezhi-waabanjigaadeg bizaanigo mazinibii’igewin daa-miigiwem awenen igo waa-aabajitood omaa gaye waasa agaamakiing. Belcourt gaye Murdoch omazinibii’igewiniwaa gaye odanokiiwiniwaa izhi-naagwan e-gitaabadak mazinibii’igewin, jigashkichigaadeg ji-ombi’indwaa bemaadiziwaad ji-bazigwiiwaad ji-izhichigewaad gegoo.
Uprising: In Conversation with Christi Belcourt
An online event featuring artist Christi Belcourt in conversation with Colinda Clyne
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 7 pm | Free
Zoom | Registration required
Presented in conjunction with Uprising: The Power of Mother Earth, the artist will be joined in conversation by educator Colinda Clyne to talk about the vital role of art in relation to land-based practices, and how they support environmental and social justice. Watch a recording of the conversation below.
An educator for over 25 years, Colinda Clyne is Anishinaabe kwe and based in Guelph where she is the First Nations, Métis and Inuit curriculum lead for the Upper Grand District School Board. Committed to providing a space for Indigenous histories and voices, she hosts Anti-Racism Educator Reads, a weekly podcast that focuses on racial and social justice.
(Click to view)
Image detail: Christi Belcourt, This Painting is a Mirror, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 206 x 256 cm. Collection of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (Photographer: Lawrence Cook)