9 September – 5 November 2016
Opening Reception: Friday 9 September 2016, 7PM
Mercer Union is delighted to present a solo exhibition by Duane Linklater titled From Our Hands, with Ethel Linklater (Trapper) and Tobias Linklater. Working across installation, performance, film, and photography, Duane Linklater excavates histories to unearth folds and knots addressing cultural loss, recovery and sovereignty. Unearthing work hidden beneath gallery walls or re-inserting iconic Indigenous imagery inscribed within Canadian identity, he explores the migration and exchange of knowledge and ideas, and their consequences.
The title of this exhibition, From Our Hands, refers to an exhibition which toured Ontario between 1982 and 1985 presenting Indigenous craft, and including the work of Ethel Linklater, Duane’s grandmother. These works are re-presented within the galleries and displayed on new support structures. That this loan was negotiated by Mercer Union through the Thunder Bay Art Gallery mobilizes present day structural relations of cultural heritage while highlighting traces of genealogy and questions of legacy. This intergenerational relationship is extended in the presentation of a recent claymation film by Duane’s twelve year old son, Tobias Linklater.
In this exhibition Linklater explores the structural language of an institution to develop a series of structural responses. He considers the internal language of walls, the spaces for the Indigenous body, and how spaces of inclusion can be extended. Ubiquitous materials of construction, gypsum, plywood and steel mined and extracted from the land, are repurposed in a series of 8 foot high sculptures, their width mimicking that of Linklater’s chest and height referring to his height with extended arms. Furthermore, there is a large-scale structural intervention in the galleries, the removal and replacing of the east gallery wall to introduce a sentence questioning Indigenous sovereignty of land and law, and legacy.
Through this layering of generations, of structures and structural systems, From Our Hands is an intervention into that which is given, its residue will persist.
Special thanks to Thunder Bay Art Gallery for the loan of works by Ethel Linklater.
This is Linklater’s first solo institutional exhibition in Toronto and is the third in a series of commissioned solo exhibitions at Mercer Union generously supported by Partners In Art.
The exhibition will travel to 80WSE Galleries at New York University (NYU), New York, in late 2016.
Duane Linklater is Omaskêko Cree from Moose Cree First Nation in Northern Ontario. Born in 1976, he holds bachelor’s degrees in fine art and Native studies from the University of Alberta (2005) and a master’s degree in film and video from the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College (2012). His work is currently on exhibition in a two-person exhibition A Parallel Excavation: Duane Linklater with Tanya Lukin Linklater at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta and he is participating in the SeMa Biennale 2016 in Seoul Korea. Recent solo exhibitions include; Salt 11: Duane Linklater, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City (2015); ICA@50: It means it’s raining, ICA, Philadelphia (2014); Decommission, Maclaren Art Centre, Barrie, Ontario; Learning, Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto; Something about encounter, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Ontario; Grain(s), in collaboration with Tanya Lukin Linklater, Images Festival co presentation with Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; and Secondary Explanation, The New Gallery, Calgary (all 2013). Linklater was awarded the Sobey Art Award in 2013. Duane is represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery Vancouver. He lives with his family in North Bay, Ontario.
Ethel Linklater was born November 24 1932 near the community La Sarre, Quebec. She was raised by her parents in the area who then relocated to Moose Factory, Ontario. A fluent Cree language speaker, she was taught to make objects at an early age by her mother, matriarch of the family, Emily Trapper. Ethel developed her practice over her entire lifetime and the high quality of her work was well known and sought after throughout the James Bay region. She passed away July 7, 2004 leaving a strong cultural legacy behind for her many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Tobias Linklater, born in 2004, is a member of Moose Cree First Nation (Ontario, Canada) and the Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions (Alaska, USA). Tobias is Omaskeko Cree and Alutiiq and resides in North Bay, Ontario. Origin of the Hero (2016) is his first video for exhibition and was developed at Near North Mobile Media Lab’s Animation Creation Camp in August 2016.
Image credit: Ethel Linklater, Mitts, c1980, Moose leather, glass beads, fabric, beaver fur and wool. Collection of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, From Our Hands Collection, Gift of the Government of Ontario.
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Admission is FREE and all are welcomeIntroductory tours every Saturday at 2pmMercer Union, a centre for contemporary art, acknowledges the support of its members and volunteers, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.