Bryce Singer   Abided with His Children

February 29, 2020 - April 26, 2020

In his first solo exhibition project, Bryce Singer brings his distinctive ink drawing style to the oral histories of various Blackfoot peoples. Reading from Beverly Hungry Wolf’s The Ways of My Grandmothers and Percy Bullchild’s The Sun Came Down, Singer reformulates these histories through illustration. Written records of oral histories sought to preserve the stories in a manner that was both corrective and instructive. Singer’s visuals continue the teachings disseminated within Blackfoot culture, just as in Bullchild’s words, “The Sun came down and abided with his children in many instances to talk with them.”

As the first artist to participate in the Art Library Project, Singer inserts images of familial and oral histories often forgotten and undervalued by the library context. Creating images of these subjects is important to Singer as he states, “I am inspired by Blackfoot oral histories because it not only helps me to understand my grandparent’s history and culture but it helps me to be conscious of my own identity and health.”

Using graphite and ink, Singer methodically creates tone and colour through a detailed, pointillist technique. In terms of colour choice, the prevalence of vermillion and yellow ochre is deliberate for Singer. Not only is the reduction to two hues part of the artist’s method, but it connects his work to a long lineage of human symbology. Evidence of the use of ochre spans 60,000 years and its changing symbolic uses chart important evolutions in human cognition.

Curated by Adam Whitford, Curatorial and Publications Coordinator

Bryce Singer is an emerging self-taught artist from the Blood Tribe Reserve in Southern Alberta.He uses mixed media work to explore his identity and his role as a Niitsitapi. His Blackfoot name, Mano’taanikaapi, means First Grandchild, and is an important part of his identity. His artwork aims to build an understanding of his culture and history, as well as a relationship to the land. His graphic style is influenced by the works of Indigenous storyteller and artist Dave Auger, as well as illustrator Paul Goble. He also takes inspiration from literary works such as, My People, The Bloods by Mike Mountain Horse, and The Ways of My Grandmothers by Beverly Hungry Wolf.

SAAG Art Library Project: Beginning in 2020, the SAAG will present exhibitions as in-situ interventions within our art library. The Art Library Project will feature a diverse selection of artworks and mediums from regional contemporary artists. Artists are invited to think of the library as a unique exhibition context by investigating the SAAG’s programming around readership, publications, and its place within Lethbridge’s historic Carnegie library, which opened in 1922. Artists are encouraged to consider the physical architecture of the library and its material holdings, responding to a broader and generative idea of what a library might be, as they change and adapt to new forms of knowledge production.

Image credit: Bryce Singer, Old Man, Napi, Ink on paper, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

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