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Qavavau Manumie, Dark Fantasy, 2008 etching/aquatint on paper, edition 36/50 81.3 x 96.5 cm. Wolf and Sala Kampelmacher Memorial Collection. A promised donation to the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Photo: Don Hall. Image provided courtesy MacKenzie Art Gallery.

An exhibition of artwork by Indigenous artists is now on display at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina from the Kampelmacher Memorial Collection of Indigenous Art.

Across the Turtle’s Back: The Kampelmacher Memorial Collection of Indigenous Art opened October 15, 2016 and runs to April 23, 2017.

The Kampelmacher Memorial Collection provides a glimpse into a collection of over 1,000 works by First Nations, Métis, Inuit, North American, and Indigenous artists from across Turtle Island. The exhibition at the MacKenzie features 245 artworks. Of that, approximately 100 works have been promised as a donation to the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Permanent Collection.

Some of the artists featured in this exhibition include Allen Angeconeb, Germaine Arnaktauyok, Carl Beam, Joane Cardinal-Shubert, Eddy Cobiness, Blake Debassige, Alex Janvier, Robert Houle, Helen Kalvak, Daphne Odjig, Rick Rivet, Pitalousie Saila, and Roy Thomas.

Several stylistic groups and categories are encompassed within the exhibition, including early Inuit printmaking and tapestry, and contemporary Inuit carvings from across the four regions collectively known as Inuit Nunangat are well represented. There are also numerous works by artists from the Manitoulin Island area of Ontario, other Woodland School artists, and members of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. Artists from the Southwest United States and many more contemporary artists from across Canada and throughout North America are also prominent.

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Allen (Ahmoo) Angeconeb, Wolves Looking Out of Den, 1984, lithograph on paper, edition 57/93, 29 x 41 cm. Wolf and Sala Kampelmacher Memorial Collection. A promised donation to the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Photo: Don Hall. Photo courtesy MacKenzie Art Gallery.

Yellowknife collectors Thomas Druyan and Alice Ladner named the collection in honour of Druyan’s grandparents, Wolf and Sala Kampelmacher. The collection has been developed over almost a quarter century, and represents a myriad of artistic expression from across North America.

“One of the Gallery’s strategic objectives is to focus on art by, and relevant to, Indigenous peoples, and this generous promised donation amply supports that objective,” says Anthony Kiendl, the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Executive Director and CEO.

MacKenzie Curator Michelle LaVallee was amazed by this scope of work when she first visited Yellowknife to view the collection. “It was exciting to find important early works from a number of leading artists such as Robert Houle, Carl Beam, Alex Janvier, and Helen Kalvak,” LaVallee says. “It’s an incredible range of works by over 139 artists from across North America, many of whom will be new to Saskatchewan audiences.”

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