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Interrelated histories, landscapes inform work in ‘Scout’s Honour’

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mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} Michael Belmore, “Snag,” (detail) 2008, 10 panels, aluminum. Collection of the artist

SANTA FE, N.M. – Inspired by the social, cultural and physical landscape of the Canadian Shield, “Scout’s Honour,” featuring the work of Michael Belmore and Frank Shebageget will be showcased at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts through Jan. 31, 2010.

A number of special events are being planned around the exhibition including a museum members’ lunch with exhibit curator Ryan Rice Nov. 7 at noon, at the museum. The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts is located at 108 Cathedral Place in downtown Santa Fe.

In August 2006, long-time high school friends Belmore and Shebageget reunited for an expedition home to the northern community of Upsala, Ontario. The artists, both from the Anishnaabe First Nation, came together to unravel truths and explore their desire to honor their interrelated histories and encounters in a place integral to their nation, families and selves. Belmore and Shebageget scouted their respective places of origin: Lac Seul and Lac Des Mille Lac, and found the one time familiar landscape between Thunder Bay and Kenora a place that was, for the most part, abandoned. Even though their immediate families had moved away, this landscape remained etched in their memories as the place where they found sources of inspiration, respect, dignity and integrity from the land, water, tress and rocks.

In “Scout’s Honour,” curator Ryan Rice (Mohawk) situates both artists’ work within the tradition of First Nations scouting alongside the values of the contemporary Boy Scout movement. Rice is the new curator of exhibitions and programs at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts.

As an installation artist, Shebageget’s work reflects his continued interest in the social environment and physical geography of the Canadian Shield and the aesthetic qualities of everyday materials. Through the use of repetition, he explores the tense relationships between the production, consumption and the economics of beauty, often by playing with the incongruity of mass production and the singularity of the handcrafted object.

 

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mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} Michael Belmore, “Landing I,” 2008, hammered copper, copper leaf, stone and Landing II, 2008, hammered copper, silver leaf, stone. Collection of the artist

Shebageget is from northwestern Ontario, and currently resides in Ottawa. He graduated with his A.O.C.A. from the Ontario College of Art in 1996 and received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Victoria in 2000. Solo exhibitions of his work include: “Quantification” (Tribe Artist Run Centre, 2003) and “Home Made” (Gallery 101, 2002). Shebageget has participated in several group exhibitions such as “RED EYE” (Art Gallery of Calgary, 2007); “Au fils de mes jours” (In My Lifetime), (Museum of Civilization, 2006-07; Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, 2005) and “Kosmos” (Ottawa Art Gallery, 2006). His work can be found in the collections of the Ottawa Art Gallery, the Canada Council Art Bank, the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and several private collections.

Belmore’s materials are the key to his work and bring into account how nature is viewed as commodity. For several years, his work has evolved around the use of technology and how it has affected the human relationship to the environment. He was born north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. In 1994, he graduated with an A.O.C.A. in Sculpture/Installation from the Ontario College of Art.

Belmore’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions, including “Vantage Point” (Sacred Circle Art Gallery, Seattle, 2002); “lichen” (Toronto Sculpture Garden, 1998); “Staking Land Claims” (Walter Phillips Gallery, 1997) and “First Nations Art” (Woodland Cultural Centre, 1992); Belmore has also participated in several artist-run-centers and collectives across Canada and created site-specific public art installations for Thunder Bay Art Gallery, the University of Western Ontario and the City of Peterborough. A member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Belmore’s work is represented in several permanent and private collections.

For more information about this exhibit, please call 505.428.5922. For more information about the events surrounding the exhibit, please call 505.428.5909. To request high resolution images for print, please email sgolar@iaia.edu.