Reception: Friday, October 10, 2008 — 8:00pm
Old Sun is a new exhibition of installations in which Adrian A. Stimson explores identity, history, and transcendence through the reconfiguration of architectural and natural fragments culled from the relics of the Chief Old Sun Residential School. Stimson writes: “Old Sun or Natusapi was a chief of the Blackfoot and a distant relative. My family has told me that he was a respected leader and distrusted the newcomers greatly…preferring war to what at the time he considered the end of our way of life. The Blackfoot Reserve #149…was divided in half for conversion, the east to the Catholics and the west to the Anglicans. The school that was built was named Chief Old Sun Residential School, I find it ironic that his namesake was used as it ensured the end of a way of life for many of his descendants; my family members. The institution now called Old Sun College has made the transition from residential school to college, yet remains a colonizing symbol for many on my Nation. Over the years, various renovations have created fragments of material culture; I have been privileged to collect many of these fragments.”
Adrian Stimson is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation. He has a BFA with distinction from the Alberta College of Art and Design and MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. He considers himself as an interdisciplinary artist; he exhibits nationally and internationally.
His paintings are primarily monochromatic, they primarily depict bison in imagined landscapes, they are melancholic, memorializing, and sometimes whimsical, they evoke ideas cultural fragility, resilience and nostalgia. The British Museum recently acquired two paintings for their North American Indigenous collection.
His performance art looks at identity construction, specifically the hybridization of the Indian, the cowboy, the shaman and Two Spirit being. Buffalo Boy, The Shaman Exterminator are two reoccurring personas. He is also known for putting his body under stress, in White Shame Re-worked, he pierced his chest 7 times, recreating a performance originally done by Ahasiw-Muskegon Iskew, crawled across the desert in 110 degree heat for What about the Red Man? For Burning Man’s The Green Man and recently dug a TRENCH in a five-day durational performance sunrise to sunset.
His installation work primarily examines the residential school experience; he attended three residential schools in his life. He has used the material culture from Old Sun Residential School on his Nation to create works that speak to genocide, loss and resilience.
His photography includes collodion wet plate portraits, performance dioramas and war depictions.
His sculpture work has been primarily collaborative; he has worked with relatives of Murdered and Missing Women to create Bison Sentinels and with the Whitecap Dakota Nation in creating Sprit of Alliance a monument to the War of 1812.
He was a participant in the Canadian Forces Artist Program, which sent him to Afghanistan.
He was awarded the Blackfoot Visual Arts Award in 2009, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003, the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 and the REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award –Hnatyshyn Foundation