Mi'kmaq welcome with Catherine Martin
Dalhousie Art Gallery is very pleased to announce a significant contribution to the permanent collection that was received in 2016. Because we have very limited resources for the purchase of artworks, the Gallery relies on donations, of both acquisitions funds and artworks, to expand the collection, an activity that greatly enhances our ability to foster an appreciation and understanding of the visual arts within the Dalhousie University community, and to be a resource for our local and regional communities. The Gallery is honoured to welcome The Mustang Suite, by Dana Claxton, a Vancouver-based artist of Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux ancestry, to this territory, to Dalhousie University, and to the Collection.
The acquisition was made possible through the generosity of the artist, financial contributions from Alumni members of Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law, and support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisitions Grants program. Assistance with the transportation from Vancouver of the framed photographs was provided by TOTAL Museum and Fine Arts Services, Toronto.
This iconic series of five large scale photographs offers many points of inquiry: the ways in which Indigenous people, especially women, are portrayed in Western culture; the place of beauty and glamour in fetishism; the traditions of portraiture; the legacy of Colonialism. it spans considerations of popular western culture and assimilation, and Indigenous self-identity and representation. The suite presents staged portraits of members of a contemporary Indigenous family posing with various refigured mustangs: a muscle car, a banana-seat bicycle, a pony, and a white woman with horse blinders and mouth bit. Exhibited at the Dalhousie Art Gallery in 2011 as part of the National Gallery of Canada’s touring exhibition “Steeling the Gaze: Portraits by Aboriginal Artists” and concurrent with Jeff Thomas' exhibition documenting Residential Schools, Where are the Children, installed in the Atrium of Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law, The Mustang Suite is distinguished for its incisive and provocative humour, impeccable technical production, and its many layers of social commentary and critique.