Jane Ash Poitras: Caribou Heaven

Jane Ash Poitras, "Caribou Heaven", 2000, mixed media on canvas, overall: 91.44 x 121.92 cm. Gift of Reginald Bennett, 2001. Photo: Andre Beneteau
March 23, 2017 - June 25, 2017

Jane Ash Poitras
Caribou Heaven
March 23 to June 25, 2017
Joan Lehman Gallery
Curator: Emily McKibbon
Reception: Thursday, March 23, 7 to 9 pm

Jane Ash Poitras is a Canadian artist of Cree descent. Born in 1951 in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, Poitras was raised in foster care in Edmonton. In her early adulthood, Poitras began investigating her Cree heritage, while also transitioning from studies in microbiology to printmaking, studying first at the University of Alberta, and later attaining her MFA at Columbia University, New York City.

Caribou Heaven (2000) is a mixed media work that highlights Poitras’ use of collaged elements, including paint, pictograms, photographs, text and animal claws. Central to this work is a posed photograph of Inuit subjects performing daily tasks, ironically presented under the headline “A More Civilized Lifestyle.” Critical of the discourse that positions Indigenous subjects as ahistorical, Poitras challenges the concept of “civilization” as defined in a settler-colonial context.

Jane Ash Poitras has exhibited her work internationally, participating in exhibitions at the ROM, Toronto; Thunder Bay Art Gallery; the Canadian Embassy, Paris; Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton; Confederation Centre of the Arts, Halifax; Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff; the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; and others. Her work is collected widely, and is held by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; ROM, Toronto; Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston; the National Gallery of Canada; the Vancouver Art Gallery; Yale University, New Haven; and others. Poitras lives and works in Edmonton, Alberta.