A new exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, co-curated by a well-known Woodland artist from northwestern Ontario, explores Anishinaabeg history and culture through art.

Anishinaabeg: Art & Power, opens on June 17, and will feature paintings, beading, and historical objects such as clothing and tools, brought together to illustrate a rich Indigenous history over several hundred years.  

Mother Earth and Her Children

Mother Earth and Her Children, 1975, by Carl Ray of Sandy Lake First Nation in northern Ont. (Royal Ontario Museum)

Artist Saul Williams, from North Caribou Lake First Nation, was one of three curators who worked on the exhibit.

He said he hopes the exhibit will help to preserve Indigenous teachings and culture.

"We're losing our culture every day. Our language every day. And we've got to do something about it to keep them," he said.

Williams said he also hopes the display will instill a sense of pride and empowerment in young Indigenous people who see it. 

Floral beaded woolen vest

Floral beaded woolen vest, 1890. Items of clothing and artifacts such as moccasins, tikinaagens and friendship bags will be on display. (Royal Ontario Museum)

The exhibit will include beadwork dating as far back to the late 1800s, and objects originating from Ontario, Quebec, Minnesota and the prairies, but the focus isn't solely on the past. 

Williams said the organizers took care to make sure that new and emerging artists will also be represented. 

Anishinaabeg: Art & Power will be on display at the ROM until November 19.

White Women and Their Plants

White Women and Their Plants, 1978, by Saul Williams, a Woodland artist from North Caribou Lake First Nation and a co-curator of the exhibit, will also be on display. (Royal Ontario Museum)