‘Your Old Way Kind of Vision’ Charts Future of Indigenous Art Through Reimagining of Tradition

Bison Quilt771

Wally Dion, bison quilt, Bonavista NL, 2023. Fabric, copper pipe. (Photo courtesy Wally Dion)

By ϲʹ

Posted on May 28, 2024 | Updated May 28, 2024, 10:06am

Featuring works by Siku Allooloo, Catherine Blackburn, Wally Dion and Charlene Vickers, the exhibition opens May 31 at 6 PM at the Libby Leshgold Gallery.

A new exhibition at the at ϲʹ of Art + Design (ECU) spotlights four artists who are shaping the future of Indigenous contemporary art by reimagining traditional Indigenous concepts.

Curated by Daina Warren (BFA 2003), Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives at ECU, Your Old Way Kind of Vision features works by , , and (1994 alum).

“My curatorial vision was to look at the contemporary works these artists are making based on traditional objects,” Daina says. “Each artist employs Indigenous forms and references to produce nuanced pieces in materials removed from their ancestral cultures. Each of them also builds upon unique ideas and concepts that innovate original Indigenous forms. Additionally, all three share a commitment to honouring their cultural heritage and engaging in ongoing conversations about Indigenous identity.”

The exhibition’s title refers to a poem titled by Inuk, Haitian and Taíno artist, writer, decolonial advocate and community builder Siku Allooloo.

The poem provides a “jumping-off point for considering how the artists connect to their ancestral knowledge and channel this knowledge into their art,” Daina writes in her curatorial essay.

07 Video still Mark Mushet studio visit 2021 group EDIT

Charlene Vickers' Ovoids. (Photo courtesy Charlene Vickers)

The show includes roughly 135 felt works from a series by Charlene Vickers, an ECU grad and current faculty member. The objects refer to natural forms as well as an artistic movement known as “Ovoidism,” first introduced by renowned artist and ECU honorary doctorate recipient (1983 alum).

Daina writes that Charlene’s work “nods to a lengthy West Coast lived experience while incorporating her Anishinaabe roots in colourful, playful ways.”

“Some are abstract, symmetrical things; others are little creatures. They somewhat resemble Northwest Coast design, but they’re not at all traditional,” Charlene says. “There are different styles and moments and movements and colours and designs. They’re about generating some sort of energy or something to keep my interest and keep me motivated.”

Works including Catherine Blackburn’s series and Wally Dion’s translucent star quilts are also on view. Aboriginal Classics employs Dene beadwork and traditional tea medicine bags to explore themes of identity, language, and story. Wally’s star blankets use colour and form to speak symbolically to the artist’s Indigenous cultural and spiritual themes.

20230703 180111

Catherine Blackburn, You want access to my grief too?...that comes with a $$ tag, 2023. Hair, tea-dyed teabag, pearls, antique beads. (Photo courtesy Catherine Blackburn)

Visiting the Exhibition

Your Old Way Kind of Vision is on view at the Libby Leshgold Gallery at ECU from June 1 through June 30, 2024, from 12 to 5 PM. An opening reception will be held May 31 from 6 to 9 PM. An artist talk featuring Daina and the artists in conversation will take place later in June, with details to be announced.

Attendance at all events is free and open to the public.

online and for more details.

About Siku Allooloo
About Catherine Blackburn
About Wally Dion
About Charlene Vickers
About Libby Leshgold Gallery