“The first time I saw Jane Ash Poitras’ painting From Riel to Peltier, it was hung in a permanent collection show in conjunction an exhibition of the new generation of Indigenous artists. The painting itself is very large, nearly six feet in length. I walked into the gallery at the temporary AGA location on 102 Street and was instantly struck by it.
The images of notable Indigenous men from the Post-Confederation period of Canadian history are aligned the same way that Hall of Fames are often presented (think the Arts Hall of Fame as you walk through the Citadel building). Representation is not without some editorial privilege; didacticism is included in the painting itself, so you cannot separate myth and context. The way the image runs over on both sides reminds me that there are stories that remain untold, and histories that remain truncated. The work tells me a story that is full of both pain and pride, but most importantly, a story that is incomplete, and constantly being edited and retold. I love this work because it reminds me of the fragility of historical myth-making, and the need for a constant and critical reexamination of our shared history.”
Sarah Hamilton is proud to be City Councillor for Edmonton’s Ward 5. Prior to her election, Sarah worked as an educator, a journalist, a small business owner and in various public service-oriented roles in provincial and municipal government. Sarah grew up in Lessard and graduated from the University of Alberta. Later, she received a Master of Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before returning home to Edmonton. She enjoys Edmonton’s river valley and unique arts and culture scene.
Jane Ash Poitras
From Riel to Peltier, 1999
Mixed media on canvas
Art Gallery of Alberta Collection, purchased with funds from the estate of Jean Victoria Sinclair, and with the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisitions Assistance Program