For Manitoba artist Dee Barsy, meeting her birth family for the first time in 2016 was a life-changing experience. The realization she had four grandmothers was even more of a stunning revelation.
Barsy’s initial reaction to the news was to do what she does best.
“I felt emotional and had a lot of painting to do.”
Barsy’s painting, titled “Four Grandmothers” is one of many works on display from 29 artists across Canada as part of the Insurgence/Resurgence exhibit, featured at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The display is the largest-ever exhibit of contemporary indigenous art.
The painting symbolizes what Barsy calls the diverse spirit of each of her grandmothers. She is more than happy to have her work displayed in the groundbreaking exhibit.
“I feel humbled and honoured to be involved,” she said. “The show is very beautiful, and there’s a wide range of mediums.”
A wide variety of pieces from a diverse group of indigenous artists was the goal of co-curators Julie Nagam and Jaimie Isaac.
“We wanted to showcase new and upcoming artists,” Nagam said. “Indigenous artists are making some of the best cutting edge work in the country. We have so many different disciplines, from stop motion animation, to projection, sounds to paintings.”
Nagam said 12 of the artists were commissioned to do pieces specifically for this exhibit.
“It’s really quite an amazing feat for the gallery,” Nagam said.
There are no current plans to show the exhibit anywhere else, so Nagam says they are encouraging folks from all over to attend the Winnipeg-exclusive display.
“We’ve had groups from Australia, New Zealand, the USA, who are blown away by the show.”
The art is spread out through 17,000 square feet of the gallery and will be on display until April 22.