This September, the President’s Art Collection welcomed two Student Research Assistants to join Curator Alex King. Stephanie Ross and Sarah Timewell have been tasked with contributing research and extended texts about selected artwork in the President’s Collection. The results of their findings will be published on a campus art tour website that will be launched to coincide with Congress 2018, providing curious visitors, students and staff with a greater understanding of the University’s art holdings. By way of introduction to themselves and the work they’ve been undertaking, Stephanie and Sarah were asked to write a short blog post about their experiences.
I am a fourth year student working towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and a minor in Cultures of Display. What an unbelievable experience I am having working with the collection, I am learning so much! It is an honor to be working so closely with such influential art works. Right now I am working on researching the Regina Five and focussing on the Regina Five Wall in the Riddell Center. This wall is truly a marvellous and lasting legacy of the past faculty of this University. These men were instrumental in breaking the artistic isolation of Regina in the 1950’s. Through their determination to broaden the horizons and artistic standards they organized the Emma Lake Workshops; where prestigious artists came to a retreat in Saskatchewan to build, bond and share in artistic practice. Their work also gained national attention with the May Show, an exhibition that started here, at the Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery. The exhibition then went to the National Gallery of Canada and was entitled, Five Painters from Regina, and toured Canada.
I am of Métis and Hungarian ancestry and originally from Vancouver, BC. I am currently in my final term of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Indigenous Art) program at the First Nations University of Canada. Although I enjoy working in many mediums, my focus is on Indigenous fine arts, including mainly beadwork and drawing. It is my goal to continue on to obtain a Master of Fine Arts and work as a professor teaching Indigenous fine arts to the next generation.
Through my work with the President’s Art Collection, I have researched many of the Indigenous artists in the collection including Henry Hunt, Kenojuak Ashevak, and Roy Thomas, to name a few. One of my favourite commissions by the university includes three hooked rugs made by artists Bernice Runns, Marjorie Yuzicappi, and Martha Tawyaka of the Standing Buffalo Dakota First Nation. In the late 1960, a number of women came together to form the Sioux Handcraft Co-operative. Adapting historical designs usually painted on ceremonial robes, the women converted the age-old tradition into a rug-making venture that operated until 1972. To reference their roots, the rugs are referred to as tah-hah-sheena which is the original name of the decorated animal hides.
Untitled Rug by Martha Tawyaka, 1971, wool and linen backing, measurements ~15ft x ~5ft