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We Are On Treaty Land exhibition acknowledges traditional territory

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is located on the traditional territory of Treaty No.1 and homeland of the Métis.

Aboriginal curatorial resident Jaimie Isaac curates her first exhibition at Winnipeg Art Gallery

The Pagan, 1996, by Lita Fontaine. Acrylic, collage on wood. Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. (Winnipeg Art Gallery)

For my first show as the Canada Council's curatorial resident at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), I curated an exhibition from this collection, so it was a challenge to decide on what to exhibit.

I wanted to think about where the WAG is situated geographically; it is located on the traditional territory of Treaty No.1 and homeland of the Métis.

In acknowledgement and honour of that, the We Are On Treaty Land exhibition includes indigenous artists that are from the territory, have responded to the territory or are related to the territory in a meaningful way.

The artists selected for We Are On Treaty Land supports the need to seek knowledge about where we come from and where we are today based on our shared histories. Their significant work provides a means to explore cultural identity and cosmologies, treaty relations, racism, stereotypes, cultural survival, resistance and humour.

Here are just three of the artists featured in this new exhibition:

Robert Houle

Premises for Self Rule: Treaty No. 1, 1994. Acrylic, photo emulsion, vinyl lettering on canvas, collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Winnipeg Art Gallery)
Robert Houle is an Anishnaabe artist, curator, educator and member of Sandy Bay First Nation in Treaty No. 1 Territory, now living in Toronto.

His work Premises for Self-Rule: Treaty No.1 is one of five from the series. This work provides a response and record of active presence of Indigenous Peoples at the signing of the Treaty No.1 on August 3, 1871. It provides a reflection on agency and self-determination.

KC Adams

Indian Princess, from Cyborg Hybrid, by KC Adams (artist in photo), from the series Banff, 2005. Digital print on paper. Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. (Winnipeg Art Gallery)
KC Adams is an Anishnaabe/Metis artist and art educator from Selkirk, Treaty No.1 Territory, now living in Winnipeg.

Adams' Cyborg Hybrids series, and more recently her Perception series, have garnered significant critical attention.

Lita Fontaine

The Pagan, 1996, by Lita Fontaine. Acrylic, collage on wood. Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. (Winnipeg Art Gallery)
Lita Fontaine is a Dakota/Anishnaabe artist and art educator born in Portage La Prairie, Treaty No. 1 Territory, now living in Winnipeg. She currently is the artist-in-residence for the Seven Oaks School Division in Winnipeg.

Fontaine's media includes photography, painting and collage. Her work The Pagan is part of her Spiritual People series. This work reflects Indigenous culture and racism existing from colonization that has informed her experiences.


This blog post has been edited for length. Jaimie Isaac is the newly appointed aboriginal curatorial resident at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. 

We Are On Treaty Land runs to May 22, 2016, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.