Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada has planned a summer exhibition that pulls together work by indigenous artists from all over the world.
The NGC plans an ambitious show every summer hoping to boost its ticket sales with visits by tourists visiting the capital. In the past, these blockbuster shows have focused on artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Caravaggio.
But this year the gallery turns to some of the art that forms the backbone of its own collections, showcasing 75 indigenous artists from around the world with an exhibit titled Sakahan, meaning "to light a fire" in the language of the Algonquin people.
Sakahan: International Indigenous Art pulls together art by some of the most controversial and renowned contemporary artists in Australia, New Zealand, Guatemala, Greenland, Samoa, Taiwan and 10 other countries.
Rebecca Belmore, known for her darkly humourous installations, sculptor Brian Jungen, renowned for his native masks made of sneakers, and Annie Pootoogook, whose vivid drawings show contemporary Inuit life, are among the artists who will represent Canada.
The show also includes works by Jimmie Durham, an American indigenous artist now living in Europe, sculptor Michael Parekowhai of New Zealand and Teresa Margolles of Mexico, whose recent art has focused on violence in northern Mexico.
NGC curator Greg Hill said he collaborated with an international advisory committee to choose the works in a collaborative effort that extended over the past three years.
Marie Watt, a part Seneca artist from in Portland, Ore., will be creating a new installation during the show.
Entitled Blanket Stories: Seven Generations, Adawe, and Hearth, it will feature columns of stacked blankets reflecting the teachings of seven generations. Members of the public can trade a blanket and share their stories with the artist who will incorporate their story into her installation.
Indigenous artists who have yet to receive exposure in North America, including Toru Kaizawa of Japan, Venkat Raman Singh Shyam of India and Outi Pieski of Finland will also be part of the exhibit.
Sakahan will run May 17 to Sept. 2, 2013.