Exploring Indigenous Voices: Madweyàshkà

Canada Council for the Arts

Madweyàshkà: Like a Wave

Are you planning to be in the Ottawa area in the coming months? Be sure to stop by the Canada Council for the Arts at 150 Elgin Street to visit the latest Art Bank exhibition.

From June 18, 2024 to May 19, 2025, Madweyàshkà: Like a Wave, an exhibition that brings together works of art by contemporary First Nations and Métis artists from the past four decades, will be on display in Âjagemô, the Canada Council exhibition space.

Olivia Kristoff—an emerging curator and writer of Cowessess First Nation based in Saskatoon, Treaty 6 territory, Saskatchewan—is the curator. Her work focuses on language revitalization, storytelling as an art form, and land-based knowledge in art practices.

“In looking at a range of works from Indigenous artists from the 1970s to the 2010s, viewers can experience the transfer of teachings through generations, through their artworks,” explains Kristoff. “Like the passing down of traditional knowledge, the artists in Madweyàshkà: Like a Wave have influenced and inspired each other in their respective times and spaces, giving new voices to the images that have shaped their reality.”

Joane Cardinal-Schubert, It Never Quits, 1990. Photo: Brandon Clarida Image Services.

The works selected by Kristoff for this exhibition include pieces by Barry Ace, Carl Beam, Joane Cardinal-Schubert, Rosalie Favell, Greg A. Hill, Robert Houle, Nadia Myre, David Neel, Shelley Niro, Edward Poitras, Jane Ash Poitras, Michael Robinson and Jeff Thomas.

“This exhibit is a chance for the public to reflect on the experiences of Indigenous peoples in Canada through the power of art,” says Head of the Art Bank, Amy Jenkins. “These artists all use art in myriad ways—to heal, to communicate, to comment—and they invite viewers into a complex, nuanced story.”

The importance of language and its revitalization also strongly comes to light, with several First Nation languages also featured in the exhibit, including Algonquin, Blackfoot, Cree, Mohawk, Ojibwe and Saulteaux languages.

Carl Beam, Burying the Ruler #1, 1990. Photo: Brandon Clarida Image Services.

The Âjagemô exhibition space is open daily from 7 am to 9 pm, admission is free. Register for the June 18 opening event or for a guided tour with the curator on June 19.

For more on the artists, the exhibit, and the Art Bank, visit artbank.ca or find us on Instagram (@artbank_banquedart) and Facebook (@CCartbank).

The Art Bank is piloting a new web app to promote greater public access to works from the collection. Those interested in elevating their experience by listening and learning more about the works and artists featured in Madweyàshkà, are encouraged to view them in the app.

More about the Art Bank

There are over 17,000 works of art by 3,000 artists from across the country in the Canada Council Art Bank. Through its art rental, loans, and outreach activities the Art Bank contributes to the visibility and vibrancy of contemporary works of art; it creates engaging spaces that inspire and celebrate culture, while also encouraging innovation by and for the arts sector in Canada.

Canada Council Art Bank
921 St-Laurent Boulevard
Ottawa, ON K1K 3B1
613-566-4414, extension 4479

Facebook @CCartbank
Instagram @artbank_banquedart

Âjagemô exhibition space
150, Elgin Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 1L4

The Canada Council’s offices, located in Ottawa, are on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation whose presence here reaches back to time immemorial. Read the full statement.

The Canada Council Âjagemô exhibition space is fully accessible. For more information, visit here.

Canada Council Art Bank logo

Image descriptions:
1) The words “Like a Wave,” “Madweyàshkà,” and “Comme une vague” on a photograph of crashing waves.
2) Two photos showing three people are shown against a dark background punctuated by colorfully painted flowers.
3) A shirtless man wearing a hat and holding a wooden ruler stands outdoors; the words “Burying the ruler” are written in red on the picture.