Contemporary start to Indigenous art

The Future Memories (Present Tense) exhibition at Illingworth Kerr Gallery at ACAD is running from Oct. 6 to Dec. 7.(Photo by Aron Diaz)

The Future Memories (Present Tense) exhibition at Illingworth Kerr Gallery at ACAD is running from Oct. 6 to Dec. 7.(Photo by Aron Diaz)

ACAD’s Illingworth Kerr Gallery brings together six distinctive Indigenous artists, from regions across Canada, to express the concept of time in new perceptions of how long we have in existence.

Future Memories (Present Tense) | Contemporary Practices in Perspective, challenges the ideas of time by using the artist’s feelings on the subject matter. These perspectives differ based on the region they’re from and the values they hold close.

“I think of my art as almost an archeological dig, as you dig deeper there are several layers of meaning,” said Indigenous artist and member of the Blackfoot nation, Adrian Stimson.

Stimson said he’s always loved to play with the idea of time and uses natural elements of sandstone, trees and skulls to mimic the reality of mortality. “Tsa aitotowa?” In Blackfoot translates to, “What time is it?” Which is the name of Stimson’s display.

“Contemporary work is something people can take a look at and not only [see] the historical issues, but the contemporary issues in modern society,” said Stimson.

When you step foot into ACAD, the Illingworth Kerr Gallery on the main floor is beckoning one to come visit. Having modern artists across the street from SAIT over at ACAD brings a taste of culture with art from all around the world.

Future Memories expands on storytelling within history, Indigenous traditions and personal narratives that have been lost or, more importantly, may one day be lost. By elevating awareness about indigenous art and teachings, Stimson said it makes people more grounded in individual perception.

“Everything that happens in the present and the past is the future,” said artist Sonny Assu, a Lig-wilda’xw of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation.

With no door costs and only donations being asked for, students can observe the multiple galleries present before the presentation of Future Memories.

The Illingworth Kerr Galleries display of Future Memories started Friday, Oct. 6 and ends Saturday, Dec. 2.

The theme of time, he said, was pitched a year ago from the Illingworth Kerr Gallery’s curator, Lorenzo Fusi, who approached these artists to make some collections of work for the exhibition.

All six of the Indigenous artists have work experimenting with concepts of time, the length of time, identity and culture.

“How does it make you feel? What does it mean to you as a human being, as a person in this world? If we can encourage [this], I think we can get more people to want to see art in their lives,” said Stimson.

“Art is instilled in people at a young age and can speak to people in many different levels,” said Stimson. His ideology centers on returning to the basics of youth and the place of play.

Stimson highlights one of many ways to find feeling towards art is through recollecting memories from childhood and triggering a strong emotion that feeds imagery and contemporary experiences.

“Embrace it,” said Assu.

Assu’s hope for anyone who visits the gallery and wants to walk out of there feeling something, is that they try and walk away with their own take on Indigenous art and on contemporary art.

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