In The Making

Witness the beginning of a new artistic collaboration between Adrian Stimson and AA Bronson

Two very different family histories brought these artists together. Watch a clip from In the Making.

Two very different family histories brought these artists together. Watch a clip from In the Making

Adrian Stimson (right) and AA Bronson at the Glenbow Museum archives in Calgary. (CBC Arts)

Before you watch this clip from Adrian Stimson's episode of In the Makingit's worth revisiting the story behind this photograph — a piece called "Sketches of Indian Life" that CBC Arts talked to Stimson about earlier this year.

That's the artist front and centre, in character as his alter ego Buffalo Boy. Standing at the front of a residential school classroom, he's frozen in shock and horror. It's meant to "recreate that surprise of not only being photographed, but also that sense of, 'Where the heck am I?'" Stimson told CBC Arts. "You've been taken out of your home, you're put in these institutions and it's so foreign to what you're used to in your life." And in putting the piece together, Stimson drew from a historical photo: a picture taken in 1892 at a school on the artist's home territory of Sisika Nation.

"Children at North Camp School, Blackfoot Reserve, Gleichen Area, Alberta, 1892, Collection of Glenbow NA 1934-1" (Courtesy of Glenbow Archives)

As he told us at the time: "I may be related to a number of people in this photograph." And there's another another artist with a very different connection to that photo — which is where this video comes in.

Before In the Making arrived in Alberta to shoot the episode, Stimson had been in touch with AA Bronson, a founding member of the influential art collective General Idea.

Bronson's great-grandfather, Rev. John William Tims, was the first Anglican missionary to arrive in Sisika Nation. He built the first residential school in the area. That's him, in fact, standing at the back of that classroom photo from 1892.

So, Bronson reached out to Stimson with a proposal. He wanted to collaborate on a new artwork, something that would serve as an apology to the Blackfoot people.

In this clip, we meet the duo inside the archives of Calgary's Glenbow Museum, as they reveal the family histories that have brought them together.

Says Stinson in the video: "I'm very suspicious of the whole reconciliation process and stuff like that, and not to dismiss a lot of the good work that's occurred, but I think the actual sort of absorption of it by the general Canadian public has still not happened. So I look from an artistic perspective, that this process is that rebuilding of our histories together."

Watch the clip:

The family history behind Adrian Stimson and AA Bronson's collaboration

5 years ago
Duration 2:36
In the Making host Sean O'Neill visits artists Adrian Stimson and AA Bronson at Calgary's Glenbow Museum.

What is In the Making?

In the Making is an immersive journey inside the creative process. The documentary series follows host Sean O'Neill across the country and around the world alongside some of Canada's leading artists as they bring new work to life and face pivotal moments of risk and reward. All eight episodes are available to stream online now, with individual episodes broadcasting weekly each Friday at 8:30pm (9pm NT) on CBC.

Each episode follows an artist from across the creative spectrum — visual art, film, music, dance, theatre — with a unique approach to art-making and something to say about the world. Sean visits artists at home, in studio, backstage, and in the field, giving viewers rare access to intimate creative spaces and inspiring moments of realization.

Watch the trailer:

Stream every episode of In the Making now, or watch Friday at 8:30pm (9pm NT) on CBC TV.