Group Exhibition CANADIAN BELONGING(s)

Art Gallery of Mississauga ⁠ accessible_forward
300 City Centre Dr
  • Basil AlZeri
  • Sonny Assu
  • Pansee Atta
  • Cindy Blažević
  • Vanessa Dion Fletcher
  • Cheryl L’Hirondelle
  • Kristie MacDonald
  • Meryl McMaster
  • Abdi Osman

The country now known as Canada (Kanata) is home to people from many lands. Yet, its national imaginary is hardly reflective of this, as images of Canada—both within its borders and outside of them—continue to portray a country forged by British and French settlers. In contrast, the artists in CANADIAN BELONGING(s) demonstrate nuanced and complex examples of belonging, speaking back to dominant representations of national identity steeped in histories of settler-colonialism and white supremacy. With their own unique relationships to the nation-state, artists Basil AlZeri, Sonny Assu, Pansee Atta, Cindy Blažević, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Kristie MacDonald, Meryl McMaster, and Abdi Osman demonstrate this specificity through distinct negotiations of material belongings. Through their use of the photograph and its function as documentation, a site for intervention, and an archive ripe for appropriation, the artists in CANADIAN BELONGING(s) make visible multiple understandings of the self through the presentation of specific objects of identification. Here, the postcard, passport, scrapbook, landscape, portrait, treaty, and wampum are all re-signified, subverting their settler-colonial function and, instead, evidencing distinct examples of belonging on this land.

Free shuttle bus to the May 5 opening reception departs from the Gladstone Hotel at 6pm, returns 8pm.

Curated by Ellyn Walker

Meryl McMaster earned her BFA in Photography from the OCAD University (2010). Known for her large-format self-portraits that have a distinct performative quality, she explores questions of self through land, lineage, history, and culture, with specific reference to her mixed nêhiyaw (Plains Cree), British and Dutch ancestry. McMaster’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Urban Shaman Gallery, Winnipeg (2021), Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2019), Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto (2019), Glenbow, Calgary (2019), IAIA MOCNA, Santa Fe (2015), and Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, New York (2015). Her work has appeared in group exhibitions at Australian Centre for Photography, Australia (2019), National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2018), Ottawa Art Gallery (2018, 2019), the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (2019), amongst others.