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Remai Modern acquires new work by Meryl McMaster in conjunction with bloodline exhibition

SASKATOON, CANADA — A new suite of photo and video works is the centrepiece of the latest exhibition by Meryl McMaster, opening July 22 at Remai Modern. Titled bloodline, the exhibition includes works from throughout McMaster’s career and brings viewers up to date on her current explorations of family histories, in particular those of her nêhiyawak (Plains Cree) female forebears from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in present-day Saskatchewan.

McMaster is celebrated for her large-scale photographic works that reflect her mixed Indigenous and settler ancestry. Her imagined self-portraits combine elaborate costumes, performance, and sweeping landscapes.

“We are incredibly excited to share Meryl McMaster’s poetic and imaginative works with the community,” says Tarah Hogue, Curator (Indigenous Art) at Remai Modern. “Her photographs and videos help us to tell the story of this place, including both the strength and resiliency of her ancestors as well as the colonial policies they endured. These evocative works offer many entry points for viewers, from prairie ecology and relations to land, to family histories and the stories we tell about ourselves.”

McMaster’s newest series, nôhkominak âcimowina / Stories of My Grandmothers is inspired by her paternal grandmothers, whose lives span 130 years lived in the Red Pheasant community. These are deeply personal works that touch on universal narratives of self-discovery and family histories. Many of the images were captured on Red Pheasant, and are presented alongside family photos and other ephemera that inspired the artist’s exploration of her ancestry.

The exhibition also includes McMaster’s first-ever video works, which bring her photographs to life. 

Remai Modern has acquired the nine new photographs and two videos in nôhkominak âcimowina / Stories of My Grandmothers for its collection.

The exhibition opens with a public reception at Remai Modern on Friday, June 21 at 7 PM, including remarks by the artist. All are welcome.

The day prior, on July 20, McMaster and Hogue will present an artist conversation at Poundmaker Museum and Gallery, Poundmaker Cree Nation, about 15 kilometres outside of Cut Knife. This talk is a co-presentation between Miyawata Culture and Remai Modern. Hosted in conjunction with the opening of Meryl McMaster: bloodline, this event is part of the Poundmaker Performance Festival and Plains Indian Sign Language Workshop. The talk will be available online following the in-person event.

Meryl McMaster: bloodline runs until December 31 in Remai Modern’s Collection Galleries. The exhibition was previously on view at McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario.

bloodline is co-organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and Remai Modern.
It is curated by Sarah Milroy, Chief Curator, McMichael Canadian Art Collection and Tarah Hogue, Curator (Indigenous Art), Remai Modern. The exhibition is accompanied by the artist’s first monograph, available in Remai Modern’s Art & Design Store.

Remai Modern acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts, Hatch, Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, and Superframe for supporting this exhibition.

About the artist

Meryl McMaster is nêhiyaw from Red Pheasant Cree Nation, a member of the Siksika Nation, and has Métis, Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), British and Dutch ancestry. Her work is predominantly photography based, incorporating the production of props, sculptural garments and performance, forming a synergy that transports the viewer out of the ordinary and into a space of contemplation and introspection.

McMaster is the recipient of the Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award, the REVEAL Indigenous Art Award, Charles Pachter Prize for Emerging Artists, the Canon Canada Prize, the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, the OCAD U Medal and was long listed for the 2016 Sobey Art Award.

Her work has been acquired by various public collections within Canada and the United States, including the Canadian Museum of History, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Eiteljorg Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Ottawa Art Gallery, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

Her work has been included in exhibitions throughout Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indian, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, the Eiteljorg Museum, the Ottawa Art Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Mendel Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

About Remai Modern

Remai Modern is a museum of modern and contemporary art in Saskatoon, a vibrant city that serves as a central hub within the province of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon boasts a growing population, strong economic base, low cost of living, and vibrant cultural life.

The museum occupies a purpose-built, state-of-the-art building, which opened in 2017.  Designed by Bruce Kuwabara, KPMB, it includes multiple gallery spaces across three floors, an expansive hands-on learning space, a 150-seat theatre, a restaurant, outdoor terraces and rooms with stunning views of the nearby South Saskatchewan River.

Remai Modern is home to a collection of more than 8,000 works. We cherish our responsibility as custodians of culture, and collect local and international modern and contemporary art that connects, inspires, and challenges diverse audiences through equitable and accessible programs. The museum’s vision is to be a welcoming and inclusive public gathering place where we recognize the past, engage with the present, and envision new futures together through art. 

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. The museum’s programming is supported by the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, the City of Saskatoon, the Canada Council for the Arts, SK Arts and SaskCulture’s Saskatchewan Lotteries Fund.  

For additional information contact:

Stephanie McKay, Communications Manager

smckay@remaimodern.org

306.975.2242