For the first time, the Hess Art Gallery at the University of Lethbridge is replacing a physical exhibition with a digital one.
It’s also the first time students created pieces based on historic Blackfoot artifacts housed in three British museums.
Members from the museums have been working with the university on this project.
Stories for British Museums, is an art exhibition, which showcases works inspired by the Mootookakio’ssin Indigenous object repatriation project. The artwork can be found at artgallery.uleth.ca.
“Their work is truly at a high professional level — really fantastic work and interesting.
“I’ve just been impressed with the array of approaches the students have taken,” said Dr. Josephine Mills, Hess gallery director and curator.
In July of last year, some elders from the Blackfoot territory, researchers and artists travelled to Britain to visit the original pieces in the museums.
“I know personally for me, it was weird being in a country where my ancestors didn’t have roots at all, but it was very interesting to see the pieces and just feel the power from the pieces,” said Deserae Yellow Horn, research assistant at the University of Lethbridge.
She goes on to say the visits were deeply moving and it was nice to be in the presence of the Blackfoot objects and feel their spirits.
For the Blackfoot, there is no equivalent to the term “object” because they believe all things are living entities, and as such, the “objects” have some kind of life force.
It was a very sentimental moment for the elders and others on trip to see the Blackfoot artifacts in-person, according to Yellow Horn, especially after a century or more of separation.
Yellow Hard says some of their ancestral artifacts have been at the museums for over a 100 years, and do not have much information about them listed.
She adds that is because much of the history, significance and context behind the artifacts is not known.
“One of the main things the Blackfoot would do is trade, so when we would have somebody that we considered friendly, we would actually start to trade with them and so some of these pieces were traded, whereas other pieces might have been sold,” Yellow Horn said.
She goes on to explain that the Blackfoot may have sold some of the pieces because they needed money during a time when the concept of using monetary currency was new to them when they were pushed onto reserves and their autonomy was stripped away from them.
They then would have used the money to buy essential things like food.
Some pieces were even stolen by anthropologists and others and sold to colonial museums.
The U of L’s Hess Gallery was initially preparing to open the exhibition as COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March.
Students in Dr. Jackson TwoBears’ Indigenous art studio class were dropping off their work and finishing up their projects when the university was forced to close down, which left the gallery with a patchwork of finished work, some were ready for installation and others had not yet been delivered.
“As we all adjusted to closures of public spaces and working from home, the issue of how to finish this exhibition hung over us,” said Mills.
“The students had done a fabulous job — working hard and engaging with processes, concepts and imagery of objects involved with Mootookakio’ssin,” she added.
The gallery then decided to showcase the art exhibit in its current incomplete state, through an online format.
“And then it was like: Well, this is exactly what visiting the Blackfoot historical objects in the museums was like, where they’re incomplete and you don’t know their stories, you don’t have the people with them and you don’t know the context,” Mills explained.
“It was like: Oh, I think it’s a really good parallel for letting non-Indigenous people understand what that experience is like.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
‘Glorified littering’: Junk street art installations popping up around Montreal – Global News
From the Van Horne skate park in the Mile End to NDG’s Saint-Jacques Escarpment, bizarre art installations are popping up around the city.
Prowling panthers, massive abstract beasts — it’s all put together from the imagination of the artist under the pseudonym Junko.
It’s a fitting name, for all the art he creates is entirely made from miscellaneous “trash” that he finds on the street.
“Basically, they’re carefully arranged piles of garbage,” Junko said. “You can call it glorified littering.”
Using things found on the street like car tires, bike frames, even shoes, everything is a workable piece in Junko’s creations.
Car bumpers are a common staple in his creatures.
“They’re definitely a popular item for me,” he said with a laugh.
Over the past few months, he has put together some six different statues around the city and abroad, all varying in size from small to towering.
A timber frame made from recycled wood holds the installations together.
“I’ve been making art my whole life,” Junko said. “My art has always been around creating creatures and characters. This is a new chapter in that.”
He says finding the junk isn’t that hard in the city but finding the right piece can be.
“Sometimes it’s extremely easy. I’ll be walking and find something and carry it home,” he said.
While shying away from the spotlight, Junko says he isn’t trying to make a point with his art, which he says speaks for itself.
“There no deep hidden meaning, it’s just a way to expressing myself,” Junko said.
That so-called trash is getting a lot of likes and recognition on social media and on the street.
“There is a lot of art in the neighbourhood, so it’s good, I’m not against it,” resident Nick Barry-Shaw said.
Juno sees his form of expression as a legal grey zone.
“The people are into it but I’m not sure about the city, though,” Junko laughed.
He said that unlike graffiti, his street art is not vandalism but simply “an organized pile of trash.”
So far, all four art installations in the city have not been taken down, according to Junko.
The young artist says there is a lot more art to come and people should keep their eyes peeled.
“I’m just getting started so, yeah, you can expect more work,” he said.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Fine art in your mailbox: local artist creates unique postcards – TheRecord.com
WATERLOO — A new postcard art project will use snail mail to rekindle memories of travel while sharing evocative original artwork.
Art galleries are closed due to the pandemic, and opportunities for local artists like Paul Roorda to display and sell their artwork are sparse.
“I just wanted to find a way to get my art out there so people can see it,” Roorda said.
His project “Somewhere Anywhere Postcards” is a series of hand-printed postcards that feature abstract landscapes, vintage stamps and messages of hope.
Roorda photographed different parts of an old, weathered wall. The lines and markings reminded him of beautiful landscapes, the ones you typically see on postcards from tourist destinations.
The postcards are small works of fine art, Roorda said, from the imagined landscape of the weathered wall he photographed, down to the vintage stamps he found and attached to each individual postcard.
The photographs were processed using an age-old technique known as cyanotype. Roorda mixes chemicals and brushes them onto paper. He then exposes the photographs in the sun and develops each photograph in water. The result of this process creates cyan-blue prints.
“I wanted to stay true to the vintage nature of the art,” Roorda said.
He has also written hopeful messages on the back of each postcard to uplift people during the pandemic as it keeps everyone indoors this winter.
“Right now with COVID we are surrounded by our walls, and we can see walls around us as barriers. I wanted to write something about seeing past those barriers at a time when people are feeling discouraged.”
Roorda is fascinated with vintage and antique items as well as found objects. Three years ago he created mini art galleries out of metal cash boxes and attached them to utility poles throughout Waterloo.
Roorda was ordered to remove them by bylaw officers, but was later granted permission by the city to temporarily display his art. The project was called “Time Stops” and each piece featured a musical element, found objects and messages.
Roorda’s postcard project is supported by a grant from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. He launched “Somewhere Anywhere Postcards” last week and has already mailed postcards to addresses across Ontario and to Europe.
Roorda’s postcards can be found in his online shop at www.paulroorda.com.
Watch: Marty One-Boot's art of the Yellowknife Snowcastle pour – Cabin Radio
Snow is like concrete, they say.
To build Yellowknife’s Snowcastle – even this year’s amended design, which is more like a castle grounds than a castle itself – you need to know your construction methods.
Putting together the walls that hold snow structures together requires plenty of carpentry to build wooden frames, then a snowblower and some nerve while you stand under a blizzard of snow and compress it with your feet.
Martin Rehak – Marty One-Boot, to give him the nickname he acquired after this exercise once went wrong – described the process to Cabin Radio. Here’s a little look at how preparations are going ahead of this March.
Camera, editing: Ollie Williams
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