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Dreamer’s Songs

June 17th, 2019

Brian Jungen, Prototype for New Understanding #5, 1999. Nike Air Jordans, human hair, 55.8 x 68.6 x 12.7 cm. Private Collection. © Brian Jungen. Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery.

The wait is almost over! The AGO’s remarkable new exhibition, Brian Jungen Friendship Centre, opens this week. Featuring 80 incredible works from the artist’s 23 year career, the exhibition is an exploration of Jungen’s innovative practice, featuring sculpture, film, painting, drawing and installation . This is the AGO’s first special exhibition since the introduction of our new admission model. This means that AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass holders and everyone 25 and under can see this exhibition for free.   

To celebrate the public opening of this compelling exhibition, you’re invited to join Brian Jungen for a free event in Walker Court on Wednesday, June 19 featuring opening remarks and a special performance of Dane-zaa Dreamer’s Songs by Garry Oker at 7 pm. There is also a talk with the artist in Baillie Court at 5:30 pm, which is now sold out.

Jungen is a member of the Dane-zaa First Nation. In this tradition, Dreamer’s Songs are brought back to earth by Dane-zaa people who travel to heaven in their dreams. These individuals, called Dreamers, then share these songs with the community, often drawing maps of their dream journey on animal hides or drums. Oker comes from a long line of Dane-zaa Dreamers and uses the Dreamer’s Songs and wisdom from elders to help strengthen the community.

Following the opening in Walker Court, visitors will be invited to view the exhibition. Highlights include Jungen’s series of totem poles constructed from golf bags, Cetology (2002) – a stunning 48-foot long sculpture of a whale skeleton – and a new work resembling a basketball court, inspired by the Friendship Centres of Jungen’s youth. Taking place in the Sam & Ayala Zacks Pavilion, this show marks the first time the AGO will host a major solo exhibition by an Indigenous artist in our largest temporary exhibition space.

In addition to Jungen’s works, the exhibition also includes the artist’s personal archives. This never-before-seen collection is stored in hundreds of Nike Air Jordan shoeboxes, taken from Jungen’s critically acclaimed series, Prototypes for a New Understanding. With photographs, notes and other personal objects, the archival material on display will provide you with a never-before-seen glimpse into Jungen’s thoughts, his personal history and his creative process.

The public opening of Brian Jungen: Friendship Centre is on Wednesday, June 19. Visit the website to learn more about the free public opening celebration. Admission to the AGO Collection and all special exhibitions is always free for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass holders and visitors 25 and under. For more information, please visit the website.

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