Art Gallery of Alberta

Groundbreaking First Nations artists at the Art Gallery of Alberta, March 5-July 3

7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., Groundbreaking First Nations artists at the Art Gallery of Alberta, March 5-July 3

Starting March 5, visitors to the Art Gallery of Alberta will see work by one of Canada’s most important early artist alliances, 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. – an influential and groundbreaking cultural and political entity that demanded recognition as professional, contemporary artists and stimulated a new way of thinking about contemporary First Nations people, their lives and art.

Wryly known as the “Indian Group of Seven”, members of the group included:

  • Jackson Beardy (1944-1984)
  • Eddy Cobiness (1933-1996)
  • Alex Janvier (b.1935)
  • Norval Morrisseau (1932-2007)
  • Daphne Odjig (b. 1919)
  • Carl Ray (1942-1978)
  • Joseph Sanchez (b. 1948)

Because of their intervention in the history of Canadian art, which had chronically excluded Indigenous artists and artworks, and by referencing a cornerstone of the 20th century Canadian art narrative, the landscape painters known as the Group of Seven, these artists represented the fundamental importance of engaging in conversation about Indigenous art, as well as the critical role First Nations artists play in Canadian culture, past, present and future.

Drawing on both private and public art collections, the exhibition 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. brings together over 80 paintings and drawings from the 1970s, the crucial decade during which the seven artists were active as a group. It displays the collective artistic impact of their work, as well as the distinctive styles and experimentation of the individual artists.

The exhibition has been shown in these Canadian cities:

  • Regina, SK (at the organizing institution, the MacKenzie Art Gallery)
  • Winnipeg, MB (Winnipeg Art Gallery)
  • Kelowna, BC (Kelowna Art Gallery)
  • Kleinburg, ON (McMichael Canadian Art Collection)
  • Windsor, ON (Art Gallery of Windsor)

The Art Gallery of Alberta exhibition is the last chance to see these works presented together in Canada.

The exhibition runs until July 3, 2016.

Free Programming

Free programming throughout the month of March­—including a performance, curator and artists lecture, and filmwill be presented in conjunction with the exhibition.

Dancing for my Father, Singing for my Son
Performance by Jackson Beardy III and Byron Beardy
Saturday, March 5, 2:45 pm
Manning Hall

A performance of traditional hoop dancing by Jackson Beardy III, accompanied with singing and drumming by his father, Byron Beardy (the grandson and son of artist Jackson Q.P. Beardy whose work is featured in 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.). The performance explores Jackson’s traditional journey to becoming a hoop dancer, the history of the hoop dance, traditional teachings, the Beardy’s special father-son relationship and their traditional journey as they travel throughout Turtle Island. All presentations and performances are accompanied by Byron singing with a hand drum.

Curator and Artist Lecture: 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.
Saturday, March 5, 1 pm
Ledcor Theatre
Register online. Seating is limited.

Exhibition Curator Michelle LaVallee and artists Alex Janvier and Joseph Sanchez will be in Edmonton to discuss their experience in the creation of 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.

Carmen Robertson lecture and The Colours of Pride, 1973 screening 
Wednesday, March 30, 7 pm
Ledcor Theatre

Beginning with a talk from University of Regina Associate Professor and Norval Morrisseau expert Carmen Robertson, the NFB film The Colours of Pride, 1973 is an introduction to the work of Norval Morrisseau, Allen Sapp, Alex Janvier, and Daphne Odjig. More information at http://www.youraga.ca/programs-events/talks-films-more/.

7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. is organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery. This project has been made possible through a contribution from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage. The MacKenzie receives ongoing support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, SaskCulture, the City of Regina, and the University of Regina. Presented at your AGA by Syncrude.

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