Image: Shelley Niro, Battlefields of my Ancestors 2010 (detail), image courtesy of the artist.
In this exhibition, artist Shelley Niro (Mohawk, turtle clan) explores historic battlefields that hold significance for her people. Beginning in New York State, where she was born, Niro documents the location of Cayuga villages destroyed during the American Revolutionary War and follows the subsequent migration to the area now known as the Six Nations near Brantford, Ontario. The final image depicts the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge. In addition to Canada's sesquicentennial, 2017 also marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which is often understood as a key event in the development of our national identity as a sovereign country.
About one third of Indigenous men in Canada age 18 to 45 enlisted during the First World War. Hundreds were wounded and over 300 died on foreign battlefields. At least 50 were awarded medals for bravery and heroism. Aboriginal women were active on the home front, contributing to the war effort through fundraising and other means. After the war, Indigenous veterans, who did not receive the same benefits as others who served, began to organize politically. In 1919, Six Nations Lieutenant F.O. Loft founded the first national pan-Indian political organization: the League of Indians of Canada. According to Niro: "Vimy Ridge was an important place because that's where all the nations came together and went as one nation to another place to fight this battle. There are quite a few men from Six Nations that died at Vimy."[i]
This exhibition also includes a major work by Niro from the McIntosh Gallery collection that elides the histories of the First World War and that of the Indigenous people of Eastern North America, through the stories of two heroic women. In Parallel Worlds of Women and Warriors, 2010, Niro begins with a stereoscopic image and text about Mlle Semmer, a French woman who was "Decorated for Heroic Actions under Fire" during the First World War. Niro describes how this French photograph, which she found in an antique store, "made her realize that we don't often see Indigenous people, especially women, "placed in the context of heroes". Using the format of a double image with an explanatory text identical to that of the Mlle Semmer stereoscope, Niro casts the story of Jigosase, a heroine widely recognized in Indigenous culture and referred to as "the Mother of All Nations", to convey her own Haudenosaunee history. Niro links the found and the fictive stereoscopic views with a central image of Two Row Wampum, a treaty woven from beads that directed two different cultures to live in harmony. As Niro puts it: "The philosophy is that two cultures can live together if they remain parallel, never putting their foot into the other culture or canoe." Typically geometric, Niro digitally-altered the Wampum image into a stunning, undulating flower-like composition.
Internationally acclaimed as an artist and filmmaker, Niro was born in Niagara Falls, New York in 1954 and grew up on the Six Nations Reserve, near Brantford, Ontario. Shelley received her MFA from Western University's Department of Visual Arts in 1997. She was the first recipient of the Ontario Arts Council's Aboriginal Art Award in 2012. Her work is represented in many public art collections including the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her work has been exhibited extensively in Canada and internationally. She is most noted for her photographs using herself and female family members cast in contemporary positions to challenge the stereotypes and clichés of Native American women. Her short film, The Shirt, was presented at the 2003 Venice Biennale and the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Shelley Niro: Battlefields of my Ancestors is part of Western's Canada 150 programming in celebration of Canada's sesquicentennial. Western's Canada 150 committee comprises staff, faculty and students and is co-chaired by Professor Jerry White, Department of Sociology, and Marcia Steyaert, Communications & Public Affairs. McIntosh Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Western's Canada 150 Committee, which has made this exhibition and related programs possible.
Western University is situated on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Lunaapeewak and Attawandaron peoples who have longstanding relationships to the land and region of southwestern Ontario and the City of London.
The local First Nation communities of this area include Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and Munsee Delaware Nation. In the region, there are eleven First Nation communities and a growing Indigenous urban population. Western values the significant historical and contemporary contributions of local and regional First Nations and all of the Original peoples of Turtle Island (North America).
Curator-led tour with James Patten
Friday, February 3rd at 12:30 PM
Shelley Niro artist talk
Thursday, February 16th at 7:00 PM
North Campus Building, room NC 113, free admission. Presented in collaboration with Western University's Department of Visual Arts, as part of its ArtNow Winter 2017 Speakers' Series, organized by Christof Migone.
Please contact Mitra Shreeram firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
[i] Brant News, October 7, 2015
Image: Jack Chambers, Hybrid (still from film), 1966, image courtesy of the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre.
This exhibition features six artists -Tom Benner, John Boyle, Jack Chambers, Greg Curnoe, Jamelie Hassan, and Tony Urquhart - who worked in London, Ontario during the Cold War (1947-91). In this period of heightened political tension, capitalist and communist countries battled to shape global economic development and modernization according to their respective ideals.
Cold Front looks at the varied ways in which these regional artists navigated the anxieties of the international Cold War. In the lithograph America, May 31, 1989-June 30, 1989, 1989, Greg Curnoe takes a satirical approach to Yankee imperialism by asking the viewer to consider a map of North America in which the United States has been removed, leaving only Canada and Mexico.
In what is arguably his most overtly political film, Jack Chambers' Hybrid, 1966, contrasts images of flowers from a found horticultural film and footage from the Vietnam War.
Tony Urquhart painted Calm, 1962, at McIntosh Gallery while artist-in-residence just before the Cuban Missile Crisis. Though apparently static-the calm before the storm-a massive brown cloud suggests the slow-rolling motion of a nuclear explosion. Urquhart conveys a veil of uncertainty symbolic of the ominous atmosphere of the 1960s.
Cold Front is guest curated by art history graduate students in the Department of Visual Arts: Beatriz Asfora, Brad Morosan, Kelsey Perreault, Caroline Rabideau, Mackenzie Sinclair, and Ruth Skinner, with Professor Sarah Bassnett and McIntosh Gallery Curator Catherine Elliot Shaw.
Cold Front is part of Western's Canada 150 programming in celebration of Canada's sesquicentennial. Western's Canada 150 committee comprises staff, faculty and students and is co-chaired by Professor Jerry White, Department of Sociology, and Marcia Steyaert, Communications & Public Affairs. McIntosh Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Western's Canada 150 Committee, which has made this exhibition and related programs possible.
Curator-led exhibition tour with Kelsey Perreault
Friday, January 27th at 12:30 PM
Please contact Mitra Shreeram at email@example.com for more information.
In celebration of Black History Month 2017, McIntosh Gallery is pleased to present selections from The John and Suzanne Kaufmann Collection of African Art.
Curated by Temi Olasehinde, works are selected from an array of over 200 nineteenth and twentieth century pieces. This installation includes tribal masks, ancestral figures, jewellery, sculpture and textiles made by artists from over thirty ethnic groups including the Dan, Mossi, Asante, Luluwa and Dogon peoples.
Since the mid-twentieth century, the late John and Suzanne Kaufmann maintained a keen interest in collecting fine examples of art that celebrated the diversity of African visual culture, an interest handed down from Suzanne's family who began collecting in the early part of the 20th century.
For more information, contact Mitra Shreeram at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Image: Alexander Young Jackson, The Green Crassier, 1918, 1918. Oil on canvas, 86.7 x 112.0 cm, CWM 19710261-0183
This year, McIntosh Gallery celebrates its 75th anniversary as the oldest university art gallery in Ontario. In 1942 the opening exhibition presented thirty paintings commissioned by the Canadian War Memorials Fund during the First World War as a unique record of Canadian achievements and war heroes. In the Beginning, 1942 reunites these paintings, now housed at the Canadian War Museum, for the first time in 75 years. Works by future Group of Seven artists A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, and Frederick Varley will join those of fellow Canadians Maurice Galbraith Cullen and John William Beatty, British artist Algernon Mayow Talmage, and Australian James Peter Quinn. The remaining twenty-three images will be represented digitally.
McIntosh Gallery gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Canadian War Museum in loaning 27 key works to both exhibitions.
McIntosh Gallery, located at the heart of Western University, is the result of a generous bequest by Wilhelmina Morris McIntosh which included funds to build a gallery and her personal art collection. Despite wartime limitations on construction, the building was officially opened on June 26, 1942 with an address by established Canadian artist Charles Comfort. Today, McIntosh Gallery is a centre for the production, exhibition, interpretation and collection of visual culture. The collection has grown to over 4,000 art objects by primarily Canadian artists, many of whom are local to London.
Beaverbrook established the Canadian War Memorials Fund in 1916 to commission official war artists to paint the Canadian war effort. The official war art program would eventually employ close to 120 artists, most of them British or Canadian, who created nearly 1,000 works of art. While most of the works depicted the fighting forces and geography overseas, important artists like Mabel May and Manly MacDonald painted women in Canadian factories and fields.
Paraskeva Clark, Maintenance Jobs in the Hangar, 1945. Oil on canvas, 81.5 x 101.9 cm, CWM 19710261-5678
Behind the Lines provides a glimpse into the personal sacrifice and hard work of determined Canadians at home who collectively supported the armed forces overseas during two world conflicts. Assembled from public and private collections across Canada, the artworks tell the stories of ordinary men and women who wielded tools, searched for submarines, worked the land, and guarded prisoners. Through them we witness unprecedented developments in manufacturing, travel, and social upheavals such as the changing roles of women entering the workplace and armed forces.
McIntosh Gallery gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Canadian War Museum in loaning 27 key works to both exhibitions.
As part of its 75th anniversary exhibitions, McIntosh Gallery is hosting a series of mini-displays featuring war-related artefacts in Western collections. They include:
A map created for the Canadian Machine Gun Corps in September 1918 detailing the placement of twenty-four machine gun batteries for concentrated artillery bombardment during the Battle of Canal du Nord. The map details the location of trenches, local villages, and the timings required for each battery to begin firing.
Collection of Map and Data Centre, Western Libraries
Artefacts about Eddie McKay, a student at Western during the 1914-1915 academic year, who excelled in hockey and rugby. Eager to join the Royal Flying Corps, he received his private pilot's licence from the Orville and Wilbur Wright Flying School in Dayton, Ohio.
Collection of Graham Broad, PhD., King's University College
A collection of vintage postcards and other First World War ephemera that were used to communicate between the front lines and family members at home. Highly colourful and humorous, or beautifully detailed and poignant, they were considered disposable and therefore are quite rare today.
Ley and Lois Smith War, Memory and Popular Culture Research Collection, Department of History
A Field Communion Kit used by Fr. Walter Brown, a graduate of Huron College in 1938 and Anglican priest in the Diocese of Huron. He volunteered for the Canadian Army Chaplain Service during the Second World War and was the first Canadian Chaplain to land at Juno Beach on D-Day on June 6, 1944. Capt. Brown was later captured and executed, the only Allied Chaplain to suffer this fate.
Collection of Huron University College Chapel
In recognition of the McIntosh Gallery's 75th anniversary, this exhibition creates a timeline of the gallery's activities over the years. Art catalogues, pamphlets, and invitations from the gallery's exhibitions provide insight into trends and concerns in the visual arts.
The display cases are organized in succeeding decades, chronicling the opening of the gallery in the 1940s, the European art series in the 1950s, and the evolution of the gallery's identity in the 1960s as it developed the permanent collection and started the artist-in-residence program. This program continued throughout the 1970s as the gallery showcased the work of emerging contemporary artists.
The 1980s and 1990s saw an increased awareness of previously overlooked narratives in visual arts, exploring feminist, ableist, and Indigenous perspectives. As the gallery entered the 2000s, the politics of space became a growing area of interest, with artists responding to themes of community and environment. Since 2010, the gallery has continued to present creative interpretations and scholarly research showing a commitment to uncovering London's art history.
This year's lecture will be presented by Canadian General (Ret'd) John de Chastelain whose career has included commands in Canada, Germany, Cyprus and ultimately as Chief of the Defence Staff. In 1993, he was appointed Canada's 17th Ambassador to the United States but the following year was recalled to Regular Force duty and re-appointed Chief of the Defence Staff until his retirement in December 1995. From 1995 to 2011, he was Chairman of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, which was responsible for ensuring the decommissioning of arms by paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland.
In the beginning, 1942 and Behind the Lines: Canada's Home Front During the First and Second World Wars are part of Western's Canada 150 programming in celebration of Canada's sesquicentennial. McIntosh Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Western's Canada 150 Committee, which has made these exhibitions and related programs possible.
For more information contact Mitra Shreeram, Communications and Outreach Coordinator at email@example.com or 519.661.2111 ext. 87576