When Raven Became Spider

21 September 2017 TO 29 October 2017


Art Gallery of Sudbury | Galerie d'art de Sudbury

251 rue John Street
Sudbury, ON
P3E 1P9

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Sonny Assu, Joi T. Arcand, Julianne Herney, Shaun Beyale, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, and Jeffrey Veregge


Leena Minifie

The Art Gallery of Sudbury is pleased to be hosting When Raven Became Spider, an exhibition, originally organized by the Dunlop Art Gallery and Regina Public Library, Regina, SK. This collaborative exhibition brings together works by six Indigenous artists who combine comic book images with figures and symbols from traditional and contemporary Indigenous culture.

The title of the exhibition, When Raven Became Spider, takes its name from contributing artist Sonny Assu’s works depicting Raven revealing himself as Spiderman. Other artists contributing to the exhibition include Joi T. Arcand, Julianne Herney, Shaun Beyale, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, and Jeffrey Veregge. By connecting the characters of Indigenous symbolism with comic book aesthetics, When Raven Became Spider is a demonstration of generations being influenced by pop culture, while still incorporating elements from traditional culture. The artworks on display offer traditional stories as a form of resurgence that will engage and connect with every audience, no matter what their idea of a superhero might be.

This exhibition was curated by Vancouver-based curator, Leena Minifie. She notes that the supernatural is also a part of everyday life for Indigenous people across nations. “Traditional stories,” she writes, “highlight figures with super-heroic traits who maintain their complexity, while contemporary comic-book superheroes tend to be simply characterized as good or evil.” “The complex super-heroic beings of Indigenous stories imply the possibility of self-transformation for individuals and communities alike” continues Minifie. “Bringing these figures into a contemporary context is a testimony to their continued importance and to the resilience and continued existence of Indigenous people today.”

The exhibition will be on display at the Art Gallery of Sudbury from September 21 – October 29, 2017. When Raven Became Spider is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Saskatchewan Arts Board (SAB), SaskCulture and Saskatchewan Lotteries. The touring of this exhibition is being supported by SAB’s Culture on the Go program.

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