New art exhibit uncovers history, impacts of racism in Alberta

A new exhibit focused on the history of racism in our province is now open at the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA).

The AGA’S ‘Inheritance’ exhibit features work from four artists from across Canada. Artists Deanna Bowen, Steven Nunoda, Adrian Stimson, and AA Bronson reveal their lived experiences with racism and explore the history of oppression through their own family ties.

“I think right now, we’re really at a time of reckoning where people are beginning to look back at histories,’ said Cathrine Crowston, executive director at the Art Gallery of Alberta. “The discovery of the murdered children in the Residential School System has brought that to light, (and) the murder of George Floyd in the United States.”

Crowston says while there’s many moments of reckoning being called to attention, the AGA’s ‘Inheritance’ exhibit is one way to address those issues.

Artists draw attention to the impact of racism throughout history including the internment of Japanese Canadians, the emergence of the KKK in Alberta, and Canada’s Residential School System.

Crowston hopes the exhibit will offer not only the opportunity for discussion but also the chance to learn.

“What we’re hoping is that people will maybe understand a little bit more about these histories, will understand a little bit more that something that impacts one person impacts their family, impacts their community, (and) impacts society as a whole,” said Crowston.

Art takes all forms in the exhibit, from a paintings depicting life through the Residential School System, to hundreds of scale models illustrating the living conditions at Japanese-Canadian internment camps.

“All of the works are very, very different,” said Crowston. “They offer different things for people to take away from them.”

‘Inheritance’ will be open to the public at the Art Gallery of Alberta until May 1, 2022. 

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