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New Remai Modern collection exhibition reimagines the Prairies

For immediate release — January 28, 2020

SASKATOON, CANADA — Starting February 1, Remai Modern presents an expansive look at the museum’s permanent collection in a new exhibition that spans all five rooms of its Collection Galleries. Next Year’s Country is an all-Canadian show, with an emphasis on works created by Prairie artists.

Next Year’s Country explores ideas of place, belonging and history on the Prairies.

“The exhibition offers a lens through which to engage with the collection and the historical space it occupies in Saskatchewan. Knowledge is acquired, bonds are established and communities are formed through the accumulated experiences of inhabiting a place,” said Sandra Fraser, the exhibition’s curator. “Some of the artists in the exhibition have deep roots in the Prairies, while others have been selected to convey similar experiences and offer a view of this region from a distance.”

The title of this exhibition is a reference to Saskatchewan’s settler history. The expression originates from their experiences of learning to live and farm on what they considered to be a land of promise, even though neither success nor survival could be assured. The common refrain “next year things will be better” conveys both a tireless optimism and a struggle to belong. Such an attitude has shaped the province’s political, social, economic and cultural activities. However, it fails to address the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and the displacement and assimilation associated with settlement.

The exhibition uses the historical Prairie perspective “next year things will be better” to frame an impulse to resist the present moment and the anxieties that accompany it. How might this impulse generate a desire to return to the past or to dream of the future? The exhibition considers ideas about collectivity and progress with an eye to current environmental, economic and political issues.

The newest acquisition is a work by Brian Jungen, Mother Tongue, a sculpture purchased in 2020 that will be displayed just outside the main entrance of the Collection Galleries. In this work, Jungen uses childhood memories and traditional practices in his home territory of Dane-zaa First Nation to create a sculpture that also engages aesthetically with Western art history.

The oldest acquisition in the exhibition is from the original Mendel Gift in 1965, an oil painting by Jean Paul Lemieux of a haunting landscape. Through more than 30 artists and mediums including photography, sculpture, video, painting and installation, Next Year’s Country offers viewers the chance to explore the evolution of Remai Modern’s collection from its beginnings to today.

Next Year’s Country runs from February 1-October 12 in Remai Modern’s Collection Galleries on Level 2. A members’ preview takes place on January 31.

Featured artists:

• Kim Adams

• Grant Arnold and Randy Burton

• Lorne Beug

• Raymond Boisjoly

• Eleanor Bond

• Victor Cicansky

• Dana Claxton

• Marlene Creates

• Wally Dion

• Joseph Fafard

• David Garneau

• Gregory Hardy

• Richard Holden

• Geoffrey James

• Brian Jungen

• William Kureklek

• Jean Paul Lemieux

• Mary Longman

• Tanya Lukin Linklater

• Ken Lum

• Lynne Marsh

• WC McCargar

• Fred Moulding

• Ann Newdigate

• Louise Noguchi

• Graeme Patterson

• Edward Poitras

• Richard E. Prince

• Allen Sapp

• Danny Singer

• David Thauberger

• Alex Wyse

About Remai Modern

Remai Modern is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Traditional Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respects to First Nations and Métis ancestors and reaffirm our relationship with one another.

Remai Modern is a new museum of modern and contemporary art in Saskatoon. The museum is committed to affirming the powerful role that art and artists play in questioning, interpreting and defining the modern era. Open since October 2017, Remai Modern is the largest contemporary art museum in western Canada and houses a collection of more than 8,000 works, including the world’s foremost collection of Picasso linocut prints.

Remai Modern would like to acknowledge the contributions of the Frank & Ellen Remai Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture through the Sask Lotteries Fund, the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the City of Saskatoon.

For additional information contact:

Stephanie McKay, Communications Manager