Young Ancestors Exhibition at Government House

Beaverbrook Art GalleryOctober 7, 20140 Comments

For Immediate Release

An exhibition of artworks created by youth from the First Nations communities of Pabineau, Oromocto, and Metepenagiag, opened September 29th at Government House in Fredericton and will continue until November 28th.

Wolastoqiyik Young Ancestors—Sharing Spirit Through Art is a component of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s ActionArt Program, a two part education program designed to promote discovery, creativity and dialogue through art and culture. The ActionArt Program is made possible with the support of BMO Financial Group which has contributed $300,000 over five years to its realization. A second component of the Program focuses on multicultural youth.  The Young Ancestors workshops have taken place in Tobique, Kingsclear, St. Mary’s First Nation and Elsibogtog in 2013 and in Pabineau, Oromocto and Metepenagiag in 2014. The workshops are scheduled to take place in all First Nation communities throughout the province during the course of the five-year project.

The Honourable Graydon Nicholas, Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, welcomed guests to his official residence and congratulated participants on their artwork at a reception during the opening.

“I am so happy to be able to lend my support to this program which focuses on your heritage and culture,” said Nicholas. “It is a wonderful way to end my term as Her Majesty’s representative, by featuring the work of young artists and promoting this project to all who visit this historic residence.”

“BMO is proud to support the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s ActionArt program and this wonderful exhibition of native artworks that brings us all together in the appreciation of creativity and artistic excellence, while showcasing the importance of First Nations in the cultural fabric of New Brunswick” , said Lee Winchester, Regional Vice President for Western New Brunswick, BMO Bank of Montreal.

In the workshops, Maliseet and Mi’kmaq youth between the ages of 8-18 spend time with aboriginal elders, and artists, learning about elements of visual art and listening to stories about their culture, language, legends, and symbols. The Young Ancestors component was developed by a steering group made up of Gallery staff and First Nations artist Natalie Sappier, Imelda Perley, co-ordinator of the Wolastoq Language and Culture Centres at Tobique and Elder-in-Residence at UNB, and Shane Perley-Dutcher, a silversmith from Tobique and Aboriginal/International student recruiter at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.

Imelda Perley is a Tobique Elder whose various roles within the Native community include Sweatlodge Keeper, Medicine Wheel Teacher, Sacred Pipe Carrier, Keeper of Women’s Ceremonies and Language Keeper has dedicated her life to connecting Maliseet people to their culture. She introduced young participants to language and stories pertaining to Sacred Colours.

Instruction and support were provided by: artist Julie Paul Collins and Elder Imelda Perley at St Mary’s; artist Cyril Sacobie and Elder Dick Paul at Kingsclear; artist Tara Francis and Elder Sandra Racine at Elsibogtog; artist and educator Phyllis Grant and Elder Gilbert Sewell at Pabineau along with other volunteers Jason Grant, Laura Mae Sewell, Rose Boucher, Cynthia Sewell, Patricia Roy, and Connie Sewell; artist Nikia Sabattis and Elder Imelda Perley and helpers Shelly Sabattis, Sherry Sabattis, Charlotte Thurber and Ina Green at Oromocto; artist Fran Francis and Elder Anna-Mae Morrison at Metepenagiag.

“Art plays a vital role in fostering inclusiveness and building diverse communities. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is very pleased to collaborate with Aboriginal artists and Elders on a program that engages Aboriginal youth with their culture and celebrates their creativity. This exhibition of artworks by the participants in the Young Ancestors program is a demonstration of their pride in their cultural heritage and their natural artistic abilities. We are grateful to BMO Financial Group for their support,” said Terry Graff, Director/CEO and Chief Curator of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

The exhibit will be on display to the public weekdays from 9am to 5pm until the end of November.


For more information contact:
Adda Mihailescu,
Art Educator and Manager of Public Programs
Phone: 506-458-2032

Photo Gallery

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