Alan Syliboy: The Journey So Far

Alan Syliboy, Home, 1999, pencil and acrylic on paper. Collection of Marcia Hennessey.

Alan Syliboy
The Journey So Far, A Retrospective

Curated by Pamela Edmonds

May 9 – August 11, 2024
Thursday, June 20, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Dalhousie Art Gallery, Dalhousie University

Alan Syliboy: The Journey So Far is a retrospective celebrating over fifty years of artmaking by the renowned Mi’kmaw artist. The exhibition spans the breadth of Syliboy’s expansive career and includes rare early paintings, drawings, mixed media, video, music, as well as painted drums and a specially commissioned wall mural. Syliboy’s art is distinguished by bold colors, intricate patterns, and layered elements that bring to life the stories of Mi’kmaq history and spirituality.

A significant highlight is the inclusion of a series of works from the private collection of Marcia Hennessey, a dedicated collector who acquired nearly 100 of Syliboy’s pieces over three decades. This segment of the exhibition allows visitors to trace Syliboy’s artistic journey and witness his growth and evolution over time, providing insight into the bond between the artist and collector.

The reception for The Journey So Far will be held at Dalhousie Art Gallery on Thursday, June 20 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, in recognition of National Indigenous History Month. The artist and curator will be in attendance. Additional events will be announced on the Gallery’s website and social media channels.

Alan Syliboy, Star and Four Direction Whales, 2022, acrylic on canvas. Collection of Dalhousie Art Gallery.

About the Artist

For over fifty years, Alan Syliboy has shaped the landscape of Mi’kmaq art, seamlessly blending traditional and contemporary elements. He studied painting with Shirley Bear before attending the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (Halifax, NS) and eventually joining the university’s Board of Governors 25 years later. He received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and was long listed for the 2023 prestigious Sobey Art Award. Alan Syliboy has been part of many group and solo exhibitions nationally and worldwide, including at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax, NS) and Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent (Rivière-du-Loup, QC).

Syliboy’s artwork is deeply rooted in his Indigenous heritage, drawing from a rich tapestry of ancestral petroglyphs, quill weaving, and oral traditions. His style reflects a harmonious fusion of tradition and innovation, distinguishing him as a key figure in contemporary Indigenous art. Born and raised in Truro, Nova Scotia, Alan Syliboy lives and works from his art studio in Millbrook First Nation.

About Dalhousie Art Gallery

Dalhousie Art Gallery is an accessible venue, and admission to the gallery and associated events is always free to the public. The Gallery is on the lower level of the Dalhousie Arts Centre at 6101 University Avenue in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Gallery hours are Wednesday and Friday, 11 am – 5 pm; Thursday, 11 am – 8 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 5 pm.

For more details about Dalhousie Art Gallery, including upcoming events and programming, check out the Gallery’s website, Instagram, and Facebook.

The Gallery can be contacted via email at or by phone at (902) 494-2403.