This exhibition presents an unusual cross-cultural interplay of works by native artists from the Inuit, Northwest Pacific Coast, Canadian Plains and New Zealand. While some of the cultures share clan structures and etiquette, their embrace of non-traditional materials and processes at the turn of the 21st Century binds the artists in this collection more than history. The unconventional is often unexpectedly integrated with the traditional. Acrylic, steel or glass might be intermixed with more typical silver, serpentine and birch or other woods. There is a good representation of female artists such as Joane Cardinal-Schubert and Connie Sterritt, who have been instrumental in bringing modern mixed media to Northwest Coast art. In general, the exhibited artists are coming from a strong position internationally as the Western art world shifts its insular scope to a more pluralist and multicultural one. In their own communities, First Nations artists and artisans have had particular importance and significance in the past 30 years as the purveyors of images that define their cultures for the outside world.
© Mia Johnson