August 27th, 2012- The School of Art Gallery is celebrating its move into ARTlab with a series of exhibitions that will feature the work of prominent artists who have been associated with the School of Art both past and present. The inaugural exhibition of this series is Robert Houle: enuhmo andúhyaun (the road home).
This exhibition features three painting installations and 24 drawings from Robert Houle’s Sandy Bay Indian Residential School Series. The paintings are derived from the series of drawings based on memories of fear and trauma. They celebrate his survival of elementary school abuse and the power to overcome and let go of the sadness.
The exhibit opens with a reception on Sept. 6, 2012, from 4-7 p.m. The artist will be in attendance. Houle’s exhibit will run from Sept. 7 to Oct. 12, 2012.
In creating these pieces, “the issues of ‘reconciliation’ and ‘forgiveness’ framed within a Judaeo-Christian heritage were counterpoints to the traditional values of letting go of conflict in order to move on,” says Robert Houle. “Today, as someone who was punished for speaking my language, I have the privilege and the responsibility of using Ahnisnabewin proudly in this installation.”
Gallery Director and Curator Mary Reid says that “the power and strength embodied in these works is profound. Through a very sensitive and highly intimate approach Houle’s combination of language, images and colour leads the viewer down a road of personal inquiry and compassion.”
“It is indeed a special honour that we launch the new Exhibition Gallery in ARTlab with such a significant exhibition by one of our very first graduates in Art History,” says Paul Hess, Director of the School of Art.
To complement this exhibition a screening of Shelley Niro’s documentary film on Robert Houle, titled Robert’s Paintings, will take place in October.
More about the Artist:
Robert Houle is a member of Sandy Bay First Nation, Manitoba and currently lives and works in Toronto. Houle is a contemporary Anishnabe Saulteaux artist with international exhibition experience. His curating, writing and teaching has played a significant role in defining indigenous identity. Drawing from Western art conventions he tackles lingering aspects of colonization and its postcolonial aftermath and relying on the objectivity of modernity and the subjectivity of postmodernity he brings aboriginal history into his work. He received a B.A. in Art History from the University of Manitoba, and a B.A. in Art Education from McGill University and studied painting and drawing at the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts in Salzburg, Austria. In 2004 he was recognized by the University of Manitoba as a distinguished alumnus.
Houle has been exhibiting since the early 1970’s. He has also participated in several important international group exhibitions. Houle was curator of contemporary aboriginal art at the Canadian Museum of Civilization from 1977 to 1981 and has curated or co-curated groundbreaking exhibitions such as New Work by a New Generation, in connection with the World Assembly of First Nations at the Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina in 1982; Land Spirit Power: First Nations at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa in 1992, and Multiplicities at the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia in 1993-94.