Rebecca Belmore, Fringe, 2008


Posted May 25, 2017

MAWA has some REALLY exciting news!!! MAWA has recently obtained funding to exhibit the artworks of 50 contemporary Indigenous women in a cross-country billboard project entitled Resilience, curated by Lee-Ann Martin. In inner cities and on highways—sites from which too many women have disappeared—the presence of Indigenous women will be visible and celebrated through art. MAWA is working closely with our partner Pattison Outdoor Advertising to make it possible.

The project is scheduled to be launched in early summer 2018 and will be accompanied by a website to help you find the billboards. We imagine families taking to the highways on the proverbial family road trip and a little girl looking out through a rain-streaked window and seeing … Rebecca Belmore!

We conceived of this project for a variety of reasons. It is a rebuke to the history of how the Canadian government has treated Indigenous women. It is a response to staggering levels of sexual violence against Indigenous women. And it is a response to the Call to Action #79 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report: integration of “Indigenous history, heritage values, and memory practices into Canada’s national heritage and history” by supporting collaborations among Indigenous peoples and the arts community. This project is a creative act of reconciliation.

We are thrilled that Resilience is being put together by Lee-Ann Martin, one of the most senior contemporary Indigenous Curators in the Country. She is the former Curator of Contemporary Canadian Aboriginal Art at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec and the former Head Curator of the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan. A small selection of Martin’s curatorial projects include Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art in Winnipeg, Manitoba (2011) and touring exhibitions The Powwow: An Art History, MacKenzie Art Gallery (2000) and INDIGENA: Perspectives of Indigenous Peoples on 500 Years, Canadian Museum of Civilization (1992).

MAWA couldn’t be doing a project of this scale without the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. MAWA received one of the 150 New Chapter Awards granted this spring, out of 1,700 applicants. We are deeply honoured and we can’t wait to see the artists’ images on really, really big platforms all over the nation!