Advisor: Bonnie Devine
Curator: Patrick DeCoste
Artists: Don Chrétien, Bernard Leroux, and Shawn Johnson
EXHIBITION DATES: September 25 to November 26, 2021
Curated by queer Acadian-Metis artist Patrick DeCoste, and advised by Serpent River First Nation, GG Award-winning artist Bonnie Devine, SEED UN CEDE examines the codes and the coding utilized in the Woodland School and more recent digital platforms to speak about colonization and futurism.
The visual arts exhibition showcases the artwork of Bernard Leroux, Shawn Johnston, and Don Chrétien, three Indigenous artists who use traditional and contemporary techniques to create personal and vibrant expressions of nature and spirit. According to DeCoste the group evoke, “Listening to a hummingbird’s vibration, smelling wet burnt wood, and licking nectar from a flower: the artworks activate our senses, performing like messages from the woodland forest, coded signals, transmitting on a frequency of white birch bark and mega-pixels.”
The show features painting, sculpture, video, and digital animation to express individual relationships with land and identity. It will be presented on-site at the John B. Aird Gallery. Appointments to view the exhibit can be booked on the Gallery website. The project will be documented and made available through an online publication with essays by the curator and advisor.
Bernard Leroux holds an MFA from OCAD-U. He currently teaches photography and advanced digital film production at Durham College in the School of Media Art and Design – frequently collaborating with the Centre for Academic and Faculty Enrichment (CAFÉ) and the First Peoples Indigenous Centre (FPIC) [Durham College] as an educational developer for Indigenous Learning.
The unique style and impact of Aboriginal fine artist Donald Chrétien spring from his combined passion for colour and woodland-style expression. His ongoing exploration of his heritage has him concentrating on distinct features of Ojibwe clans’ acrylic on canvas. His works are exhibited in some of the most interesting corners of North America. His Vancouver Olympics installation piece, titled: Ngashi Nijii Bineshiinh or Mother, Friend, Small Bird, is on permanent display in Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum and stands 12 feet high by 80 feet long.
Shawn Johnston is a queer Indigenous Digital Media Artist, living in Innisfil, ON. Shawn has a BFA in Integrated Media and is a Master of Information (MI) Candidate with the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. His area of focus is Archives and Records Management (ARM) & Culture and Technology. Shawn’s work explores elements of the body, memory, identity, and & their relationships within the framework of Indigenous Culture and technology; Recording, preserving, and honoring Indigenous history & tradition, propelling it into the forefront of modern mode & discourse.
Patrick DeCoste is a visual artist, educator, and occasional curator. His work is autobiographical and a conversation between Canadian history and a queer metis Nova Scotian voice. He now lives in Toronto, where he received an MFA from OCAD University and received the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies. His work has been exhibited across Canada, beyond, and recently at Tom Thomson Gallery, Owen Sound. He teaches art workshops through the Urban Indigenous Education Centre in Toronto. Some of his occasional curatorial projects include Bluewater Revue: an art residency on Georgian Bay, Daddy I and Daddy II: art projects displayed at alternative spaces in the artist’s neighbourhood, and Gay Gardens at Aird Gallery in the summer of 2020.
Bonnie Devine, Advisor. is an installation artist, video maker, curator, and writer. Her work emerges from the storytelling and image-making traditions that are central to Anishinaabe culture. Though formally educated in sculpture and installation art at OCAD and York Universities, Devine’s most enduring learning came from her grandparents, who were trappers at Genaabaajing (Serpent River) First Nation, on the north shore of Lake Huron. Using cross-disciplinary approaches and iterations of written, visual, and performative practice, Devine explores issues of land, environment, treaty, history, and narrative.
SEED UN CEDE is presented with support from the Toronto Arts Council and the Fleck Family.