By Brad Bellegarde

(Regina SK) – The opening of the multi-artist exhibit that explores the impacts of colonialism, Moving Forward, Never Forgetting, had an even deeper meaning for those that attended the exhibit’s opening at the Mackenzie Art Gallery.

During the opening ceremonies, a song was played to honour the memories of Michele Sereda and Lacy Morin-Desjarlais whose lives, along with Narcisse Blood (Alberta) and Michael Green (Alberta), ended tragically in a car accident just north of Regina on February 10, 2015.

Both Sereda and Morin-Desjarlais had unique connections to the exhibit.

Sereda had a long working relationship with the Mackenzie Art Gallery through her company, Curtain Razors.

Her involvement with the Moving Forward, Never Forgetting exhibit was in a mentorship role for emerging artist Julianne Beaudin-Herney.

“Michele agreed to mentor her and she was working with [Beaudin-Herney] to develop performance techniques,” said Michele LaVallee, associate curator at the Mackenzie Art Gallery and co-curator of the exhibit. “Michele was working as a mentor and was going to help her develop her performance at the Mackenzie.”

Head Curator Timothy Long indicated that Sereda was a one-of-a-kind performer and her influence was felt around the world.

“The main project I worked on with Michele, the largest and most extensive was called Ballet by Super Gallery. It really showed me what kind of international networks she was working with,” said Long. “You can’t replace somebody like Michele. We’ll miss Michele’s contribution [because] she specifically brought in that theatre background but she was somebody who’d move from theatre, through performance, through visual art performance in gallery. I’m going to miss that, I think Regina will miss that.”

At the time of her passing Morin-Desjarlais was one of the Indigenous Story Keepers for the exhibit.

Another artist featured in the exhibit Cheryl L’Hirondelle had the privilege of working with Morin-Desjarlais through the International Indigenous Artists Program during the North American Indigenous Games in Regina.

“Lacy was the anchor,” L’Hirondelle said of the NAIG performance. “Her tone was really respectful and she always remembered [everyone’s priorities]. There’d always be a point in the day where she’d go, ‘Right! We’ve got to do your thing right now!’ So I really paid note and really respected her for that.”

Moving Forward, Never Forgetting is at the Mackenzie Art Gallery until April 19, 2015.

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