From tradition to livelihood: how this gallery promotes the works of indigenous artists
For over a 100 years, Montreal’s La Guilde gallery has been showcasing the fine crafts of Canada’s indigenous communities. In this essay, we share pictorial highlights of the gallery’s regular collection of artworks along with the current exhibition.
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 360 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
The rise of globalisation and the digital economy are creating a wealth of opportunity for innovators, but also pose important questions about preserving heritage, particularly of marginalised communities. Art galleries and museums play a pivotal role in the creative economy by increasing awareness about indigenous and tribal communities, and providing commercial outlets for their artistic talent.
Located in downtown Montreal, the gallery La Guilde has been preserving and promoting fine crafts for more than a hundred years. The non-profit organisation specialises in First Nations art, and has extensive archives as well as an educational programme. It helps recover disappearing arts and preserve rare artistic skills.
Founded in 1906, La Guilde’s current exhibitions include a beadwork exhibition titled Beading Now, with 30 works of 11 artists. They hail from diverse communities such as Cree, Mohawk, Metis, Abenaki, and Ojibwe.
The artist lineup includes Judy Anderson, Catherine Blackburn, Teresa Burrows, Hannah Claus, Ruth Cuthand, Dayna Danger, Sarah Maloney, Audie Murray, Mike Patten, Sylvain Rivard, and Nico Williams.
To encourage inter-generational discourse, objects from La Guilde’s own permanent collection of over 1,000 artworks have been included along with the exhibition, creating new narratives. In this photo essay, we feature some of these diverse sculptures, photographs, and installations. They represent the communities of Povungnituk, Inukjuak, and Cape Dorset.
The exhibition shows that artisanal techniques like beading can be a heritage connection as well as contemporary art form, across cultures and generations. The artworks prove the sustainability of this practice in the face of challenging times, according to curator Karine Gaucher. Her earlier shows were titled Neon and Challenging Identity, and she has written articles on pop surrealism and street art as well.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule, and do your bit to preserve and promote your precious heritage?
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