Undercurrents: Red Canoe Series Ends for 2011


Undercurrents: Red Canoe
Undercurrents: Red Canoe - Available at Elevation Gallery, Canmore AB

Undercurrents, the Red Canoe Series which had it’s advent in May 2011, during the show Yours, Mine, The Other with Don Ahnahnsisi McIntyre at Elevation Gallery. It was an important iconic creation within the context and body of my work. The work was inspired and supported by a great mentor and master canoe-maker of the Kitigan-Zibi.

The paintings signify how a beautiful indigenous design of survival and transportation, has become a recreational pleasure vehicle today with little thought about how the canoe opened up this country for aggressive western colonization, subsequently resulting in questionable, violent and significant cultural change in the indigenous cultures of this land. Hopes that it could become something different lie with us.

Tom, Janice and William
With Elder Tom and Grandfather William
Old Friend - Janice Tanton
Old Friend

With the sad passing yesterday of friend, guide and Algonquin Elder William Commanda, I am called to remember his words to me to paint what I feel most in my heart for that is the Creator’s voice speaking.  I’m retiring the Red Canoe Series  for 2011 to honour the spirit in which the first red canoe appeared on my canvas and to honour Grandfather William’s wise words. As holder of significant Wampum belts dating back to first contact, William’s historical and spiritual life made a very big impact on me. I feel very lucky to have discussed this with him when we first met in Ottawa in November 2009.

This series has been in high demand by collectors, and I’m aware of perhaps one or two pieces that may still be available at representing galleries. Please contact Elevation Gallery in Canmore and BlueRock Gallery in Black Diamond, AB if you are interested in acquisition. The works move quickly and I am unsure at this time if I will produce these again.

Working on the intensive glazing process on large canvasses such as these has also caused some significant physical pain in my shoulder and arm and I’m taking that also as a signal to literally giving it a rest for awhile in favour of what is “most in my heart”.

Drift away……..and rest.

This work is done….. for now.

Kashagawigamog - Red Canoe
Kashagawigamog - Red Canoe

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Marcia Howard

    So beautifully powerful Janice, the whole construction you have so faithfully painted . The canoe is connected with passing here in Australia as well with the indigenous Australians so I have heard.

    1. Janice Tanton

      There comes a time when honouring the preciousness in a thing, a place or a person must be honoured. If it is not, it becomes commonplace and far less interesting in both the surface quality and intent. Western thought seeks to elevate “special” by commodifying.

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