Kelly Greene: In My Dreams
30 July to 25 September, 2022
Glenhyrst Art Gallery
Curated by Matthew Ryan Smith
In this exhibition, artist Kelly Greene transforms a conventional 20th century classroom in Canada to one that conveys basic principles and teachings of the people of Six Nations. Greene’s interactive installation allows viewers to sit at wooden desks and practice writing lessons from the blackboard or elsewhere in “class”, including teachings offered by Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons and Sidney Hill, Traditional Leader of the Haudenosaunee. They explain basic Six Nations’ beliefs in the short film “We Are the Haudenosaunee,” which is positioned on the teacher’s desk. Other significant items included are the Iroquois Confederacy flag, an alternative world globe, and examples of Mohawk pottery and musical instruments. The painting of the bee and coneflower is included in this dream learning environment to acknowledge its importance, one that’s been on this earth for over 100 million years. Greene dreams of a future in which bees will continue to exist and thrive, although they are vanishing due to humans’ activities. Consequently, Greene flips the prevailing iconography of the classroom—where once hung images of Kings, Prime Ministers, flags, and maps of the empire have been replaced with one that is entirely Six Nations centric. This classroom of her dreams is positioned as a site of empathy, understanding, and exchange. Elsewhere in the exhibition, Greene offers historical context to her installation that includes a hand-painted portrait of John A. Macdonald, and a land acknowledgements polling station. The result is an eclectic dreamscape of what Greene has come to learn about her people and herself.
About the Artist
Kelly Greene (Mohawk member of Six Nations of the Grand River, descendant of Turtle Clan) is an award-winning multi-media artist whose work includes painting, sculpture, installation, and photography. Greene studied visual art at the University of New Mexico and earned a BFA from the University of Western Ontario in 1989. Her work has been exhibited throughout Canada and the United States including Woodland Cultural Centre (Brantford, Ontario), Saw Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario), Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff, Alberta), Thunder Bay Art Gallery (Thunder Bay, Ontario), Iroquois Indian Museum (Howes Cave, New York), and Gary Farmer Gallery (Santa Fe, New Mexico). Greene is the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. Currently, she is Western University’s inaugural Indigenous artist-in-residence.
Glenhyrst Art Gallery acknowledges that we are on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee Peoples. Brantford is situated on the Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations, which includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
Glenhyrst Art Gallery is fully accessible and includes an elevator and accessible washroom. The main entrance is accessed by a concrete pathway and may be opened with an automatic door opener. For assistance or questions about the gallery, please call us. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.