May 31 – June 30, 2019
in the Coppa Gallery & Heritage Galleries
Opening reception: Friday, May 31 @ 7PM
Christian Chapman is from Fort William First Nation, near Thunder Bay. His interests include painting, printmaking and film. The artist uses storytelling as a main theme in his practice. The act of storytelling has been an important part of his life: it has informed him of his culture by shaping his identity and personal experiences. In 2016, the artist earned the prestigious Emerging Artist of the Year award from the Premier’s Awards for Excellence.
Chapman fuses Pop art sensibilities with Indigenous cultural references and imagery. His works make an important gesture towards the Woodlands School style, mass culture and Anishinaabeg beliefs—while injecting humor, irony and recognizable content into his unique mashup. With thick outlines and bold colours the artist merges conventional experiences with an inner life rooted in the eternal. Chapman’s work radiates with meaning.
For this exhibition, the artist will premiere a series of jingle dress paintings. Artist Leanna Marshall writes: “Christian Chapman has created a body of work that depicts bright and bold images of Anishinaabeg Kweug wearing their jingle dresses. The images are akin to Warhol’s love of photography that includes bold poses and brazen colours. Each dancer has her hands on her hips, staring into the camera with solid confidence, purpose, and pride. It is a precise juncture for adaptation and prayer. The definitive act of holding space allows the observer to question: In what ways will the dresses be different in 100 years? Will the prayers be the same? What pose will be used to signify what is happening in the communities?”
Click image for exhibition publication