Currently my show Tukien (Awaken) is on display at the Confederation Center in Charlottetown, PEI. This is a national touring show which opened in Grenfell Art gallery in Corner Brook, NL in August and move to PEI in October.
Tukien” (pronounced Due-gee-eh-n) which is Mi’kmaq for “Awaken”. The work is about indigenous identity. The figures with contemporary setting. The people portrayed are fiercely proud of their indigenous identity, and very active in the community, regardless of their status under Indigenous Relations and North Affairs Canada.
There is no real history of indigenous portraiture, apart from settler representations of “the noble savages”. My attempt is to step in and show people who exist in the 21st century. I want to display natives in a position of beauty and power. I am story teller, telling stories of my time. It is also the intent also to defy the stereotype of want a “native person “looks like. They are doctors lawyers, musicians and people who are community leaders. I want the viewer to investigate their own identity and what it means to be native. Portraiture is inherently about people and relationships.
Having a solo show moving across the country is a humbling experience. Covid -19 has changed some plans and dates, but the thought that my work will be seen by a number of people in a number of locations is flattering. Curators Matthew Hills from Grenfell and Pan Wendt from the Confederation have put a lot of work in making the show a reality. The current world situation prevented a formal opening in Corner Brook, but we were able to have to have a smaller event in Charlottetown. The fun thing about PEI was that a second show featuring 13 other St. John’s is running concurrently with my exhibit, so the opening included a number of artists who are my friends and whose work I admire.
Tukien (Awaken) will be at the Confederation Centre in PEI trill Jan 13, 2020. Additional Gallery dates to be announced soon.