Exhibitions

Estevan Art Gallery & Museum » Exhibitions

Current Exhibitions

Carol Wylie: They didn’t know we were seeds

June 25 – August 27, 2021

In April of 2016 I attended the Saskatoon Holocaust Memorial service. As survivor Nate Leipciger spoke of his horrifying experiences in a Nazi death camp, and his ongoing efforts to educate and shed light on these atrocities, I was struck anew by the extent of abuse a human being can endure at the hand of another. Several events following that service occurred that brought to mind the issue of the residential school experience of 150,000 Indigenous children. Indian Affairs Superintendent Duncan Campbell Scott, in 1910, called residential schools “The Final Solution,” preceding Hitler’s similar pronouncement regarding the “Jewish problem.” Separating families, cutting hair, taking away names and assigning numbers were oppressive methods of dehumanizing and othering. Interestingly, both groups of survivors have connected around strategies of survival and healing. Holocaust survivor Robert Waisman, who meets with Indigenous survivors and talks about his experience at Buchenwald, speaks of “a sacred duty and responsibility” toward helping residential school survivors heal. He states, “we cannot, and we should not, compare sufferings. Each suffering is unique…I don’t compare my sufferings or the holocaust to what happened in residential schools. We did it [survived] – so can you.” Both Indigenous survivors and Jewish survivors speak of a solidarity forged from the shared need to find ways of healing personal and generational trauma in the wake of horrendous abuse and attempted genocide, and to educate.

Holocaust survivors are elderly and dying. There will soon be no more first-hand accounts. After hearing Nate speak, I felt the need to somehow acknowledge these extraordinary people who endured and survived unbelievable mistreatment and to find a way to preserve the personal nature of these memories. The connection between holocaust and residential school survivors that had emerged for me, as a settler in Saskatchewan with its notorious history of residential schools, were the impetus behind including portraits of residential school survivors in this project. I thought that listening to that history and those stories could be a small personal step toward the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls for action, listening and bearing witness. All the residential school survivors who chose to participate entrusted me to share their story, through portraits, with integrity, for which I am deeply grateful.

Portraiture is the methodology through which I can offer the strongest statement. Maurice Merleau-Ponty speaks of the way the body is the site of perception and relationship to the world around us. It is how consciousness reaches out and allows us to simultaneously perceive and interact with the world. I engage the body as both subject and tool. The painted portrait is a meeting of two subjectivities, requiring commitment, sustained effort, building familiarity and intimacy with another’s face. A well-done portrait has the potential to be a unique record of the subject’s experience, offering the opportunity for a form of engagement with that person even in their absence. Through portraits of individual survivors, I hoped to create a silent dialogue between Jewish survivors and Indigenous survivors. Sketches, photographs, and interviews with survivors who generously collaborated with me on this project resulted in a series of eighteen portraits. This number is significant in Hebrew tradition as representing the word “chai” which means “life”. Those with whom I met spoke so honestly and poignantly that, in some cases, their words have been incorporated as text into the portraits. The project title is inspired by Greek poet Dinos Christianopoulos’ They buried us…they didn’t know we were seeds. My hope is that this work will give viewers a chance to encounter a survivor they may never meet. A single personal story can have more resonance than statistical abstractions, no matter how appalling. As numbers of holocaust survivors dwindle, and in anticipation of the same eventual loss of first-hand accounts from residential school survivors, these portraits will remain as echoes of individual strength and courage.

Empathy is understanding the pain and joy of others as equal to our own, leveling us within a shared human experience. This project explores memory, trauma, shared pain, and the strength of the human spirit, as well as an enduring hope that in truly hearing one another’s stories and accepting deep in our bones that we are the same, humanity will someday be characterized more by its compassion than its capacity for cruelty.

*I would like to gratefully acknowledge the Saskatchewan Foundation of the Arts for their generous support of this project.

Tim Smith: In The World But Not Of It

​June 25 – August 27, 2021

Beginning with a chance encounter, Tim Smith has been documenting and building relationships with Hutterite communities in Manitoba over the past twelve years. An Anabaptist group whose roots trace back to the 16th Century Reformation, Hutterites live communally on colonies throughout western Canada and the north-western United States. Their culture continues to be preserved through deliberate separation from mainstream society and economic self-sufficiency.

 

The Hutterites are currently in the midst of one of the most successful periods of their approximately 500 year history. Facing no overt threats from the outside world they have prospered and grown to approximately 50,000 members living on colonies throughout North America. Members are provided for throughout their entire lives and on the whole experience less of the loneliness and isolation prevalent in the modern world. The importance given to engagement in family life, social life and spirituality, and the defined purpose for their lives means Hutterite communities meet many of the requirements to be considered Blue Zones; area’s where health, happiness and life expectancy rates are higher than average.

However, this period of peace has its challenges as well. There are concerns amongst colony leaders that too much prosperity is eating away at the fabric of their society and too much contact with the outside world is watering down their culture. Each colony must decide how rigidly they cling to their traditions verses how much they adapt to the increasingly connected outside world. Conformity to the larger group is unofficially policed by the group as a whole. The Minister is burdened with ensuring the colony stays on a path to godliness rather than worldliness. As Hutterite author Paul S. Gross wrote “We cannot please the world and God at the same time … Either we take this world with all it offers, including trouble, mental stress, sorrow, and death at the end; or else we take a better way.” Despite challenges the Hutterites continue to be the most successful model for communal living in modern western history.

 

Smith’s work focuses on breaking down stereotypes about Hutterites and challenges simplistic reductionist ideas about who they are. Hutterites are often either romanticized or denigrated as simple, backwards, quaint and/or old fashioned. The reality is that their society is very complex and no two colonies are the same. Smith uses photography to document the breadth and complexity of the Hutterite experience as well as to show how colonies navigate the need to respond to the external pressures of the world around them while holding on to key traditions central to their faith. His goal has been to produce a body of work that sheds light on a group of people who are either unknown or misunderstood by the majority of mainstream society in hopes that in this work viewers will see connections to their own lives and experiences.

Smith’s photographs provide a contemporary and nuanced view of the Hutterite colonies – delving into complex decisions at the heart of the everyday. They offer a glimpse into the continuously negotiated sites of Hutterite life. Many of the images focus on the youth culture in the colonies, where expressions
of rebellion, respect for tradition, and maintenance of strict gender roles all create a sense of dual resistance – at once against the pressures of the outside world and against tradition. Having devoted twelve years to this ongoing documentation, Smith’s understanding of the Hutterite communities creates a possibility of showing their complexity in ways that are responsive to how they wish to be seen.

– Taken from the statement of the artist.

Upcoming Exhibitions

Grant McConnell

September 10 – November 05, 2021

Iris Hauser

September 10 – November 05, 2021

Submissions

Submission Procedures

The EAGM welcomes proposals from artists and curators in all media for exhibitions or special projects for 2020 and onward. The gallery presents a diverse program of exhibitions, lectures and meetings with artists, and is involved in the production of curated exhibitions connected to themes developed by the EAGM. Together, the programs propose a critical reflection on contemporary art and culture. The gallery offers three exhibition spaces for artist proposals, and welcomes submissions from curators and artists on an ongoing basis.

​The gallery has two exhibition spaces (Gallery I and Gallery II). The EAGM provides professional technical services for selected projects. The EAGM pays fees to artists and curators in accordance with CARFAC standards. Submitted projects are assessed and recommended for program inclusion by the curator. Please note that unless requested, we do not notify artists when a proposal has been received, and it can take some time for a decision to be made. Artists are always notified as to whether their submission has been selected for exhibition. Please note that our schedule is currently full for the near future, although we are happy to receive proposals to keep on file for future consideration.

Submission Requirements

Updated CV
Statement of Intent or a Specific Project Description
Artist Statement
10 to 20 digital images or video files* or Photographs
(on video tape, CDR, DVD, or memory stick – if applicable)
Image Identification Page (Title, Medium, Size, Year, etc.)

*For digital images submit only .jpg files in RGB format at a resolution of 72 dpi, with a maximum size of 1.5 MB and a maximum of 1024 x 768 pixels.

Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you are submitting via mail and would like to have your submission returned to you.

Please email your propsal to

director@eagm.ca

or via mail to:
Curator
Estevan Art Gallery and Museum
118 – 4th Street
Estevan, SK
S4A 0T4

Gallery Information

Gallery 1: 161 Running Feet (Ceiling Height: 142″). View floorplan

Gallery 2: 69 Running Feet (Ceiling Height: 117″). View floorplan

Project Space: 14 Running Feet (Ceiling Height: (96″). View Floorplan

​View floorplan of the entire building

Find images of the galleries

​* Galleries have 2′ x 2′ suspended ceilings.

The Estevan Art Gallery & Museum thanks the following organizations for their support:

Get In Touch!

Email Us

Contact Us

Phone: 306-634-7644
Fax: 306-634-2940

Hours of Operation

Monday: 10 am - 6pm
Tuesday: 10am - 6pm
Wednesday: 10am - 6pm
Thursday: 10am - 9pm
Friday: 10am - 6pm
Saturday: 9am - 5pm
Sunday: Closed

Closed for Lunch from
12pm -1pm

Skip to content