Urban Shaman: Father’s Day

The second exhibition, after Paved – Resistance is Not Futile Project took place, was at the Urban Shaman Gallery in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This project expanded upon my project at Paved Arts the previous year. Urban Shaman is an indigenous artist-run centre in a city with a visible indigenous population. I lived in Winnipeg for five years and the years had a powerful impact on my practice and I was compelled to produce a project that was reflective of experiences.

The title for my project was Father’s Day and I based it upon the missing indigenous male role models in our communities. The exhibition consisted of works from My North American Indian Volumes 21 and Volumes 22. And in place of the portrait giveaway I did at Paved Arts, I designed an Indian Father’s Day card as a giveaway. I also brought my son Bear with me and he was DJ for opening night. Bear was just beginning to build a national profile with A Tribe Called Red and he drew a younger indigenous audience to the opening. During breaks Bear gave tours of my exhibition.

I also took advantage of the opportunity to take my work to the community and I developed two satellite exhibition spaces. The first was at the old Canadian Pacific train station that had been re-purposed as an umbrella social services site for the indigenous community, the Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg. I displayed my train series The First Spike in the station rotunda. This series of work questions the absence of indigenous narratives in regards to the nation building completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1886.

The second site was located at Studio 393 in the Portage Place Mall where a lot of youth and especially indigenous youth spend a lot of time. The studio provides creative activities for youth and knowing they would not come to the gallery, I mounted a series of works from my Paved Arts project, with no frames and for the first time, I invited the youth to ‘tag’ my images. The idea was to encourage the youth to engage with my work and see the potential the visual arts holds for telling their own stories.

Also see Paved – Resistance is Not Futile exhibition images.