Exhibitionists·Video

How Dee Barsy pays homage to her four grandmothers in a single painting

The artist explores the interconnectedness of family at the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Insurgence/Resurgence exhibit.

The artist explores the interconnectedness of family at Winnipeg's Insurgence/Resurgence exhibit

Painter Dee Barsy is featured in Winnipeg Art Gallery's Insurgence/Resurgence exhibit. (Ice River Films)

Winnipeg-based Indigenous painter Dee Barsy had four grandmothers; two from birth and two from her adopted family. After her paternal grandmother died last year on Mother's Day, Barsy poured her emotions on canvas to create her painting Four Grandmothers.

"That space that I was in emotionally influenced the painting," says Barsy. The result, Four Grandmothers, depicts five separate yet delicately connected shapes representing her interconnectedness between her birth and adopted family.

Watch the video:

Painter Dee Barsy explores the interconnectedness of family at the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Insurgence/Resurgence exhibit. 3:46

In this video produced by Ice River Films for CBC Arts and CBC Indigenous, Barsy reflects about how her feeling state helped to create her painting. The background of the painting is a light baby blue. Barsy muses that it could represent open space. "If I were to overthink my paintings, they would lose some of their feeling," says Barsy. "They would lose some of their authenticity, maybe."

Barsy's work is part of Winnipeg Art Gallery's largest contemporary Indigenous art exhibit, Insurgence/Resurgence. The exhibition features 29 artists from across the country with installations ranging from photography, sculptures, painting, beading, tufting, sound and performance art. 

Dee Barsy's painting Four Grandmothers is on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery until April 22, 2018. (Ice River Films)

This is the first in a series of videos profiling the artists featured in Insurgence/Resurgence. The series is a collaboration between CBC Arts and CBC Indigenous. Check out the rest of the series here.

Insurgence/Resurgence is on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery until April 22, 2018.

Watch CBC Arts: Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 11:30pm (12am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.

About the Author

Based out of Winnipeg, Ice River Films is a small crew of videographers and documentary filmmakers that have worked with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and The Dufresne Group. They’ve also worked on pieces for CBC, APTN, Smithsonian Channel, Bloomberg TV and MTS.