Career of beloved Treaty One artist showcased at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Career of beloved Treaty One artist showcased at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

A new solo survey exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery called Winyan, will showcase the career of beloved Treaty One artist, Lita Fontaine by bringing both her seminal and recent work together in one space for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Winyan is the Dakota word for woman.  The exhibit celebrates the beauty of Indigenous femininities as a form of resistance against patriarchal and colonial practices, by incorporating symbols of assimilation and gender discriminatory policies through vibrant colours, drawings, dresses, and large medallion-shaped paintings.

Career of beloved Treaty One artist showcased at the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winyan a Winnipeg Art Gallery featuring the career of a beloved Treaty One artist. (Photo Credit: Mitchell Ringos, CityNews)

“It’s really what I wanted the show for, to show our resiliency as women, we get up, we move on, we have beauty within ourselves, and I didn’t want to get stuck in the trauma, so I got involved in the beauty aspect of who I am,” explained Fontaine.

“It feels good because it brings me up to a different level as a professional artist.”

Lita Fountaine speaking at the opening of her Art Exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. (Photo Credit: Mitchell Ringos, CityNews)

Curator Marie-Anne Redhead says the range of vibrant of colors, especially pink showcases the warmth and femininity of Lita’s work.  She says she even took some inspiration from Litas fist solo showcase at the WAG in 2002.

“When I told Cathy I was planning the show, she actually told me the drum was part of that first show, you should bring it back it’s so important, it’s such a seminal piece,” said Marie-Anne Redhead, the assistant curator of Indigenous and contemporary art.

The drum is a focal point for the whole exbibit, with the beat being heard throughout, showcasing the heartbeat of Mother Earth.

Winyan a Winnipeg Art Gallery featuring the career of a beloved Treaty One artist. (Photo Credit: Mitchell Ringos, CityNews)

“I love the way how the drum resonates with the hide, it makes it come alive, it resonates on the hide ‘boom boom, boom boom’ to me that’s the heartbeat,” explained Fontaine.

Fontaine recently retired from being an early childhood educator, youth care worker, and paraprofessional, and says it’s not always easy prioritizing your art, but hopes her determination and drive to keep creating, will inspire other Indigenous artists to do the same.

“It doesn’t happen over night you know you do a painting no, it takes a few years, and over the years your work matures, and it’s gotten to a point where I have a show now.”

The exhibit opens Friday and runs until January 12th.

Winyan a Winnipeg Art Gallery featuring the career of a beloved Treaty One artist. (Photo Credit: Mitchell Ringos, CityNews)

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