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Michael Belmore


June 22 - September 21, 2024

Michael Belmore, waaskwaabkizi, limestone, copper leaf, 2024. Photo credit: D'Andrea Bowie.


The Anishinaabe word gawaatebiishin means to reflect on the water, or to cast a shadow on it. It evokes the sentiment of standing on a shoreline; a liminal site where we go to contemplate our personal connection to place while simultaneously being reminded of deep time. When we observe how a rock has been worn down where it meets the water, or feel the sand under our feet, we witness the subtle frictions that have unfolded between these elements over millennia.

The significance of the shoreline within the Anishinaabe worldview is meaningful in that it represents the threshold between two worlds—the underwater world that is the domain of the mishibizhiig (underwater panthers) and the world above that is the domain of the animikiig (thunderbirds). These two spirits were said to have fought in the place where their worlds met, leaving behind their copper blood. For this reason, the raw copper found along lakeshores is cherished by the Anishinaabe because it represents the connection between the spirits and the earth.

In this exhibition, Belmore uses copper, limestone, steel, wood, and water to create works that reference the subtlety of natural and man-made forces that have shaped the land over time—encouraging perspectives that extend beyond mortality towards deeper conversations with the environment. As he explains, “our perception of time is limited by lived experience to place and subsequently what one creates acts as a complex and divergent orientation marker or tether mapping culture…what does it mean to stand in a place where your parents once stood, to watch a sun set that perhaps your great great grandparents may have once watched.”


About the artist:

Michael Belmore, a member of Lac Saul First Nation in northern Ontario, employs a variety of materials that speaks clearly and powerfully about the environment, land, water, and what it is to be Anishinaabe. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design, he completed his Master of Fine Art at the University of Ottawa in 2019. Practicing for over 30 years, Belmore is an internationally recognized artist and is represented in the permanent collections of various institutions including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Museum of the American Indian – Smithsonian Institute and the Canadian Chancery in Paris. His exhibitions include: Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON, Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art at the Peabody Essex in Salem, MA and Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 3, Museum of Arts & Design, New York, NY.


Affiliated programming:

Opening Reception - Saturday June 22, 2024 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Artist Talk - Saturday July 20, 2024 at 2:00pm 

Workshop - Sunday July 21, 2024 at 9:30am

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Sunday 12:00pm - 4:00pm

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