“I draw a lot from my culture. I think most artists’ work is autobiographical, so you’re pulling from your past, your history, your family history, your community history…my work is a confluence between the historical and the contemporary.” – Barry Ace
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has launched a new series of Teacher Resources. Titled “Artist Spotlight,” the series, created for students between grades 7 to 12, features contemporary artists from the AGO’s collection. The AGO has announced that “the first set focuses on Indigenous artists in the AGO Collection” starting with Barry Ace and will also include Robert Houle as well as Sonny Assu, Ruth Cuthand, Carl Beam and Adrian Stimson.
Each spotlight focuses on one work. For Barry’s, it is trinity suite. This series of three Bandolier Bags were included in the Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood group exhibition at the AGO in 2017 as part of their Canada 150 programming then acquired and installed in the new J.S. Mclean Centre of Indigenous and Canadian Art that opened July 1, 2018 under the curatorial direction of Wanda Nanibush, Curator of Indigenous Art at the AGO.
The resource provides background on the artists and includes “an activity students can do from home as well as share online.”
From the resource:
The past-present-future continuum of Ace’s artwork also alludes to the notion of survivance. Anishinaabe writer
and scholar Gerald Vizenor frst connected “survivance” to Indigenous issues in the late 1990s, stating that,
“Survivance is an active sense of presence, the continuance of native stories, not a mere reaction, or a survivable
name. Native survivance stories are renunciations of dominance, tragedy and victimry.” Put simply, Ace’s trinity
suite is a way of saying, “We are still here and we’ll continue to be here.”
The AGO has also made the digital resources available to the public. Download Barry Ace’s PDF on trinity suite here.