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EVENTS

Exhibition Opening | Faye HeavyShield, Santiago Mostyn and Bryce Singer



February 29, 08:00pm - 10:00pm
Join us for the opening reception of our newest exhibitions:
Faye HeavyShield | Clan
Santiago Mostyn | Grass Widows
Bryce Singer | Abided with His Children
 
Saturday, February 29
8-10 PM
Free and everyone is welcome to attend.

Faye HeavyShield | Clan
 
Clan was developed without predetermination from the artist, but rather by unfolding itself organically. Faye HeavyShield engages in a dialogue with the ways the idea presents itself, and through this process the idea is distilled to reveal its true form, its essence. Like the land in which it takes place, the idea isn’t fenced in or restricted. It is free to become what it will be, and in that way, it is like the river or the valley. They are in a constant state of change, yet they are what they are. The resulting artwork reflects exactly that. 
 
Land and time are the materials with which Faye HeavyShield is working. Gestures are made without permanent implications to the land, while recognizing that the land itself is in perpetual flux. The work alludes to the impermanence of the womens’ presence in the land as well as the transient nature of the land itself. The state of the land at the time of production becomes part of the work: the weather, the temperature, the sky, the sounds. Playful acts are made through space and time, land and gesture. Relations are also implied – kinship among each other and, perhaps more essentially, kinship to the land. Communications between the women and the land are expressed through their actions. The physical connection is what is being expressed; deeper meanings or statements are open to interpretation from the viewer.
 
Clan resists categorization, distorting the borders between determined classifications for art practices and media: site-specificity, performance, video, photography, documentary, textiles, installation, sculpture. It is not restricted by any of these labels, and yet encompasses elements of them.
 
The exhibition includes an Into the Streets public artwork, a photographic mural of Kainai waterways by Faye HeavyShield, A river is a river but it is never the same. 
 
Curated by Kristy Trinier and Kylie Fineday 
 
Photography assistance by Blaine Campbell 
 
Faye HeavyShield is a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy from the Kainai (Blood) Nation in the foothills of Southern Alberta. She is a fluent speaker of the Blackfoot language and studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta. The landscape of HeavyShield’s home community near Stand Off, Alberta is evident in her continuous use of natural materials and imagery found in her minimalist works. HeavyShield has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across the Canada, including Nations in Urban Landscapes at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, BC, rock paper river at Gallery Connexion, Fredericton, NB, Into the Garden of Angels at The Power Plant in Toronto, ON and blood at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery. Her work is found in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the McMichael Museum, Alberta Foundation of Art and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ, MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, SK and the Kelowna Art Gallery, BC.
 
Kylie Fineday is a multi-disciplinary Cree artist from Sweetgrass First Nation, Saskatchewan. Her art practice focuses on themes of identity and family, as well as addressing social issues and injustices, particularly those affecting Indigenous people in Canada. She is currently completing her BFA at the University of Lethbridge. She has exhibited her work in various institutions in Lethbridge, Alberta, and has also curated art exhibits for the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, and FLIP Fest, a non-profit organization, and recently co-curated the exhibition Of Surroundings at the SAAG with Kristy Trinier. 

Santiago Mostyn | Grass Widows 
 
Straw is preceded by fresh green grass. For this reason, I will begin with grass widows. Nowadays a woman is called a grass widow whose husband had to leave home (for example, obliged to work far away from his family). Alternatively, she may be a divorced woman or a woman living apart from her husband. In all those cases she is not really a widow, but not quite a married woman either. 
                       —Grass Widows and Straw Men, Anatoly Liberman
 
Santiago Mostyn weaves a narrative that echoes over generations, the restless urge to set out in search of a better life, and the reverberating consequences of these journeys. Grass Widows collects these as blades of stasis amongst disparate paths of migration, within a knotted contemporaneous context of those who fled persecution, those who left to build a new utopic community, and those who set out on paths of discovery, profit and adventure.  
 
Mostyn’s detailed research includes archival images from the estate of school teacher Prentice G. Downes, following his inland travels in the subarctic north. Centred in the space are floating and translucent images marking the lost first generations of the Black homesteaders’ community at Amber Valley, a group of families who fled racial hostility in Oklahoma for Athabasca. The experience is resonant to Mostyn’s childhood departure from America for a liberated Grenada and Zimbabwe; a reverse-diasporic journey described by the artist’s father, Akinyele Sadiq as: “sharing in the excitement, frustrations, struggles, failures and successes of a people digging their way out of 400 years of slavery, colonialism, exploitation and degradation.”
 
From the perspective of what resides amongst a waiting “displacement or at least in-betweenness”, Mostyn’s recent works Altarpiece and Red Summer Edit parenthetically lie aside a Cordyline fruticosa plant, traditionally used to mark land boundaries in the island of Tobago. Situated in front of an intentionally re-opened gallery view towards the Canadian winter landscape, bathing under the dystopic encouragement of simulated sunlight, the Rayo plant is representative for the solitary view of these surrounding works, dense in their criticality of globalized and systemic colonial forces of oppression, and the ‘impossibility of return’ for those who continue to seek fertile ground.  
 
Curated by Kristy Trinier 
 
Santiago Mostyn (b. 1981) makes films, installations and performances that test the divide between disparate cultural spheres, employing an intuitive process to engage with a knowledge and history grounded equally in the body and the rational mind. He is based in Sweden but maintains strong ties to Zimbabwe and Trinidad & Tobago, the countries of his upbringing. Mostyn co-curated the Moderna Exhibition 2018: With the Future Behind Us, Moderna Museet’s survey of contemporary art in Sweden, and has exhibited widely at venues including the Rencontres de Bamako (2019), Gothenburg Biennial (2017), Moderna Museet (2016), Kunsthall Stavanger (2014), and Malmö Konsthall (2013). Recent exhibitions include Not a Single Story II at Wanås Konst, Survival Kit 10.1 at LCCA Riga, and The Measure of All Things: On the (In)Human at Lunds Konsthall.
 
Everyone and everything is so far away. […] I am ‘camped’ under an old canoe in the bushes. I have thought -not much- of the past year. To crucify oneself a little on the long portages, to be in the bush, is a salutary thing. I must change next year and tie to something. Just drifting. Maybe E.G. will be the answer. I am tremendously fond of her. If they would only really give me something back …which I had to reach to. Well, I go north somehow soon. I am coming back – and if fate somehow breaks the other way, maybe nitchimos E.G. may somehow know how much her letter meant to me.
 
To Great Slave and Great Bear: P.G. Downes’ Journal of Travels North from Île-à-la-Crosse in 1938 [Part II]. R.H. Cockburn, Arctic, Artic Institute of North America, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Sept., 1985) p. 233. 

Bryce Singer | Abided with His Children
 
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.

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