Mixed Blessing by Rebecca Belmore, 2008, is featured on Facing Monumental at the AGO | Image Credit: Erica Commanda
Facing Monumental honours the lifetime works of Rebecca Belmore (Anishinaabe), a multi-disciplinary artist that creates works addressing the issues of our times. The exhibit features photographs, sculptures and media installations that are responses to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, residential schools, and the mistreatment of Indigenous people engaging the healthcare system.
Show curator Wanda Nanibush recalled her and Rebecca, “…walking in the park and thinking about monuments and Rebecca asked what would our monument be? So [Rebecca] chose this 150 year old tree to build a monument on/to/ and from. I then started thinking about how her work is about facing the monumental.”
MUSKRAT Staff Writer, Erica Commanda shares some of her highlights from Facing Monumental; the exhibit runs throughout the Art Gallery of Ontario until October 21, 2018.
*All photographs above taken by Erica Commanda
Wanda Nanibush Bio: is an Anishinaabe-kwe curator, image and word warrior, and community organizer from Beausoleil First Nation, located in Southern Ontario. Nanibush has a Master’s degree in visual studies from the University of Toronto. Over the past two decades, Nanibush has served in a wide range of capacities from programmer and festival coordinator to Aboriginal arts officer and executive director. During that time, she worked with organizations such as ImagineNATIVE, LIFT, Optic Nerve Film Festival, Reframe Film Festival, the Ontario Arts Council, Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, and the Association for Native Development in the Performing & Visual Arts (ANDPVA). Her curatorial credits include the exhibitions Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989 (AGO), Sovereign Acts II (Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery), and the award winning KWE: The work of Rebecca Belmore (Justina M. Barnicke Gallery). Nanibush has published widely on the subject of Indigenous art as well as women’s issues, and is currently at work on her first book, titled Violence No More: The Rise of Indigenous Women.
Rebecca Belmore Bio: Born in Upsala, Ontario, Belmore is an artist currently living in Vancouver, British Columbia. She attended the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto and is internationally recognized for her performance and installation art. Since 1987, her multi-disciplinary work has addressed history, place and identity through the media of sculpture, installation, video and performance. Belmore was Canada’s official representative at the 2005 Venice Biennale. Her work has appeared in numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally including two solo touring exhibitions, The Named and the Unnamed, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver (2002); and 33 Pieces, Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto at Mississauga (2001). Her group exhibitions include Houseguests, Art Gallery of Ontario (2001); Longing and Belonging: From the Faraway Nearby, SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico (1995); Land, Spirit, Power, National Gallery of Canada (1992); and Creation or Death: We Will Win, at the Havana Biennial, Havana Cuba (1991).
Born in Toronto, Erica Commanda (Algonquin/Ojibwe) grew up in the small community of Pikwakanagan. From there she moved across Canada living in Ottawa, Vancouver and now Toronto, working in the bar/hospitality industry, mastering the art of listening to stories from her regulars while slinging and spilling drinks (at them or to them). And now through a series of random decisions and events in life she is on a journey discovering and mastering her own knack for storytelling as a Staff Writer for MUSKRAT Magazine.