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THE NEXT 7 DAYS:     EVENTS (10)     +     OPENINGS (10)     +     DEADLINES (2)     +     CLOSINGS (14)
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Decolonize Me | Décolonisez-moi
Sept. 23 – Nov. 20 2011

Sonny Assu (Laich-kwil-tach [Kwakwaka'wakw] | Vancouver), Jordan Bennett (Mi'kmaq | Stephenville Crossing, Newfoundland), Cheryl L'Hirondelle (Métis / Cree | Toronto), Nigit'stil Norbert (Gwich'in | Yellowknife), Barry Pottle (Inuit | Nunatsiavut, Labrador), and Bear Witness (Cayuga | Ottawa)

Decolonize Me features six contemporary Aboriginal artists whose works challenge, interrogate and reveal Canada's long history of colonization in daring and innovative ways. Deliberately riffing on the title of Morgan Spurlock's film, the pop-cultural phenomenon Super Size Me (2004), the exhibition's title emphasizes the importance of recognizing the role of the individual within larger discussions of shared colonial histories and present-day cultural politics. In the context of the recent efforts of many Indigenous communities to assert their sovereignty and right to self-determination, the artists in this exhibition explore the issues and outcomes of both colonization and decolonization while exposing how these processes have impacted Aboriginal and settler Canadian identity, both individual and collective.

Decolonize Me addresses how these dual processes have impacted and continue to affect how Canadians and Aboriginal peoples view themselves and define their relationships to one another. Through the work of these six artists, the exhibition explores not only themes of past wrongdoings, but also strategies for reclaiming Aboriginal voice. Furthermore, the exhibition honours those traditions and ancestors whose memories have endured despite centuries of aggressive colonial practices. This is done through an examination of the specific ways that diverse Aboriginal groups have experienced colonialism and the approaches these distinct peoples currently employ to restore and revitalize their communities, lives and practices.

While focused on Canada's own history, the exhibition participates in the growing global anti-colonial movement and the ongoing transnational conversation by artists and other Indigenous peoples. Decolonize Me seeks to make visible the history and legacies of our shared colonial past while highlighting the resilience of Aboriginal communities and acknowledging the politics of resistance that have sustained Indigenous cultures through to the present day. As such, it invites the visitor to consider the ways in which they are also implicated in this history, not as perpetrators or victims, but as active participants with agency and a shared responsibility, to borrow a phrase from First Nations philosophy, to "all our relations."


      - Heather Igloliorte (Inuit | Nunatsiavut, Labrador), curator

Funded by l Projet financé par : 

Ontario Arts Council          RBC Foundation

The Ontario Arts Council is an agency of the Government of Ontario | Le Conseil des arts de l'Ontario relève du gouvernement de l'Ontario.


Takao Tanabe
The Seasons | Les saisons

Sept. 10 – Nov. 13 2011 

Whether the artist works directly from nature, from memory, or from fantasy, nature is always the source of his creative impulses.[1]

—Hans Hofmann, 1948

Artistically, New York City was the place to be in the early 1950s. Young artists flocked there, turning dusty lofts into studios and congregating at places like the Cedar Bar to exchange ideas. Born near Prince Rupert, BC, in 1926, Takao Tanabe graduated from the Winnipeg School of Art in 1949. By 1951, he was in New York, immersed in the world of Abstract Expressionism, studying under famed artist Hans Hofmann, and associating with important artists like Franz Kline.

Although Tanabe's paintings were non-objective, they still referenced the natural world. This set him apart from Montreal and New York painters focused on purely formal experiments. His first coherent body of work—known as the "white paintings"—was his contribution to the landscape-based lyrical abstraction that came to define Vancouver painting after the 1959 exhibition 7 West Coast Painters. Rather than direct observation, Tanabe and other artists, such as Gordon Smith and Jack Shadbolt, used the landscape as an inspiration for more introspective explorations of a universal sense of place, time, or being.

As part of a series exploring the broader careers of artists collected by O.J. and Isobel Firestone, this exhibition features sections from The Seasons (1966), a large mural executed by Tanabe at the invitation of architect Hart Massey for the Sir John Carling Building. This building was originally designed as the headquarters for the Department of Agriculture on the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, but has since been condemned and the mural is awaiting relocation. Tanabe created the mural while exploring hard-edged, geometric abstraction. After a decade of living and studying in the United States, Europe, and Japan, he was increasingly interested in geometric shapes, flat spatial planes, perspective, and bold colours realised in a range of mediums. The Seasons clearly demonstrates all these techniques, while still remaining faithful to lyrical marks and references to the natural world. By the 1970s, Tanabe had begun to paint recognisable landscapes, a practice he continues to this day. Over the course of five decades, Tanabe's artistic practice has shifted dramatically, and thus exemplifies the versatility of landscape painting as both subject matter and source of inspiration. One of Canada's most accomplished artists, he currently lives and works in British Columbia.

—Catherine Sinclair, Curator

Presenting Partner | En partenariat avec : The Ottawa Citizen


The Near and the Far
Chris St. Amand

MFA Thesis Exhibition
September 1-27, 2011 

The Ottawa Art Gallery is pleased to co-collaborate with the University of Ottawa to present M.F.A. Candidate Chris St. Amand's thesis exhibition, The Near and the Far, which investigates themes of remoteness and displacement. In his artistic practice, St. Amand explores the psychological impact of isolated landscapes, and attempts to represent this in an experiential way for the viewer.

Co-Collaborators: The University of Ottawa & The Ottawa Art Gallery


ART Rental & Sales
Norman Takeuchi: On the Edges of Noh

Sept. 20-Oct. 15 2011


Will Work For Food
Community Arts Project led by artist Jennifer Cook

Worker's Lunch
Celebrate the Harvest with us!
October 14, 2011 at 12 p.m.

2 avenue Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON, K1N 6E2



[1] Hans Hofmann, quoted in Theories of Modern Art, ed. Herschel B. Chipp (Berkley: University of California Press, 1968), 536.





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