The First Nations University of Canada announced the new name for the university’s art gallery at an event on Thursday. The in-house gallery is now called the Plain Red Art Gallery (PRAG).

PRAG_Keith_artexhibit

Artist Keith Bird’s Stories from the Spirit Tree is the current exhibit in the newly minted Plain Red Art Gallery at the First Nations University of Canada. Photo credit: Mike Dubois.

“The new name is thought-provoking and indicative of the gallery’s unique role. Our art gallery serves as an important platform for dialogue between artists, students and faculty. It is also an important bridge for cultural-sharing and outreach to the public. We are honoured to open our exhibit space to a broad spectrum of artists, from world-renowned such as Norval Morrisseau to our own students. PRAG will showcase innovation as well as celebrate a diversity of Indigenous traditions,” stated Dr. Lynn Wells, Vice-President, Academic in a press release.

The new name incorporates several meanings. “Plain” refers to the gallery’s location on the plains. It also plays on the stereotypical idea that the artwork on display is clear or simple and ordinary, whereas the gallery strives to spotlight the deep, thought-provoking, complex and extraordinary aspects of Indigenous artwork.

“Red” is used in a positive manner, as a way of reclaiming the word to use as one of power instead of its former colonial derogatory reference. “Red” also acknowledges the colour as a sacred direction and the teachings that come with it.

The logo also has a layered meaning. It is made up of varying shades of red, recognizing that Indigenous people do not fit a homogenous image. The varying shades of red also reflect Indigenous people’s diversity as artists. The headdress references Indigenous traditions and the university’s logo.

 

 

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