Hustle & Bustle /Downriver House by Bruno Canadien is one of the pieces currently on display in the Insurgence Resurgence exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Bruno Canadien lives in Alberta and is a member of a northern Dene First Nation in the Deh Gah Got’ı́é Kǫ́ę́, Deh Cho Region. His artwork contains images of his northern home. There are flowers, forests, caribou, fishermen, oil wells and smoke stacks.
One of the activities we do with gallery visitors after we look at Bruno’s artwork is have them make a similar collage about their home. They choose objects from trays we provide and place them on a colored paper in ways that represent home to them.
Last week I did the activity with group of international students that included a young woman from China. One item she chose for her collage was a picture of a phone. She told us in China she had wanted to be independent from her parents and resented having to still live in the same house with them. But now that she is far away in Canada she starts to cry whenever she talks to her parents on the phone because she misses them so much. As she told us this she started to cry and I had to reach out and give her a comforting hug.
I loved the way a young woman from Beijing was inspired to share her personal feelings, thanks to a painting by a Canadian indigenous artist. Art is truly a universal language.