March 4 to May 21, 2017
La Guilde proudly presented ONIMISKISKAW NITEHIK [Lightning in my Heart], an exhibition by Atikamekw multidisciplinary artist Eruoma Awashish, which was held from March 4 to April 29, 2017.
She who participated in the creative laboratory Déranger [Disturbing], an NFB project in collaboration with Oboro and Wapikoni mobile, presented in this exhibition meditative works of great sensitivity. Driven by the concept of ritual, each of her works becomes a mixture of several influences, drawing on the iconography of many cultures. She thus highlights her own status as Métis and aims to bring the spectators to question their own identity. It was her second exhibition at La Guilde, after the travelling exhibition Reliques et Passages, which was presented in the summer of 2014 and organized by LAND InSIGHTS as part of the Montréal First Peoples Festival.
"In this exhibition, Eruoma Awashish intended to continue exploring the themes of identity and filiation or ancestry, strong and fruitful subjects, which have been following her since she finished her university curriculum. Through her pictorial works, her installations and her highly personal artistic performances, she renews and transforms the concept of ritual by developing a form of personal expression in which traditional Atikamekw symbols meet Quebec culture, thus underlining her own status as Métis. Her artworks challenge the spectators, leading them to reflect upon their own filiations, while at the same time affirming the artist's double identity as Atikamekw and Quebecer.
Using various mediums in her work, including China ink and acrylic, the incorporation of feathers and skulls, Eruoma Awashish marries pictorial symbolism marked by Atikamekw iconography, like the flower or circle patterns specific to her nations' territory, with influences from the history of Western art. She exploits marked and striking visual contrasts where red and black, the expression of life and death, not to mention transformation and rebirth are all elements that tend to intertwine. In this exhibition, she wished to deal with the death of her father, but also the birth of her daughter, because both events communicate with one another and coexist in the Atikamekw culture. Thus, all lifeforms are connected with death to then be reincarnated, as is expressed in the philosophy of the First Nations."
- Anaïs Janin, commissaire de l’exposition.
A must-see artist of the emerging scene, the Atikamekw artist Eruoma Awashish aims to update traditional know-how and to reunite the traditional lifestyle with contemporary realities. She likes to play with contrasts, duality and the concept of transculturation in order to create in her representations a hybrid work where identity and memory hold a prominent place. Having completed an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts, Eruoma Awashish took part in many group and solo exhibitions in important museums and galleries in Quebec. Her Reliques et passages exhibition was presented in several galleries in Quebec, in addition to doing the circuit of the maisons de la culture de Montréal and being presented at the Symposium international d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul. She took part in the Déranger [Disturbing] project, an intensive creative NFB laboratory, presented at Oboro in November 2016.