The image of Father's Day often evokes warm and fuzzy feelings of togetherness, cute cards, playing ball and family barbecues.
But what if there was no father in the picture? Or what if the father was absent in other ways?
Artist Jeff Thomas's relationship with his father was not positive, and he never really thought about the importance of having a role model. But when his son presented him with a Father's Day card a few years ago, expressing how he felt about him, he was suddenly inspired to contemplate his role as a father.
"It was very inspiring to know I was such a role model in his life," he says.
The result of his ruminations is a new photography exhibit called Father's Day which opened at Urban Shaman Gallery on April 27. It explores what the absence of a male role model means in the Aboriginal community.
Thomas was also inspired by his 2002 curatorial project Where are the Children? Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools.
"It's about conversations," he explains.
His work is built upon historical research with photographs and paintings from the past that depict very strong Aboriginal presence. Then he juxtaposes those images with his own, thus having a conversation with an artist from the past.