1080 Keewatin St,
Thunder Bay, ON, P7B 6T7


Sam Ash: People of the Eyes

May 3 – June 16, 2024

Public Reception: Friday, May 31 at 7:00 pm.

Accessible for the Deaf, Deafened, and Hard of Hearing.

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“People of the eyes” is a phrase of identity and pride in the Deaf community. These words describe people who process information visually and have little or no functional hearing. Because Sam Ash was a Deaf artist, these words speak vividly to and of his work. This exhibition includes a new suite of his paintings on view for the first time.
Ash’s work is all about the eyes. As a Deaf artist he depended on his eyes to live in the world and communicate with other people. As a characteristic of Woodland Style, Ash drew his figures, animals, and beings in profile. Each large, rounded eye brims with emotion. In several of his images, the figures are eyeless, or sightless. There are also two paintings of a hand, outstretched. This pair of paintings can be understood as a reference to Sign language and Ash’s identity as a Deaf artist. There are no other paintings quite like them in his work.

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Image 1: Sam Ash, Go With My Friend Grizzly and Cub, acrylic on canvas paper, 1985

Image 2: Sam Ash, Human and Animal on Mother Earth, acrylic on canvas paper, 1985

Image 3: Sam Ash, Scared Moose, acrylic on canvas paper, 1983

Image 4: Sam Ash, Untitled, acrylic on canvas paper, nd

Image 5: Sam Ash, Search of My Missing One, acrylic on canvas paper, 1984

This exhibition is supported by: