The Aunties are Listening
Guest Curated by Tanya Harnett
April 20, 2018 - May 30, 2018
“To be born Indian is to be born political.”
– Elijah Harper
Aunties are on the frontlines. They carry forward our complex history, the wisdom of survival and the fortitude to protect the future. Indigenous women play a central role in community. They are the nurturing sage and the matriarchs we look to for sound advice. The Aunties are Listening exhibition celebrates the resilience of women who have given way for change. The artists celebrated in this exhibition are Christi Belcourt, Rebecca Belmore, Joane Cardinal-Schubert, Rosalie Favell, Faye HeavyShield, Jane Ash Poitras, Lauren I. Wuttunee and those men that honour women: George Littlechild, Kimowan Metchewais and Isaac Murdoch.
Aboriginal women play a strong role in the Canadian epoch. Ignored, stereotyped and victims of violence, Aboriginal women are marginalized by mainstream Canadian culture. The news media reports on the issues of murdered and missing Indigenous women, the untimely deaths of our youth, the outrageous number of children subjected to the ‘Indigenous Child Welfare’ system— a figure that outnumbers the victims of the residential school system. Often on the front lines are our aunties, they mentor us, they guide us, feed us and give us direction in these troubled times. As Indigenous lawyer and historian Sharon Venne, reminds us ‘women never put pen to treaty’ and it is the Indigenous women’s resilience that keeps us strong.
The artwork exhibited here comes from the former Alberta Indian Arts and Crafts Society collection now housed at the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada – Indigenous Art Centre. This collection was rescued by the artists included in this show. It is intended that this work will sleep until an Indigenous gallery is formed.