Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gallery Visit: Jane Ash Poitras at the ROM

"Potato Peeling 101 to Ethnobotany 101" Jane Ash Poitras, 2004
mixed media
Jane Ash Poitras is a well recognized figure in First Nations contemporary art and the paintings featured in the ROMs First Peoples gallery show why. Bursting with colour and rich in imagery, they give a profound sense of narrative that explores the impact of colonialism in First Nations people.

The ROM features four works from the exhibition "Consecrated Medicine" which address topics like traditional knowledge versus the modern, indigenous medicine, the extermination of buffalo herds, and the residential school systems.

"Buffalo Seed" Jane Ash Poitras, 2004
oil and mixed media

What draws me most to her work (besides the brilliant colours) is the depth within them. There are layers and layers of image and meaning, always something new to be discovered and another puzzle piece of the story to be slotted into place. I remember when I first discovered Poitras's work back when I was in high school. I loved it for many of the same reasons I do now, and yet looking at them again with more experiences and knowledge behind me, the way I see her work is changed. I suppose that's what happens though–we return to a place that remains the same only to discover how much we ourselves have evolved...
Find out more about the paintings here.

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