New Brunswick

Indigenous artists the focus of new exhibit at Government House

A new exhibit in Fredericton, titled Peace, Friendship, Culture, showcases 22 pieces recently acquired by the New Brunswick Art Bank, all produced by First Nations artists.

Peace, Friendship, Culture showcases pieces recently acquired by province's art bank

Maliseet artists G. Wayne Brooks and Kim Brooks with the birchbark hat they created together. The piece is part of a new exhibit of Indigenous art at Government House in Fredericton, which showcases works by 17 First Nations artists.

A new exhibit in Fredericton aims to highlight some of the best work First Nations artists in New Brunswick have to offer.

The exhibit, titled Peace, Friendship, Culture, showcases 22 pieces recently acquired by the New Brunswick Art Bank.

It opened at Government House, the official residence of the lieutenant governor of New Brunswick, on Wednesday evening.

A photograph by Belinda Levi hanging in the exhibit in Government House, which opened Wednesday evening. (Ed Hunter/CBC )

The exhibit showcases works in a variety of media from both established and emerging artists, some of whom incorporated cultural elements such as sweetgrass, sinew, and birch bark into their pieces.

The pieces were acquired through a call put out exclusively to First Nations artists as part of Canada 150, said Caroline Walker, manager of the art bank.

A new exhibit of Indigenous art at Government House in Fredericton showcases works by 17 New Brunswick artists. (Ed Hunter/CBC )

Twenty-seven artists responded to the call for applications. Out of that pool, a jury of Indigenous artists chose 22 works by 17 of the artists.

A birchbark hat made by couple G. Wayne Brooks and Kim Brooks was one of these 22 works. 

Their family has been working with birchbark for generations, and have a long tradition of building birchbark canoes.

To have the work that they've been doing for so long be showcased in this way "speaks volumes," G. Wayne Brooks said. 

"It feels like, finally, our work is being recognized, and the things we do for our family and our friends, and when we go and speak on behalf of our work, it's finally being recognized," he said. 

Expands art bank collection 

Caroline Walker is the manager of the New Brunswick Art Bank. (Ed Hunter/CBC )

While the art bank had a few works by First Nations artists, this call has expanded its collection "tremendously," Walker said.

Walker said she hopes the exhibit will encourage First Nations artists in New Brunswick to continue to submit pieces to the province's acquisitions program.

"They are as big a part of New Brunswick as other artists that are already in the collection," she said.

Lt.-Gov. ‎Jocelyne Roy Vienneau said she was honoured to host the exhibit at Government House and to give the public an opportunity to learn more about First Nations' culture firsthand.

The exhibit, entitled Peace, Friendship, Culture, highlights 22 pieces recently acquired by the New Brunswick Art Bank. 0:54