Born in the village of Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island in Ontario in 1919 of mixed Odawa-Potawatomi and English-Canadian heritage, Daphne Odjig (pictured) has been a practicing artist most of her life. In this touring exhibition which was curated by Bonnie Devine, and which opens at the MacKenzie Art Gallery with a reception tonight at 7:30 p.m., 58 drawings and paintings spanning more than 40 years of artistic production will be on display.
As Devine recounts in a catalogue essay, Odjig spent the first 45 years of her life minimizing and even denying her aboriginal heritage. But in 1964 she returned to her birthplace to dance in the annual powow, and from that point forward she became a leading member of the First Nations art community. Along with contemporaries like Norval Morrisseau and Alex Janvier, she founded the Professional Native Indian Artists Association in 1973. The next year, she opened the first Canadian commercial gallery representing First Nations artists in Winnipeg.
Prior to coming to Regina, this retrospective was shown at the Art Gallery of Sudbury, the Kamloops Art Gallery, the National Gallery in Ottawa, and at the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Now 90 years old, Odjig will be in attendance at tonight's reception. In addition to that event, there's a panel discussion at the gallery Saturday from 2-4 p.m. entitled Trailblazers that looks at the important role joint artist-curators like Odjig have played in the growth of First Nations and Metis art practice in Canada in the last forty years.
We'll have more on this exhibition in an upcoming issue of prairie dog. It runs at the MacKenzie until May 2.
Later that night, The Get Down and Royal Red Brigade are rocking O'Hanlon's Pub. Also tonight, Rah Rah and This Machine is a Fountain ae at the Distrikt.