What does 250 years of family history look like?
For one Manitoba Métis artist, it looks like 250 handmade, fire-smoked bowls.
Tracy Charette Fehr traced the history of seven generations of women in her family — grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and cousins — back to 1770 and is recognizing those women with a new exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq.
“I was exploring the female side of my mother’s Métis lineage. So it represents a first grandmother, Madeline Saulteaux, who was born in 1770, and then up to 2020,” Fehr said in an interview with CBC Radio’s Up to Speed.
The bowls she made, over a two-year research and crafting period, are part of the new WAG exhibit Heartbeat of a Nation: Métis Women, 250 Years.
Fehr says her goal for the project was to draw attention to Métis women, whom she says helped birth the Métis nation in Manitoba.
“Not to minimize anything — Louis Riel was a great leader … but there was so much more,” she said.
“We don’t hear a lot about the women, you know, who worked alongside the Métis men.… I wanted the regular women to be recognized — all of those people who carried the culture, you know, and maintained the culture.”
Fehr says even with pressures of assimilation, the Métis have survived.
“We can give credit to the mothers and the grandmothers and aunties … for making that happen.”
‘Each one has its own essence’
The bowls have a special significance, Fehr says, because women are known as the carriers of water.
“For the past few years, I was making bowls and giving them away. Some people could use them as a smudge bowl or … if somebody wanted to hang onto it and have it represent a significant woman in their life,” she said.
“To me, the bowl represents the holding of life and potential, and to me that’s a sacred kind of thing. So the bowls kind of represent the sacredness of that female lineage as well.… Each one also represents the individual Métis women, multitudes of them.”
When she makes a bowl and holds it, it’s an embodiment, a presence or essence of something, Fehr said.
“Each one becomes really significant to me, and hard to let go of, actually,” she said with a laugh.
The process of making a bowl is a very tactile experience, she added.
“There’s the forming of the bowl. I do a fair amount of carving, so a lot of them are hand-carved on the interior. I’ve done floral designs in a lot of them, to represent the Métis people that were at one time known as the flower beadwork people,” Fehr says.
After a couple of firing processes, and partial glazing in some cases, she puts them through fire, exposed to the smoke, creating unique surfaces.
Although there are some similarities, each bowl is different, she says.
“Each one has its own essence. Kind of its own personality. They’re different sizes, different colours, different textures. Some of them are completely white and some are completely black.”
After the exhibit, Fehr plans to give away each bowl to a Manitoba Métis woman to use. She will also ask them to name another Métis woman, whose names she plans to use in another art project to recognize another 250 Métis women.
The exhibit will be displayed near one of the “bridges” that link the original Winnipeg Art Gallery building to Qaumajuq, the recently opened Inuit art centre. When Qaumajuq and other WAG spaces were given names by Indigenous language keepers, the bridges were named Nakishkamohk — meaning “connection” in the Métis language Michif, a gallery spokesperson told CBC.
The exhibit opens Aug. 20 with an outdoor celebration and “Métis fiddle jam” on the Winnipeg Art Gallery rooftop from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., featuring Manitoban female fiddlers Tayler Fleming and Melissa St. Goddard.
Fehr’s exhibit runs at the gallery until Nov. 6.
6:38Métis artist traces her history back 250 years with new exhibit, ‘Heartbeat of a Nation’
Toronto Biennial of Art Appoints Curators
The Toronto Biennial of Art has appointed Montreal curator Dominique Fontaine and Peruvian curator Miguel A. López as co-curators of its 2024 edition.
Fontaine, who was born in Haiti, is a founding director of aposteriori, a non-profit curatorial platform that produces diverse and innovative contemporary art. Her projects include curating Between the earth and the sky, the possibility of everything for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in Toronto in 2014, and co-curating the survey exhibition Here, We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary, which showed at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2018.
López worked as chief curator, and later as co-director, of TEOR/éTica in San José, Costa Rica, from 2015 to 2020. In 2019, he curated the retrospective exhibition Cecilia Vicuña: Seehearing the Enlightened Failure at the Witte de With (now Kunstinstituut Melly) in Rotterdam. The exhibition travelled to Mexico City, Madrid and Bogota.
Patrizia Libralato, the biennial’s executive director, said the two curators will contribute scholarship, innovation and inspiration to deepen the event’s connections to both local communities and global conversations.
“Together, we aim to create an event as uniquely diverse, responsive, challenging and engaging as the city itself,” she said.
The biennial, which will run from Sept. 21 to Dec. 1, 2024, attracted more then 450,000 visitors to its first two editions, which featured free programming across the city.
It has featured work by artists such as AA Bronson, Judy Chicago, Brian Jungen, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Kapwani Kiwanga, Caroline Monnet, Denyse Thomasos and Camille Turner.
Source: Toronto Biennial of Art
Football and art come together in the first NFT exhibition of its kind
– The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture’s From Strike to Stroke exhibit features 64 FIFA World Cup match results in a unique man-machine collaboration
DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 6, 2022 /CNW/ — The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) celebrates the art of the beautiful game in a unique exhibition at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. From Strike to Stroke features 64 NFTs by 32 artists from the competing nations, while Artificial Intelligence (AI) fuses the pieces from the contending two countries in each of the 64 matches into a unique piece based on the match outcome. The result will be a singular collection of one-of-a-kind NFTs created through a collaboration of man and machine. Strike to Stroke runs at the Msheireb Galleria Doha, Qatar until December 23.
Ithra, a cultural bridge between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world, channels the world’s passion for football into its infatuation with the arts as the world comes together for the World Cup. The exhibition melds the man-made with the machine-made, and combines art, sport and technology in an innovative fashion.
It features the work of 32 emerging and established artists, each tasked with creating a piece representing their country and using their respective team’s jersey colors. After each match, the AI-powered algorithm combines the artists’ creations with match statistics to generate unique pieces that represent each game. The collection will be a unique set of pieces presented as NFTs – non-fungible tokens. These cryptographic assets are based on blockchain technology, and created in a process similar to cryptocurrencies.
From Strike to Stroke includes artists who have never created NFTs and NFT artists who had not worked within traditional fine art.
“The passion shared by football fans for the love of the beautiful game can be tangential to the passion shared by art aesthetes,” said Dr. Shurooq Amin in her curator’s brief to the exhibition. “By connecting 32 artists from both the traditional and digital arenas, Ithra not only bridges the gap between Web2 to Web3, and between football and art, but furthermore between human and machine, as the artists collaborate with AI generation technology to create unique NFTs that combine art, football and technology.”
Images and exhibition catalogue can be found here.
For more information on Ithra and its programs, visit www.ithra.com.
SOURCE King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra)
Richard Serra’s art installation hard to miss in Qatar desert, once you get there
Art stands tall in the desert some 75 kilometres northwest of Doha.
You need a rugged vehicle and no small resolve to find it, given signage is almost non-existent. The last few kilometres take time as you cross the desert on a slightly flattened but irregular path well away from the closest blacktop. Proceed with caution.
But East-West/West-East by American sculptor Richard Serra is worth the effort.
Completed in 2014, the installation comprises four giant steel plates – the outer two stand 16.7 metres high and the inner two 14.7 metres – and span more than a kilometre. Slightly different in height, to compensate for the difference in ground level, they line up like enormous fence posts in the barren desert flanked by gypsum plateaus at some points.
If not the middle of nowhere, it’s well on the way.
Possibly the last place on earth you’d expect to see “one of the most significant artists of his generation,” as Serra is dubbed by the Gagosian Gallery which has showcased his work in both New York and France.
“Taking art to the people,” is how Qatar Museums, the country’s arts and culture arm, explains it.
Depending on the direction you approach, you see only part of the art. As you get closer, the dark plates get bigger and bigger and you get to see all four.
“After the perceptual bombardment of Doha, with its architecture dominated by idiosyncratic shapes and kitschy facades, the sensuous experience prompted by the rigorous abstraction of the (desert) sculpture is at once bracing and sensitizing,” wrote Artforum magazine.
“Serra reminds the viewer, like 19th-century German Romantic artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, of man’s frailty in the face of nature’s omnipotence,” added Numero magazine.
For non art-critics, imagine the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey on steroids and times four in the desert. Stand next to one and you feel like an ant – a very hot ant under the blazing Qatari sun.
You’ll also likely be alone, albeit under review from what seemed like security in a nearby pickup truck.
The 84-year-old Serra, who worked in steel mills during college, is known for his large-scale abstract steel sculptures.
There is another in Doha itself. A sculpture called 7 – the number seven has spiritual significance in Islamic culture – was commissioned by Qatar Museums.
Built out of seven steel plates, it faces the sea at MIA Park, adjacent to the Museum of Islamic Art.
Like a billionaire stocking his mansion with objets d’art, the government of Qatar has dug deep into its oil-filled coffers to decorate the country with world-class art.
There are big-ticket art works all over.
In 2013, Qatar Museums Authority head Sheikha al-Mayassa al-Thani, the daughter of the emir of Qatar, was listed atop ArtReview magazine’s annual Power 100 list “on account of her organization’s vast purchasing power and willingness to spend at a rate estimated to be US$1-billion a year – in order to get top works of art for its Doha museums,” ArtReview said.
Le Pouce, a giant golden thumb by French artist Cesar Baldaccini, is front and centre in Doha’s Souq Waqif market. French-American artist Louise Bourgeois’ Maman, a giant spider that can also be found outside Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada, stands inside the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC), which doubles as the World Cup’s main press centre.
Another edition of Maman, one of seven, was sold for US$32-million by Christie’s in 2019.
“The Miraculous Journey” by English artist Damien Hirst is hard to miss outside Sidra Medicine centre just down the street from the QNCC. The 14 monumental bronze sculptures chronicle the gestation of a fetus inside a uterus, from conception to birth – ending with a statue of a 14-metre-tall anatomically correct baby boy.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2022
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