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AGO celebrates Anishinaabe artists of the Great Lakes with free public opening on July 30

Artists Christi Belcourt and Jaime Koebel to receive Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Awards at reception

TORONTO — Opening July 26, 2014, at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Before and after the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes marks the first major exhibition of Anishinaabe art in Canada. Generously supported by lead sponsor TD Bank Group, the exhibition features artworks by leading Anishinaabe artists — including Norval Morrisseau, Carl Beam, Keesic Douglas, Wally Dion, Michael Belmore, Daphne Odjig and others. Before and after the Horizon offers insight into the Anishinaabe world view, its stories and spiritual foundations through a display of over 130 contemporary and traditional art objects. A free opening event will be held at the Gallery on July 30, 2014, to celebrate the exhibition and to honour two prominent Aboriginal artists.

“The arts play a critical role in showcasing a community's culture and history,” said Clint Davis, vice-president, Aboriginal Banking, TD Bank Group. “TD is thrilled to support this exhibition, which illustrates and teaches the stories of the Anishinaabe people. The artists featured here have made a significant impact in the art world as well as among the First Nation communities across the country."

To celebrate this important exhibition, Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art, has organized a series of complementary interventions and installations to extend the dialogue into the AGO’s own collection of Canadian art. Among these are new artworks by Saulteaux artist Robert Houle, Ojibwe artist and educator Bonnie Devine and a newly acquired work by this year’s Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award winner Christi Belcourt.

A public opening for Before and after the Horizon will be held on July 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the AGO’s Walker Court. This opening will also include the 2014 Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award. Christi Belcourt will be in attendance to receive the 2014 Aboriginal Arts Award Laureate prize. Created in 2012, the award, which is valued at $10,000, celebrates the work of Aboriginal artists and arts leaders who have made significant contributions to the arts in Ontario. Visual artist and dancer Jaime Koebel will receive this year’s OAC Emerging Aboriginal Artist award. Nominated by Belcourt, Koebel receives a $2,500 prize. The opening event is open to the public with free admission as part of the AGO’s free Wednesday nights.

Organized thematically, Before and after the Horizon explores six concepts of shared relevance to Anishinaabe people, including:

  • place: the traditional Anishinaabe home in the Great Lakes region;
  • cosmos: traditional spirituality and the Anishinaabe concept of the universe;
  • church: the Anishinaabe relationship with Christianity;
  • contested space: the Great Lakes region as a point of contact and engagement between Anishinaabe people and the outside world;
  • cottager colonialism: Anishinaabe relations with early and ongoing industrial development of the Great Lakes region; and
  • many worlds: the multiple cultural influences characteristic of the Anishinaabe experience today.

Co-organized by the AGO and the National Museum of the American Indian, Before and after the Horizon was conceived by David Penney (NMAI) and Gerald McMaster (Plains Cree/Sisika First Nation) and coordinated at the AGO by Hunter.

Entrance to Before and after the Horizon is included with the price of general admission and is free to AGO members. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at

Lead sponsor: TD Bank Group

Generously supported by:

Valerie Greenfield Thompson & Hunter Thompson
The Art Gallery of Ontario Foundation Board of Trustees

The traditional home of the Anishinaabe peoples — comprised of Algonquin, Mississauga, Nipissing, Ojibwe (Chippewa), Odawa (Ottawa), Potawatomi and Saulteaux nations — the Great Lakes region includes Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec in addition to eight U.S. states and has inspired generations of stories and experiences that are spiritual, political and challenge certain accepted accounts of history.

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youths and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

Aug. 23, 2014 – Jan. 4, 2015: Alex Colville

Oct. 18, 2014 – Jan. 11, 2015: Michelangelo: Quest for Genius

Feb. 7, 2015 – May 10, 2015: Basquiat

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and receives additional operating support from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


For press inquiries, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 403,

Laura Banks; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 504,

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