Under the mentorship of Simon Brascoupé, a curator from the local Aboriginal community, four young people were selected to take part in the Gallery’s Junior Curator program. Their two-month journey of learning about becoming a curator culminated in a weekend-long exhibition at the Fall Down Gallery in downtown Ottawa.
Elberlyn Gerritson Hill
I am a Mohawk and Dutch Canadian. Art has played a major role in my recreational and educational life. My parents work at the Canada Council for the Arts and the National Gallery of Canada, and I have experience volunteering in both places. In fact, I organized and created files for the participating artists in the Sakahàn exhibition.
I am a First Nations student studying in the Creative Arts Program at John Abbott College. I study art, how it relates to and impacts culture. I have witnessed how the lack of knowledge of Aboriginal communities affects society and the arts. The Sakahàn exhibition is important for our community, especially for the youth who are its future.
As a Maliseet youth, I want to be able to participate in my culture. Art is an expression of oneself, something that defines not only the artists, but the world around them and the societies they live in. Youth should be in touch with their heritage and their people’s history, to know where they came from and how to remember that in their day-to-day life. What better window into a culture’s heritage than its art?
I am an Inuk beneficiary of the Nunatsiavut government, living in Ottawa (Urban Inuit). I have always been interested in art; it is a passion of mine. After dabbling in all kinds of media, I have fallen on painting and photography. I try to let Aboriginal artists influence me. Most of my understanding and knowledge comes through community centres, family, local artists and my own research.
Community Curator - Simon Brascoupé
Simon Brascoupé is an internationally known Aboriginal artist from Kitigan Zibi Anishnabek, Maniwaki, Quebec. He depicts humans’ sacred relationship with animals and birds using the traditional Aboriginal stencil (pochoir) technique. Simon’s work has been exhibited in Canada, the United States, Europe, China and Cuba. It is included in the collections of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. His work is also held in private and corporate collections.
Mr. Brascoupé guided the Junior Curators in the process of curating an art exhibition, with special consideration of community resources and the social, political and cultural issues around Indigenous identity.