Carl Beam: Columbus Suite

18 May 2023 TO 30 July 2023


Art Gallery of Sudbury | Galerie d'art de Sudbury

251 rue John Street
Sudbury, ON
P3E 1P9

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Carl Beam


Ally Zmijowskyj Carlos

Comprised of twelve large-scale etchings, Columbus Suite is one of Carl Beam’s most influential series.

Created in 1990 ahead of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in North America, Columbus Suite is one series in Carl Beam’s larger multimedia Columbus Project (1989 -1992). 

CARL BEAM. Sitting Bull and Whale (The Columbus Suite), 1990. Etching on paper. LUMAC Collection, Art Gallery of Sudbury | Galerie d’art de Sudbury.

The juxtaposition of images in each etching generates critical commentary on how European colonization has deeply impacted Indigenous culture, identity, and knowledge. 

The twelve artworks in Gallery One are from the Laurentian University Museum and Art Centre permanent collection. This edition is the first of the twenty editions of this suite that Carl Beam produced.

Carl Beam was born in M’Chigeeng (West Bay) on Manitoulin Island in 1943. His experiences as a child in residential school informed the themes of his art throughout his career. He completed his BFA at the University of Victoria in 1974 and later pursued graduate work at the University of Alberta. Appreciated for his approach to mixed media photo-collages, Carl Beam was also a master painter, ceramicist, and printmaker. 

In 1986, Carl Beam’s painting North American Iceberg was the first work by a contemporary Indigenous artist to be acquired by the National Gallery of Canada for its permanent collection. 

Almost two decades after his passing in 2005, Carl Beam’s artwork continues to resonate in the journey to Truth and Reconciliation.

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