PHENOMENA

September 2022 - February 2023

Adrian Stimson, Wally Dion, Leah Dorion, Lori Blondeau

Extended to February 2nd, 2023!

In the summer of 2020, our bison herd uncovered four petroglyphs and the bifacial stone carving tool used to engrave them on the Newo Asiniak bison jump, completing the last significant archaeological find Wanuskewin needed to solidify the land as one of a kind in the world.

Inspired by this discovery, we invited four artists, from four different nations all with connections to the land, to partake in residencies to create work as a response to the petroglyphs and the rarity that is Wanuskewin. Consulting with elders, archaeologists, and bison experts, these artists expanded on their own interpretation of the land and the number four, as its significance relates to so many Indigenous cultures.

Adrian Stimson (Blackfoot), Wally Dion (Saulteaux), Leah Dorion (Metis) and Lori Blondeau (Cree/Metis/Saultueax) each completed two-week residencies at Wanuskewin in the last year and had a chance to further their own artistic practice while in the beautiful Opimihaw Valley. All artists have a connection to this land, whether it had welcomed them back like home, they call it their home, or are coming back to a place that was once home, much like our bison.

Four medicines, four directions, four seasons, fours colors, four life phases, four stones. Four artists, and four ways of seeing.

Opening September 26th until January 15th in the East Gallery.

 

OPENING DAY PROGRAMMING

10am: Curator Talk by Olivia Kristoff

1pm: Artist Talk by Wally Dion

 All free with admission.

 

ADRIAN STIMSON is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation in southern Alberta, Canada. Adrian has a BFA with distinction from the Alberta College of Art and Design and MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. He considers himself as an interdisciplinary artist and exhibits nationally and internationally. His paintings are varied yet his use of black and white monochromatic paintings that depict bison in imagined landscapes are well known, they are melancholic, memorializing, and sometimes whimsical, they evoke ideas cultural fragility, resilience and nostalgia. Adrian was awarded the Governor General Award for Visual and Media Arts in 2018 and REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award – Hnatyshyn Foundation in 2017. He was awarded the Blackfoot Visual Arts Award in 2009, the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003.

WALLY DION is a Canadian artist of Saulteaux ancestry living and working in Upstate New York. Working in a number of media including painting, drawing and sculpture, Dion’s art is concerned with issues of identity and power; it includes both representational and abstract geometric works. Dion holds a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design.  Throughout much of his career, Dion’s work has contributed to a broad conversation in the art world about identity and power, and can be interpreted as part of a much larger pan-American struggle by Indigenous peoples to be recognized: culturally, economically, and politically, by settler societies.  Utilizing large scale portraiture, found object sculpture, site specific installation & kinetic sculpture Dion has expanded upon this practice to include themes of personal history & spirituality.  Dion has exhibited extensively throughout Canada & the USA participating in numerous solo and group exhibitions.  Dion’s work can be found in several prominent collections; private and public.

LEAH MARIE DORION  is an interdisciplinary Metis artist raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. A teacher, painter, filmmaker and published writer, Leah views her Metis heritage as providing her with a unique bridge for knowledge between all people. Leah holds a Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Arts, and Master of Arts degree. She has numerous creative projects to her credit, including academic papers for the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples, books for children, gallery showings of her art works, and numerous video documentaries that showcase Metis culture and history. Leah’s paintings honour the spiritual strength of Aboriginal women and the sacred feminine. Leah believes that women play a key role in passing on vital knowledge for all of humanity which is deeply reflected in her artistic practice. She believes women are the first teachers to the next generation.

LORI BLONDEAU is Cree/Saulteaux/Metis working as an interdisciplinary artist in performance/photography/installation. Her late mother Leona Blondeau was raised on the George Gordon First Nation and late father Maurice Blondeau was raised in Lebret, SK both located in Treaty 4 territory. Blondeau is an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba in the School of Art. She holds an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan winning the Humanities & Fine Arts Thesis Award. In addition to her extensive exhibition history, Blondeau has exhibited and performed nationally and internationally including the Banff Centre; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; Open Space, Victoria; FOFA, Montreal. In 2007, Blondeau was part of the Requickening project with artist Shelly Niro at the Venice Biennale. In 2021, Blondeau was the recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.