First Nations Art 2013

Posted 13/05/30 in NEWS

For thirty-eight years the Woodland Cultural Centre has been presenting First Nations Art, this pivotal exhibition has brought artists together from all across Turtle Island featuring new works in many varied mediums. 

The diversity in materials is one of the many elements which make this exhibition unique and exciting.  From its onset First Nations Art has been at the forefront in showcasing traditionally-based art forms along with other recognized western art mediums.  Pieces created with beadwork, bark, and leather are displayed along with photography, painting, and prints. This year’s show continues that tradition.

Representing the traditionally-based art forms is black ash splint basket maker Carol Anne Maracle, the outstanding beadwork of Leith Mahkewa, and potter Cindy Henhawk.  One artist who has recombined traditionally-based materials with other mediums is Tekaronhianhhwa Margaret Standup, intricately beading onto canvas that has been painted with acrylic. Digital photographic works are well represented with returning artists Anthony Henhawk Jr., Joel Martin and Michele General.  One example from this years show is the work of Lorrie Gallant who has taken Haudenosaunne floral designs and reconceptualized with paint.

First Nations Art would not be possible without the hard working and dedicated staff at the Woodland Cultural Centre. Special acknowledgement must go out to Joan Greenbird and Paula Whitlow who helped to accept the works as they came in, and Brittany Lickers for helping to prepare materials leading up to the show. Thank-you to Joel Martin for doing an exceptional job photographing this year’s show, as well as Dave Spence from Spence Print Solutions for the printing of this catalogue.  I must also acknowledge the contributions of the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, without their continued support First Nations Art would not be possible.

This is my introductory year overseeing this exhibition as Artistic Director at the Woodland Cultural Centre, but my experience with this show is not completely new. I’ve had the great honour of mentoring under Thomas V. Hill in the early 2000’s when he served as Museum Director; during that time I exhibited in the show, as well as photographed and designed the annual catalogue. 

I’ve also had the great pleasure of mounting several shows alongside Judy Harris during this era as well. Most recently I’ve been working closely with Executive Director, Janis Monture who has mentored me through Planet IndigenUS 2012, as well as through numerous exhibitions and events presented here at Woodland over the past eighteen months.

I take with me the valuable lessons learned over my decade at the Woodland Cultural Centre, and I am eager to continue fulfilling the legacy of the past forty-one years.  I am ever mindful that First Nations Art was the banner exhibition that started it all.  Prior to this exhibition there was no annual presentation of contemporary First Nations Art of any kind.  Over its near forty year run these walls have displayed the works of Norval Morriseau, Daphne Odjig, Blake Debassige, Carl Beam, R.G. Miller, Shelley Niro, and so many others.  The creative promise of tomorrow is within these walls, and the pages of this catalogue.


- Naomi Johnson, Artistic Director

This excerpt is taken from the First Nations Art 2013 catalogue, which is available at the Woodland Cultural Centre.  First Nations Art 2013 is on display from  May 24 and runs until July 26, 2013.  The above image features Joseph Francis and his work "We Are Watching", this photo was taken at the opening reception May 24th.