Janice Toulouse’s large-scale painted collages layer historical and contemporary events honouring Indigenous knowledges, perspectives and practices. Born and raised in Serpent River First Nation, she is an Anishinabe kwe artist and instructor who teaches Painting and Contemporary Indigenous Art at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver.
In her work Healing the Earth, Toulouse uses colour, line, and form forging numerous pathways for the eye to follow across the canvas. In so doing, the artist urges us to consider the complexities of life, land and legacies. For example, to the right, we see a vista of Lake Superior at Agawa Rock. A fire burns vividly on the shore. Below the fire appears the impression of an iconic photograph from the 1990 Oka crisis in which a land protector and soldier face off. Moving to the left, viewers can reflect on the Sacred Hoop encircling The Thunderbird or the drum. Beyond these sit a brightly blooming lotus flower.
Toulouse earned her Master of Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, (1985). Her work has been exhibited internationally for over 30 years for which she has received numerous awards such as the Hnatyshyn Foundation Reveal Art National Award Prize (2017). She lives in Vancouver and France.
Originally published in The Walleye – MAR 2018
By Andrea Terry, Acting Curator, Thunder Bay Art Gallery