Native artists presented at Art Toronto this weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Center say the amount and variety of native works at the art fair show its diversity.
Over 60 galleries will participate in the fair, with five galleries exclusively representing original creators and 22 galleries displaying works by various original artists. There will also be a virtual component online from October 29th to November 7th.
One of the show’s featured artists is Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, a British Columbia Haida artist. He will show three works.
Two are studies of classic Haida icons, multicolored works on paper. The third work is from a series called Copper from the Hood. They are made from recycled helmets, covered in copper and decorated with Haida designs. The series has been exhibited in several places, including the British Museum in London, England.
“I think a lot of the work that comes out of the classic idiom, ‘Indigenous Art,’ is our statement to a non-native audience,” he said.
“The reason they are statements is because of the Canadian history of relationships with indigenous nations. It is the lack of understanding that prevents us from truly appreciating the deeper nuance of native art.”
The Toronto artist has live performances
Maria Hupfield is a Toronto-based artist from Wasauksing First Nation who specializes in performance, sculpture and installations.
She will have a series of works in two different stands and will use a jingle necklace that will help her “speak” during live performances “interventions.”
She said it was a natural development for her to become an artist. Her parents met at the art school.
“It has always been a part of my reality,” she said.
“My father talked about Norval Morrisseau, my mother wanted to paint. In my family, I have a lot of people who are artistic and talented … this is just a part of everything that was around me in my life.”
Hupfield is also an assistant professor at the University of Toronto in Mississauga, where she runs Indigenous Creations Studio.
Heiltsuk artist’s works inspired by heritage
A Heiltsuk artist from Waglisla (Bella Bella), BC, now living in Sechelt, Shawn Hunt said he grew up in a family of artists and now carries on the tradition in his own family.
“I never made a decision to become an artist,” he said.
“Now that I look back on it, I realized I was an artist all my life. All I created was art. That’s what I was for, I drew every day, all day and kept doing it. all my life. I can see it in my kids now. “
Hunt has two paintings and a sculpture at this weekend’s art fair.
His paintings use what is called a formline style, which is a design principle in the northwest coast. Hunt also adds different elements to each cut, making it even more multidimensional.
“Looking west here, the way our people lived, we had art on everything,” he said.
“Everything we did had an element of art in it, so I mean, why shouldn’t we be good at this?”
Hunt said he hopes the fair will help showcase diversity and possibly dispel some myths about indigenous peoples and their art.
“Above all, having so much work out there will strengthen our voices.”