Aboriginal art exhibit gives education on a tradition

Ahishinaabe, Nongom! Indigenous People, Today! exhibit is on display at L-Space gallery, Humber Lakeshore campus this week. Photo by Tonia Venneri Ahishinaabe, Nongom! Indigenous People, Today! exhibit is on display at L-Space gallery, Humber Lakeshore campus this week. Photo by Tonia Venneri

Tonia Venneri
A&E Reporter

Humber College’s Aboriginal Student Circle is presenting Aboriginal Awareness Week and will be hosting the Anishinaabe, Nongom! Indigenous People, Today! art exhibition at Lakeshore’s L Space Gallery from Nov. 3 to 7.

Natalie Snow, founder of the show and co-president of the student club, said visitors to the gallery can expect to see an array of different art from around the GTA that is representative of Aboriginal culture.

“We did an open call to the GTA…We have some treaty pieces, we have students from OCAD,” Snow said. “It’s a creation of their specific view of people today or what they believe it encompasses.”

Snow said contributions to the event would make for an interesting and educational showcase of indigenous people.

“Every day of next week, we have a different workshop besides the art that’s going to be the backdrop,” Snow said. “Wednesday we have traditional storytelling, which is done by a Humber student, and on Thursday is (making) dream catchers, and Friday is beading.”

In the final year of her Criminal Justice program at Humber, Snow has worked hard to bring a show to campus that represents a community that is prominent at Humber. She said she hopes people can take away a better understanding of the culture and its community.

“Unfortunately, people have misconceptions and negative thoughts of Aboriginal people but there’s so much more to them (than people realize),” Snow said. “What I hope that students can take away and pull out from the community is just what a positive and vibrant culture it is, and that there’s so many different aspects to it.”

L Space Gallery curator Tara Mazurk said a show like this allows the gallery to display and engage student clubs from around campus, which sometimes times can be difficult.

“Having a student club in the space is really important for us, because it shows students’ work and their project planning,” Mazurk said. “It gives them an opportunity to take an idea and actually have a public forum to showcase it.”

The L Space Gallery wants to offer a more interactive experience for visitors, an experience Mazurk said Aboriginal Awareness Week is providing.

“The exhibition is very multidisciplinary. We’re going to be having film screenings, traditional dancing, dream catcher workshops, so it kind of expands the purview of how we see art and how we engage with it,” Mazurk said.

The artwork and demonstrations from artists, both in and out of Humber, will allow people to get a better understanding of the strong Aboriginal community at Humber and the true essence of the artwork, she said.

“It’s really nice to see how the Aboriginal Student Circle and the Aboriginal Resource Center has a really strong connection to the college and tries to collaborate on different projects like these art projects. It’s quite spectacular, some of the stuff that they’re doing and the awareness that they are bringing to a broader community,” Mazurk said.

Craig Waboose, 26, a paralegal student at Humber and an active member of Humber’s Aboriginal community said this awareness week is an important time to highlight the community.

‘It’s showcasing our heritage and our culture in a very educational way, because as you can tell in the news Aboriginals make headlines from land rights to treaty rights, and I feel like this is a very effective way for the Aboriginal community within Humber and within Toronto to showcase their heritage and culture,” said Waboose.

The show’s opening reception will be held in the L Space Gallery on Nov. 4 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.