2021 Governor General Award-Winning Artist Brings Performance Piece to WAG

Lori Blondeau remounts Are You My Mother as part of Born in Power exhibition

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty 1 Territory, April 7, 2021: 2021 Governor General Award-winning artist Lori Blondeau presents her rarely shared and incredibly affecting performance – Are You My Motherat the Winnipeg Art Gallery as part of the Born in Power exhibition. Drawing from her mother’s stories of her experiences at residential school, the performance is based on the memory of smell. Debuted in 2002, Blondeau has continued to rework the piece each time it is performed with input from her mother. She has described the piece as a celebration of her mother’s strength and survival, rather than a retelling of trauma.

Are You My Mother is part of the slate of virtual programming for Born in Power, curated by Jaimie Isaac, WAG Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art. The programming for this exhibition is an integral part of the show and an opportunity to engage directly with the community. The virtual programming made possible by Safe at Home Manitoba.

About Lori Blondeau:

  • Lori Blondeau is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in performance and photography. She is Cree/Saulteaux/Métis from Saskatchewan. Her mother is Cree/Saulteaux from George Gordon First Nation, located in Treaty 4, and her late father was Métis from Lebret, Saskatchewan.
  • Blondeau holds an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. In addition to her extensive exhibition history she has served on the Advisory Panel for Visual Arts for the Canada Council for the Arts.
  • Blondeau has exhibited and performed nationally and internationally, including at the Banff Centre, the Mendel Art Gallery (Remai Modern) in Saskatoon, Open Space in Victoria, and FOFA in Montréal. In 2007, Blondeau was part of the Requickening project with artist Shelley Niro at the Venice Biennale. She recently had a solo exhibition at the Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery in Winnipeg, and was part of the Scotia Bank Contact Festival in Toronto. Her art is held in both public galleries and private collections.
  • Lori Blondeau is a 2021 recipient of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.

Safe at Home Manitoba Born in Power Programming:

  • Community Perspectives Video Series featuring Nahanni Fontaine, Uzoma Asagwara, and the Bannock Babes Drag Collective (Prairie Sky, Feather Talia, Gayle Pruden, Lady Valenciaga, Anita Stallion).
  • Resistance and Care Video Interview Series with Glodi Bahati, Sapphyre Mcleod and Mahlet Cuff.
  • You’re A Guest Here media installation by Ofield Williams of award-winning Canadian music collective Grand Analog.
  • Are You My Mother performance piece by Lori Blondeau.
  • Artist Panel Talk featuring Ella Cooper, Anique Jordan, Shimby Zegeye-Gebrehiwot, Meryl McMaster, Kali Spritzer and Raven Davis.
  • Auntie Lens Video Series with Jenny Western, Titi Tijani, Allison Yearwood, Tani Miki, Maggie Yeboah, Tasha Spillet-Sumner, Chim Undi, Karina Cardona, Tayo Babalola, Karen Sharma, Erica Daniels and Jeannie Whitebird.

About Born in Power Exhibition:

  • Born in Power presents primarily womxn and nonbinary/enby identities that embody representations of the self and community as acts of reclamation and image sovereignty to occupy space.
  • The show explores representations of the self and community as acts of reclamation to occupy space in institutional space.
  • Despite living in patriarchal, oppressive, and racialized social conditions, the femme focused and non-binary subjects represented in the images shift the script and express their power in self-representation.
  • Thanks to Safe at Home Manitoba funding, this critical and timely show will be experienced through rich programming no matter where you are in the world.

Quotes: 

“The Born in Power exhibition exists in the gallery space and online to bring together many voices from the broader community to share their stories, their experiences, actions and care through narrative and through art. I’m so honoured that Lori Blondeau gifted her mother’s story for this show. Are You My Mother is poignant, and resonating for survivors, intergenerational survivors and for those that are embracing the truth of our colonial history, and is witness to an enduring resiliency.”
— Jaimie Isaac, Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art

“My Mother is a survivor of colonialism and the institution that was designed to destroy her identity and culture. She fought her whole life to undo the damage that was done to her to make a better life for her children and grandchildren. Today we are still here and stronger because of her resilience and strength!”
— Lori Blondeau, Artist

Associated Links

Winnipeg Art Gallery – Born in Power
Sneak Peek: Born in Power
Safe at Home Manitoba Grant Program

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For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Amber O’Reilly
Engagement Officer
Winnipeg Art Gallery
204.786.6641 ext. 210
[email protected]

The Winnipeg Art Gallery (the WAG) is a cultural advocate using art to connect, inspire, and inform. Playing a dynamic role in the community, we are a place for learning, dialogue, and enjoyment through art. The WAG holds in trust the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world. To celebrate the art and to honour the Inuit, the WAG built Qaumajuq, the Inuit art centre. Now open, the centre bridges Canada’s North and South through exhibitions, research, education, and art making. To learn more visit wag.ca

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