This exhibition welcomes new works into our collection, helping Museum London convey a broader representation of contemporary art created by Indigenous artists. These dynamic works illuminate Aboriginal history and lived experience, engage in difficult conversations about injustice, and push the boundaries of contemporary art practice in Canada and internationally.

Museum London is home to a rich variety of prints, paintings, and sculptures made by artists who are members of First Peoples communities. Beginning in 2016, the curatorial team established a goal of increasing acquisitions of contemporary work by Indigenous artists. As a result, more historical works are being joined by new ones. Together, they continue dialogues. Some relate ancestral narratives, while others celebrate the occurrences of everyday life. Several critique ongoing social conditions ensuing from the prejudicial legacies of colonialism. They are informed by, and communicate, unique histories and shared knowledge. The terms above were chosen as they mean today, or now, in the Anishinaabemowin, Inuktitut, Cree, and Mohawk languages.

Works in the exhibition are by artists living in the region and from across Canada. They are diverse, in materials used and content expressed, and can be interpreted in a variety of ways. They include photographs by Woodstock, Ontario artist Patricia Deadman, and by Ottawa’s Meryl McMaster; conceptual work by Vancouver’s Raymond Boisjoly and North Bay, Ontario’s Duane Linklater; and drawings by Kinngait, Nunavut-based artist Shuvinai Ashoona.

The Museum London art collection is an ongoing project. As a public resource, it underpins our programs, and is important for internal and external scholarship. It is regularly evaluated to suggest new areas for growth. This process strengthens an understanding of the works we already preserve, and acknowledges the richness of Canadian art and society.

Image: Shuvinai Ashoona (Canadian, born 1961), Heads Emerge from the Rocks, 2015, coloured pencil and ink on paper. Purchase, John H. and Elizabeth Moore Acquisition Fund, 2018