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of indigenous art

These artists, through their innovative practices and profound thematic explorations, have significantly impacted the field of contemporary Indigenous art, challenging perceptions and fostering a greater appreciation for Indigenous cultural expression.

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Carl Beam

Carl Beam (1943-2005) was a pioneering Indigenous artist of Anishinaabe descent whose work has been instrumental in bridging the gap between Indigenous and contemporary art. Born in M'Chigeeng, Ontario, Beam's diverse oeuvre includes painting, printmaking, sculpture, and installation art. His work is characterized by its use of mixed media and photomontage, often blending Indigenous iconography with contemporary and historical imagery to address themes of identity, colonization, and cultural resilience. Beam's art challenges conventional narratives and invites viewers to reconsider the relationships between past and present, personal and political. He was the first Indigenous artist to have his work included in the National Gallery of Canada as contemporary art rather than ethnographic art, marking a significant milestone in the recognition of Indigenous artists within mainstream art institutions.


Bob Boyer

Bob Boyer (1948-2004) was a prominent Métis artist, educator, and activist known for his vibrant, abstract paintings and commitment to Indigenous issues. Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Boyer's work often incorporates traditional Indigenous patterns and motifs, reimagined through a modernist lens. He is particularly renowned for his "Blanket Statements" series, where he used the motif of the blanket as a symbol of both comfort and colonial oppression. These works are painted on wool blankets and serve as powerful commentaries on the history and impact of colonialism on Indigenous peoples. Boyer's art is celebrated for its bold use of color, form, and symbolism, as well as its ability to convey complex cultural and political messages. Throughout his career, he was also a dedicated educator, teaching at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (now the First Nations University of Canada), where he inspired many young Indigenous artists.


Rick Rivet

Rick Rivet (b. 1949) is a contemporary Indigenous artist of Métis and Dene descent, whose work is deeply influenced by his cultural heritage and personal experiences. Born in Aklavik, Northwest Territories, Rivet's artistic practice spans painting, drawing, and mixed media, characterized by its exploration of themes such as shamanism, spirituality, and the natural world. His style often blends elements of Indigenous art traditions with abstract expressionism and surrealism, creating visually dynamic and thought-provoking works. Rivet's use of rich textures, layered imagery, and symbolic content invites viewers to engage with the deeper narratives and spiritual dimensions embedded in his art. Throughout his career, he has exhibited widely in Canada and internationally, contributing to the broader discourse on contemporary Indigenous art and its role in cultural preservation and innovation.

Nswi Noodinan (Three Winds), featuring the works of Carl Beam, Bob Boyer and Rick Rivet, was curated by Patricia Monague.

Gchimiigwech Gallery Givek for the generous loan of all the artworks featured in this exhibition.

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