Saskatchewan NAC

Clearing A Path


Clearing A Path - Image 1
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2009, 80 pages, written by Sherry Farrell Racette and Carmen Robertson  
Published by Canadian Plains Research Centre, University of Regina

A collection of photographs and essays showcasing 21 artists working in traditional Indigenous media.

Created in 2005 for Saskatchewan's centennial celebrations, "Clearing A Path: An Exhibition of Traditional Indigenous Art" is a touring exhibition curated by artist and educator Sherry Farrell Racette and art historian Carmen Robertson. The exhibition aimed to encourage the recognition of traditional Indigenous art forms as art, and was sponsored by the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils, Saskatchewan Centennial 2005 and the First Nations University of Canada. Featuring contemporary artists working in a range of Indigenous art forms, including bead work and carving, the exhibition travelled to over 20 Saskatchewan communities over three years.

REVIEW - Mary Longman, Great Plains Quarterly, Spring 2011 

This exhibition catalogue celebrates the rich and diverse traditional art works made by Aboriginal and Metis artists living in Saskatchewan. These works reveal the seamless historical continuum of art practice on the Plains, from antler and bone carvings and porcupine quill work to beadwork in both old-style geometric and abstracted symbolism and to Metis floral designs.

Highlights of this diverse collection include the master beading techniques and designs of Marcia Chickness, who combines form, function, and concepts into her beautifully embellished cradleboards. The famous work of John Arcand, "Master of the Metis fiddle," transfers his passion for fiddle music into the intricate abalone inlay designs in ebony that whimsically flow throughout his fiddles. Readers can also enjoy a variety of other works that include dance regalia of fans, leggings, capes, and horse sticks; decorated clothing of moccasins, beaded leather coats, and gauntlets; as well as pouches and pipe bags.

Clearing a Path is a publication, long overdue, that acknowledges the significant history and continuance of Aboriginal art production in the Canadian Plains. This art has always amalgamated visual art design principles into all aspects of cultural life by imbuing functional objects related to music, dance, spiritual customs, and clothing with aesthetics, beauty, and conceptual symbology. At the same time, the exhibit acknowledges the artists today who dedicate their creative energies to the evolution of traditional art practices, ultimately contributing to the cultural heritage of Canada.

ISBN: 9780889772267

NAC Item Number: B0029

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