Increasingly, I've come to believe that understanding FNMI culture, and in particular the consequences and lasting effects of Contact, are best understood through the Art of those themselves part of this oppressed group. And, determined to do my own small part and take responsibility as a Canadian citizen called to action by the TRC report, I want to teach my own children as much as I know (which is admittedly very little) about the real "old stock Canadians"!
So, this afternoon, Simon, Alex and I visited "Debwewin" (or, "Truth"), a free, curated FNMI show that was put on as part of Myseum of Toronto's "Intersections" exhibit across the city. Dr. Duke Redbird, the curator of the show being housed in a small, cozy room in the bowels of Eastern Commerce CI in the city's east end, gave us a tour of the eclectic collection of prints, paintings and sculptures that featured works by Norval Morriseau and also lesser known Ojibway, Cree and other artists. He wove the individual pieces together into a magnificent and accessible account of FNMI culture, history and spirituality.
Below is a selection of some of the many artworks we saw. An exhibition catalog was also made available for visitors.
The boys and I were very moved by what we saw and learned, and walked away significantly richer than we arrived. The show runs until March 17th, with another curated tour by Redbird at noon on the 17th.