“In order to maintain our presence, Aboriginal artists constantly look back in order to look forward. By navigating through time we revisit the origins of our artistic expression that we now refer to as traditional or cultural. It is from this essential position that we also permit our creativity to be contemporary.”

Ryan Rice

Artists Glenna Matoush, Margaret Orr, Sheila Orr and Jean-Pierre Pelchat use the mediums of painting and collage to explore the visual language of aboriginal and western cultures in this exhibit in Val d’Or.

These artists were chosen for the exhibit Transmissions/Presences 2003 at the Centre d’exposition de Val-d’Or not only because of their common mediums of expression but also because of their common experiences: they have all lived in the Cree communities of the James Bay at one point or another.

Matoush lived in Mistissini for many years, while sisters Margaret and Sheila Orr are from Chisasibi, as is Pelchat.

“Looking back in order to look forward” is a motif that is very apparent in the artistic expressions of the artists involved in this exhibition. That proves true in either the techniques used (Sheila Orr incorporates materials such as moose skin, beads and porcupine quills in her works) or the themes explored (Of land and bear by Margaret Orr was inspired by the relationship between the James Bay Cree and their territory, tapping into the basis of Aboriginal spiritutality).

All of their recent works are drawn from their experiences as natives, inspired by day-to-day experience – bingo, family, transmission of knowledge and community.

The exhibition is currently at the Centre d’exposition de Val-d’Or (600,7e Rue) in Val-d’Or until August 31st.