Toronto-based artist Sara Angelucci is the AGO artist-in-residence from November 20, 2013, to January 20, 2014, and we’re so happy to share her work with you. Working primarily with photography, video and audio, Angelucci incorporates archival materials such as home movies, snapshots, and vintage portraits into her work and recently has turned her focus to research on endangered and extinct North American bird species.
During her time at the AGO, Angelucci will explore works from our Canadian collection, particularly those with Canadian nature, aviary and forestry subjects. She’s planned a number of initiatives that will activate this research and provide points of engagement for AGO visitors and for staff, including:
a performance in February entitled A Mourning Chorus and featuring a cappella singing that will explore the sounds of disappearing North American song-birds through the historic framework of women’s public mourning rituals;
the installation of two works from Angelucci’s Aviary from November to February 2014 in our Canadian galleries;
a Meet the Artist talk in January, when she will talk to artists Spring Hurlbut and Marla Hlady about their work; and
a panel discussion, also in January, entitled “Art & Ideas: A bird’s eye view on art & extinction,” to be followed by a three-course meal served in FRANK restaurant, specially prepared by executive chef Jeff Dueck in consultation with Angelucci.
As Angelucci settles into the artist-in-residence studio in the Weston Family Learning Centre, we wanted to know what inspired these plans. Here, she offers insight into her practice and its relation to the environment, her fascination with birds and her approach to residencies.
AGO: Do you consider yourself an environmental activist/conservationist as well as an artist?
Sara Angelucci: It is unfair to the true activists out there to call myself that. But, like many people, I’m deeply concerned about what is happening to the environment and in recent years the problems seem to be accelerating as we see weather conditions around the world becoming more extreme.
Where did your interest in songbirds come from? Do you have a personal connection or did you grow interested in them through your practice/research?
I’ve always loved birds and thought they were beautiful. I think a number of things have brought me to thinking about them in a more focused way. I have been spending more isolated time in the countryside and watching them there. Also, in my recent photographic series Aviary I combined images of endangered and extinct North American birds (which I photographed in the ornithology collection at the ROM) with images of anonymous cartes-de-visite.
Although the process by which I came to making this connection is a long one to explain, I think there are interesting overlaps between the craze for collecting cartes-de-visite in the 19th century and the craze for collecting natural specimens. Aviaries become hugely popular at this time, as did taxidermy. The Victorian parlour was a place where both the photographic album and these specimens came together. With this project I’ve been doing a lot of reading on birds and the challenges they face today, which include habitat destruction and pesticides amongs other things.
How do the actions of your residency — the installation of your Aviary portraits, the talks and special meal in FRANK, the chorus — relate to and inform one another?
All of these projects are an attempt to contemplate our relationship to the birds, and by way of extension, the natural world, in a directly embodied way. When we are implicated in a direct way, by combining images of the bird/human, through what we eat, or through the human voice, we cannot separate ourselves from nature. I feel very strongly that one of the reasons we are in such dire straits environmentally is that as humans we see ourselves as apart [from] or above nature. This disconnection is very dangerous for the earth, its species and, ultimately, for us and we are seeing its catastrophic implications.
Do you plan to continue to produce work related to these themes after your residency?
It’s hard to say. At the moment I am very focused on the projects at hand. It’s highly possible that I will, but I try not to get too far ahead of myself on projects.
You’ve done a number of residencies, at NSCAD (Halifax), the Banff Centre, and at Biz-Art in Shanghai – how does the AGO’s program differ from the others you’ve experienced? Did you do localized research during those residencies that influenced your practice afterward?
They have all been extremely different. In each case I have tried to think about what I can do which is special to that place, the people I encounter there and my interests. It sometimes takes a little while to figure that out.
The residency in Shanghai was in some ways the most challenging and so far the most fulfilling. China was a complete culture shock, and I was extremely jetlagged for a good week. So it took me some time to find my footing, and I couldn’t speak to many people. It was very interesting to be silent. You have to find different ways of communicating and making yourself understood. And you have to use keen observation to figure things out.
At the AGO I feel like I’m in luxury. There is so much going on at the gallery that I am invited to be a part of, and so much support for what I want to do. Everyone has been incredibly welcoming, and the resources at hand for an artist are amazing — from technical support to research and curatorial support. Also, it’s my hometown, so it is exciting to be sharing this experience with my family, students and friends as it is unfolding.
David Bowie is opening night. Photo by Dean Tomlinson/Art Gallery of Ontario.
Toronto can’t get enough of David Bowie. In response to overwhelming public demand, we’re extending the exhibition David Bowie is yet again, by two days, marking an unprecedented third round of extensions. Originally set to close this Wednesday, the exhibition will now run until Friday, Nov. 29, at 8:30 p.m.
Praised as “essential viewing for superfans” by blogTO, the smash hit exhibition from London’s acclaimed Victoria and Albert Museum was previously expanded twice to include evening hours on several weekdays and special Monday openings. Remaining hours for Bowie fans and pop-culture lovers to take in the experience include:
TODAY: Monday, Nov. 25 – special opening from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 26 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 27 – 10 a.m. to midnight
Thursday, Nov. 28 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and
Friday, Nov. 29 – 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Tickets are now on sale and can be booked in person, by phone at 416-979-6655 and online by visiting ago.net/david-bowie-is.
Regular-priced timed-entry tickets for David Bowie is are $21.50 for youth ages 17 and under, $26.50 for seniors and $30 for adults. Admission is FREE for AGO members and for children five and under.
By Sherry Phillips, Conservator of Contemporary and Inuit Art
One of the six bone porcelain tea cups, English, dated approx. 1822-30.
Tea Service (Conservators will wash the dishes)
Early 19th-century tea cups were temporarily removed from the AGO’s collection in order to be used for tea tastings by museum staff. Together, a group of conservators, a registrar, an interpretive planner, a curator, an artist and an art critic drank out of the re-animated cups, experiencing them through all of their senses and through shared conversation.
Three types of tea were served: Bai Hao Yin Zhen white tea (China), Tung Ting oolong (Taiwan) and a dark, 2001 Lahu Wild Trees 1,000-year-old Pu-erh (China). Before and after the action, a museum conservator washed the dishes. The action was documented by photography.
One of several meetings to determine if and how the cups would be used for the artwork.
Diane Borsato — artist, tea sommelier, beekeeper — brought her passion for tea and the culture around it to life in a unique way as part of her residency at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her initial request was simple: could we allow a museum artifact to become a functional object again? Part of my role as the conservation contact for the Artist-in-Residence program is to try and help the group realize the artists’ ideas during their stay.
The discussion leading up to the proposed tea was more complex and richer than anything we anticipated.
Diane wished to use a tea set from the Grange collection and host a tea for a small group of staff members. Tea time is something of a tradition within the Canadian conservation community so it seemed to be a good, if unorthodox, fit. The tea would occur in the Conservation department, where she imagined “mischievous” conservators might be tempted to use a museum tea cup. She would choose a selection of teas, brew them appropriately and serve them to the group in the cups; it would be an hour of tea tasting, experience and dialogue.
Conservators Sherry Phillips and Maria Sullivan examine the glazing under the microscope.
Long before we could even approve the tea project, a group consisting of the artist, the registrar, the historical site coordinator of the Grange, the deputy director of collections, the manager of Conservation and the manager of Artist-in-Residence program met in the library of the Grange to chat about the project potential.
Is an imaginary line crossed when an object transitions from an everyday practical object to a museum artifact? What does it mean to take an object back across that line, to have it become a practical object again, even for a short time? The group’s thoughts ranged from strong discomfort bordering on refusal to a very measured approval based on research, history and application of certain conditions. The Grange collection is slightly unusual within an art gallery context but typical for an interpretive historic site. Many of the pieces were collected specifically to animate the house and have no connection to the original Boulton family. While there may be monetary value inherent in the object, the meaning of these six English bone china teacups and saucers (circa 1830) within the Grange context is minimal.
Conservator Sherry Phillips “washing the dishes.”
Regardless, the cups and saucers are accessioned objects and part of the history of the Grange and the early days of the AGO. They are fragile. There are cracks and open inclusions (trapped impurities) in the lead-based glazes. A sudden exposure to high heat could cause damage, or a simple accident during the tea could result in breakage. Our conversation staff discussed all this and more during the initial meeting but at the end the project was approved by the group.
The cups and saucers were brought to the Conservation department like any artifact — placed in a shallow box in their most stable orientation, protected by acid-free tissue and supported by weighted bags. They did not travel as teacups, cup upright and on a saucer. We examined the cups for stability, then cleaned in preparation for the tea.
Jennifer Fisher and Maria Sullivan smelling the pu-erh tea leaves.
The tea was a great success. Conversation was engaging, lively and ran the gamut from the history of china manufacture in England and Chinese export ware to the servant-employer relationship in 19th-century Toronto homes, the history of collecting in museums and definitions of value, to tea-drinking customs and tea production. Diane invited a special guest, critic and York University professor Jennifer Fisher, who will be writing about the experience.
So, was the tea and experience somehow transformed by the presence and use of the Grange teacups and saucers? Without a doubt. The act of drinking was slower and more deliberate because the delicate cups demanded it but also because we were aware of the value and uniqueness of the experience. The tea was clear, clean, fragrant and we savoured every drop. I couldn’t help but notice that all the conservators in the group would carefully cradle their cups in their hands and lean in over the table as they sipped — we couldn’t shake the compulsion to prevent potential object damage. Others in the group were no less careful but seemed to be able to drink in a manner more closely resembling the natural use of a teacup. It did feel mischievous, but it was also a privilege; a simple tea cup, a piece of tangible history, reanimated, became the conduit for meaningful dialogue about the tangible and intangible or traditions and customs associated with the cup and the beverage.
Diane Borsato (left) and the group.
There was the sense that we were the first people to drink from the cups in 40 years and that we may be the last. We pondered the people who may have used the cups before us and the people who made the cups 180 years ago. A simple tea cup led to the unanimous assertion that objects are a real link to history. We wanted to find balance between preservation, potential risk and the cultivation of contemporary relevance.
At one point in the planning process Diane remarked that we were trying to have Toronto’s most difficult cup of tea. It wasn’t a straightforward cup of tea, but for one hour it was also Toronto’s most interesting cup of tea.
Curious about Conservation?
If you have a burning question about Conservation, leave a comment below. We’ll do our best to give you an answer in an upcoming Conservation Notes post.
Signature Partner of the AGO’s Conservation Program
As the days tick down until we have to say goodbye to David Bowie is, visitors continue to show their enthusiasm for the exhibition and some time slots, particularly on weekends, are selling out. To make it easier for visitors with busy schedules who are still trying to fit in a visit, we’ve added the following extended hours:
Friday, Nov. 15: open to 8:30 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 22: open to 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 25: special opening from 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 27: open until midnight (closing day)
In addition to these hours, we’re happy to offer additional discounted tickets for weekday time slots* and exhibition’s final day, Nov. 27, when $15 Wednesday-evening admission will extend to midnight.
Don’t miss out! Click here for tickets and here for more David Bowie is visitor tips.
*$5 off weekday time slots, Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; online orders only, ends at 4:05 p.m. on Nov. 22. Use code “WEEKDAY” to access the discount when purchasing tickets.
Ai Weiwei: According to What?, the ground-breaking and critically acclaimed exhibition of large-scale artworks that stopped at the AGO from Aug. 17 to Oct. 27, 2013, drew in 145,407 visitors during its 10-week run and fuelled an undeniable “Ai Weiwei moment” in Toronto. Almost a quarter of the exhibition’s audience was composed of first-time visitors at the AGO, responding to media commentary that According to What? “shouldn’t be missed” (Torontoist) and such praise as “This is what art is supposed to do” (NOW).
Everyone at the Gallery worked to make this exhibition interactive and engaging. We encouraged visitors to take photos and share their thoughts; at the September AGO First Thursdays event, we organized a live video chat between Ai Weiwei and AGO director and CEO Matthew Teitelbaum (watch); and, on Aug. 18, 2013, artistic director Gein Wong gathered close to 300 Chinese-speaking community members at the AGO to participate in Say Their Names, Remember, a performance commemorating thousands of children who died in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that inspired a number of Ai’s works. Ai’s work Snake Ceiling (2009), also a tribute to young victims of the Sichuan earthquake, was installed on the Gallery’s second level in April 2013 and remained in place until this month.
Toronto celebrated Ai Weiwei before and during the exhibition, too. Prior to the opening of Ai Weiwei: According to What? at the Gallery, Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads was installed in front of City Hall in Nathan Phillips Square, with the cooperation of the City of Toronto, and remained on display for almost three months, before Ai’s enormous installation Forever Bicycles (2011) took over the square for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2013. Toronto artist Sean Martindale‘s Love the Future: Free Ai Weiwei — an eight-foot-tall statue of the artist made from salvaged cardboard — greeted visitors at the entrance of the AGO through the run of the exhibition (learn more about the work here); at First Thursdays on Sept. 5, Martindale had his head shaved and invited others to do the same in solidarity with Ai.
Bringing exhibitions of this calibre to the AGO requires a lot of support, and we’re grateful to Emmanuelle Gattuso and Allan Slaight; the Hal Jackman Foundation; the Delaney Family Foundation; the Donner Canadian Foundation; Partners in Art; Francis and Eleanor Shen; the Globe and Mail; the Canada Council for the Arts; and AW Asia, New York for making it all possible.
Co-organized by the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, and curated by head curator Mami Kataoka, the exhibition’s stop at the AGO was its third on a tour of five North American museums. It will soon be on display at the Miami Perez Art Museum and then the Brooklyn Museum.
Additional thanks go out to PEN Canada for their involvement in this exhibition and for creating this wonderful roundup of #aiwwAGO social media posts by visitors.
AGO Director and CEO Matthew Teitelbaum (left), with three of the four photographers shortlisted for the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2013: (l-r) Erin Shirreff, LaToya Ruby Frazier and Chino Otsuka, and President of Aimia Canada Inc., Vince Timpano.
On Nov. 7, join us at the Gallery to celebrate photography and congratulate the winner of the $50,000 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize. The announcement will take place at a special edition of the AGO’s monthly First Thursdays party series, which will be followed by a performance by Polaris Prize nominee Zaki Ibrahim. Tickets to the event are available now from ago.net and more details about the night’s programming are here.
All four nominees will be present for the announcement, which will feature special presentations by local personalities about each of the artists. In addition to the $50,000 grand prize, the winner will also receive a fully funded six-week residency in Canada. The three other finalists will each receive cash honorariums of $5,000 and artist residencies.
You’re also invited to unleash your inner photographer and share images of their favourite AGO spaces and features on Instagram. Photos hashtagged with #MyAGO will be displayed on screens all night long in Walker Court.
Visit the Prize’s website to watch videos featuring the artists in their studios, view their artwork and cast your vote. If you’re in Toronto, see the artists’ work up close in the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2013 Exhibition, on view at the AGO until Jan. 5, 2013.
By Andrew Hunter, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art
Jacoposie Oopakak, Family, 2011, antler, bone, stone, metal, 92.7 x 66 x 88.9 cm, detail of skull and base.
We are really pleased to announce that we recently acquired Family (2011), the first major work by contemporary Inuit artist Jacoposie Oopakak (born 1948, Qipisa, Cumberland Sound, Baffin Island) to come in to the AGO collection. Made of antler, bone and stone, this is a rare work: it is one of only three complete sets of antlers carved by Oopakak during his career. Antler is difficult to carve due to its fragility, and Family is also unique for having the antlers and skull intact.
Jacoposie Oopakak, Family, 2011, antler, bone, stone, metal, 92.7 x 66 x 88.9 cm
Jacoposie Oopakak began carving in the 1970s following initial formal training in jewellery workshops run by the government of the Northwest Territories. From the outset, his skill as a carver of intricately detailed and delicate work was widely recognized. His art is rooted in Inuit traditions of hunting, travelling and living off the land and involves complex, multi-figured compositions that suggest evolving narratives and the progression of time.
Like his contemporary Manasie Akpaliapik (who is well represented in the AGO collection), Oopakak is extremely skilled at developing his carvings in a highly sympathetic dialogue with his material, allowing forms to emerge from, and to be suggested by, the structure and material characteristics of bone, stone and ivory, with the natural shape — the extended curving growth of antler in this work, for example — suggesting a narrative trajectory.
In many of his works, one sees a significant transformation in material and in the end it can be difficult to identify the source (a jaw bone or antler for example). In such large, complex sculptures as Family (2011), Power (2011, private collection) and Nunali (c.1988-89, National Gallery of Canada), however, the source material (full antler racks) is explicit and integral to the work.
Jacoposie Oopakak, Family, 2011, antler, bone, stone, metal, 92.7 x 66 x 88.9 cm, detail of antler carving.
Oopakak’s career can be understood in two phases: a very productive period in the 1980s and then a re-emergence in the past decade. In the 1990s, he suffered a series of personal tragedies and illnesses (the death of his wife and son, depression and tuberculosis), during which his production ceased. There has been a marked resurgence in his production in recent years, creating a consistently high level of ambitious work. Much of it was exhibited in Toronto in the fall of 2011 with Family and Power being the two major pieces presented in Masterful Vision: Sculpture by Jacoposie Oopakak (Feheley Fine Arts, Nov. 5 to 30, 2011).
Carved into the antlers of Family is a mix of wildlife, human figures and pictorial scenes all reflective of the artist’s recollections of family life and community traditions. The skull is anchored to a green stone base featuring a self-portrait. Like a number of senior Inuit artists, Oopakak’s work is a bridge to the traditional life on the land into which he was born, articulated from the perspective of modern settlement life.
Family was a Chalmers Inuit Fund purchase and allowed us to acquire a rare and major work by a senior artist who is under-represented in the AGO collection. (The small carving Sea Goddess from the 1980s, donated by Samuel and Esther Sarick, was the only Oopakak work in the AGO collection). Family will be an anchor work within the AGO’s permanent collection having great potential for exhibition and education purposes and, like the National Gallery of Canada’s Nunali, a signature sculpture in the Canadian and contemporary Inuit collection.
Tom Sokoloski, All the Artists Are Here (rendering), 2013.
Art Toronto is Canada’s only international art fair, bringing together artists, collectors, curators and galleries from far and wide. As in previous years, Art Toronto’s Opening Night Preview, taking place Oct. 24, will raise funds for the Art Gallery of Ontario that help support our exhibition and education programs, with a portion of the proceeds going to purchase works of art at the fair. For example, the Gallery acquired three pieces at Art Toronto in 2007, 10 new works in 2010, and last year we picked up these three works, by artists Julia Dault, Stephen Andrews and Itee Pootoogook.
In addition to supporting the AGO, Opening Night Preview attendees also get to experience a special night that celebrates art with live performances and installations. This year’s event will feature:
Relating to Geography #2 (Toronto Art Fair) by Victoria Stanton and Johannes Zits, a video-projection performance presented in a series 15-minute “chapters” over a period of two hours. The piece — consisting of images projected upon various moving screens — draws from the pair’s performance this summer on Toronto Island entitled Embodying Nature: Relating to Geography (Island Version #1) and speaks to notions of connectedness, attentive presence, personal and collective memory and sense of place;
All the Artists Are Here by Thom Sokoloski, a suspended wall installation of black and white photo portraits of the artists that the public will see upon entering the fair. Passing through the installation, visitors can scan QR codes with their smartphones to learn more about the artists, their work, which gallery represents them and their booths’ locations at the fair; and
Disorganizers by Kurt Bigenho — presented by p|m Gallery — a Disorganized Fashion Collection worn by models wandering the fair. Pieces in the collection include a dress that can be inflated in seconds to provide more personal space, a series of masks that can be worn to “jam” facial recognition software, clothing that falls apart and a shirt that can be worn by multiple people at once, among others.
What can I do at the Opening Night Preview?
Guests get exclusive access to view and purchase works at the fair before it opens to the public. (Visit Art Toronto’s Artsy page to browse 2013 exhibitors.) Of course, it’s a party! So you will also have the opportunity to socialize with artists, collectors and art enthusiasts and enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
The Art Toronto 2013 Opening Night Preview takes place from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2013, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (Special Collectors’ Preview is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.). To book tickets click here.
The Art Gallery of Ontario not only houses fascinating collections, it is also the home to leading experts who love to share their passion for art. This year, the theme of the AGO booth is “curator picks” and so we tapped AGO curators about their favorite contemporary Canadian artists – the names they’re excited about and the artworks on their own personal wish lists. Join us for an intimate talk with three AGO curators and participating artists to learn what these tastemakers have to say about the contemporary Canadian art scene.
Date: Sunday, October 27th, 2013
Art Gallery of Ontario Art Toronto booth (#1408)
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Andrew Hunter, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art
Greg Humeniuk, Curatorial Assistant, Canadian
Sasha Suda, Associate Curator, European Art
Nick Ostoff, artist
Adam Markovic, artist
What does David Bowie look like in Toronto? The exhibition David Bowie is contains many images of the cultural icon in his many guises — including iconic portraits by Brian Duffy and Masayoshi Sukita — but getting to see him on stage in our hometown is a rare opportunity.
While living with Iggy Pop in Berlin, Bowie collaborated on two of Pop’s solo albums, The Idiot and Lust for Life, and also toured with him. In this guest post, photographer Vince Carlucci recalls a 1977 Pop concert at the Seneca College Field House in Toronto, when Bowie performed a rare supporting role. (Carlucci captured many stars around that time. In a post earlier this year, he shared photos from a late-’70s Patti Smith performance in the same venue.)
See more shots and Carlucci’s memories of the concert below.
Click to expand
“The photos depicted here were shot on March 14, 1977, at Seneca Field House, Toronto. This was Iggy Pop’s The Idiot tour, supporting his first album without the Stooges and the first of two albums to which David Bowie contributed songs and/or production. The following record, Lust For Life, was released in 1978.
“This is a rare moment in rock-and-roll history, where Mr. Bowie can be seen as a supporting or background musician, in a relatively small venue, compared to his own larger extravaganzas.
“There was a wild round of applause, shouting and general hooting as Bowie smiled and took his place behind the keyboards. Bowie sat with his back partially to the audience, hence snapping a good photo took some patience and manoeuvring. Two rock icons on the same stage in a small venue: a very special moment.”
All photos were taken on a Pentax SP1000 35 mm camera.
Film: Kodak Tri-X
By Andrew Hunter, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art
Original cover of Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography (2003)
For over two decades, Chester Brown has been one of Canada’s leading cartoonists, known nationally and internationally for such works as Yummy Fur, Ed the Happy Clown, I Never Liked You and Paying for It.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of his critically acclaimed, innovative and highly influential Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography. As part of an ongoing series of interventions in the Canadian galleries, we have installed a selection of Brown’s original Riel drawings in the Georgia Ridley Salon, one of the AGO’s most memorable spaces to which, like the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, visitors regularly return. First designed as part of a 1990s reinstallation of the permanent collection, it was re-imagined as part of the Transformation program in 2008. The current installation is based on a chronological hanging of works from Confederation through to the First World War (1867-1917), with an additional emphasis on the work of women artists.
The Georgia Ridley Salon also highlights a period of nation building marked by civic growth and the accumulation of wealth in central Canada. With the establishment of art patronage and art institutions, Toronto emerged as a major centre of affluence and nationalism during this period. While this was a positive and powerful affirmation of the goals and visions of many Canadians — primarily those of British descent committed to an expanded Dominion of Canada — it was not a perspective shared by all. This idea of Canada was challenged by many, particularly in the Western regions that would become the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Chester Brown, Portrait of Louis Riel (2003), ink on paper, collection of the artist.
Louis David Riel (Métis, 1844-1885) led two rebellions challenging the new Canadian government’s plans for the West. Employing armed, diplomatic and democratic means, the Red River Rebellion in Manitoba (1869-70) was followed by the North-West Rebellion in Saskatchewan (1885). Although strongly supported by First Nations and French settlers, Riel was eventually arrested and hung for high treason.
Louis Riel remains a polarizing figure. Seen as a “founding father” to Manitobans, a spiritual leader to the Métis and a folk hero in Francophone and Catholic communities across Canada, he was considered a traitor in English Canada, particularly in Ontario and once–Protestant dominated Toronto. Through a creative collaboration with Toronto-based cartoonist Chester Brown, the goal of this project is to position Riel’s story within the salon’s story and to provoke reflection on a significant challenge to the nation building narrative.