Prairie Scene

The largest gathering of Manitoba and Saskatchewan artists ever presented outside the Prairies!

April 26 to May 8, 2011

Re-Herd / 1885

April 26 - May 8, 2011

National Arts Centre - Foyer

53 Elgin Street, Ottawa

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RE-HERD is a fascinating, organic installation by interdisciplinary artist Adrian Stimson, honouring the memory and resilience of the Great Plains bison. During the two-week period of Prairie Scene, Adrian invites members of the public to participate in a symbolic re-population of the herds, by painting one of 4,000 hydro-stone bisons. These distinct and powerful creations will then take their place on a giant map of the Prairies, figuratively re-imagining the creatures’glorious past, and realizing a unique work of collective, interactive art.

A source of enormous inspiration for the artist and for the First Nations peoples of the Prairies, the plains bison are estimated to have once numbered almost 75 million. Decimated postcontact, almost to the point of extinction, the herds are now making a comeback.

Edward Poitras1885 (1993), first exhibited in the exhibition “Post Colonial Landscape” as a free-standing billboard at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, is as timely today as it was when he first created it. The disruption to Aboriginal communities and family life caused by the residential school system in Canada, and the damage to the ecology that has led to global warming, form the dual messages of the work. Poitras enlarged and altered a historical photograph of Native children and their supervisors, seated above the Lebret Indian Residential School in Southern Saskatchewan. The piece references the Northwest Rebellion of 1885, and the billboard message warns of the pathos and loss of displacement.