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National Gallery of Canada opens SAKAHAN: International Indigenous Art

National Gallery of Canada presents SAKAHAN: International Indigenous Art an exhibition on view from May 17 to September 2, 2013.

Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art, the largest-ever global survey of contemporary Indigenous art, features over 150 poetic, unexpected and challenging artworks by more than 80 artists from 16 countries and six continents. Sakahàn, meaning “to light [a fire]” in the language of the Algonquin peoples, is organized by the National Gallery of Canada, supported by the RBC Foundation, and sponsored by CN. In addition, Sakahàn partners will present exhibitions in spaces in the Ottawa-Gatineau region and across the country.

The artworks presented in Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art range from videos and installations to sculptures, drawings, prints, paintings, performance art, murals and new, site-specific projects created specifically for this exhibition. Employing distinct approaches that reflect their specific and unique places in the world, the artists create a rich and generative dialogue about what it means to be an Indigenous artist today. In an increasingly globalized world, this exchange of ideas and experiences has a profound effect on us all.

Among the many artists featured in the exhibition are such well-known names as Rebecca Belmore (Anishinaabe, lives in Vancouver, Canada), Brian Jungen (Dane-zaa, lives in Vancouver, Canada), Annie Pootoogook (Inuit, lives in Ottawa, Canada), and Tim Pitsiulak (Inuit, lives in Cape Dorset, NU, Canada), Jimmie Durham (Cherokee, lives in Rome, Italy, and Berlin, Germany), Marie Watt, (Seneca, lives in Portland, USA), Teresa Margolles (Mestiza, lives in Madrid, Spain, and Mexico City, Mexico), Michael Parekowhai (Maori, lives in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand), and Fiona Pardington (Maori and Scottish, lives in Waiheke Island, Aotearoa New Zealand). Also included are a number of artists who have not yet received widespread exposure in North America, such as Toru Kaizawa (Ainu, lives in Nibutani, Japan), Venkat Raman Shyam (Gond, lives in Bhopal, India), and Outi Pieski (Sámi, lives in Utsjoki, Finland).

Through their works, the artists engage with concepts of self-representation to question colonial narratives, present parallel histories, promote the value of the handmade, explore relationships between the spiritual, the uncanny and the everyday, and put forward highly personal responses to the impact of social and cultural trauma.

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