Robert Houle’s Paris/Ojibwa
Saturday May 14, 2011 - 12am to 12am
Panel discussion at Market Hall, part of the Ode'min Giizis Festival
Saturday June 18, 2011 - 12am to Saturday June 18, 2011 - 12am
Publication Launch for Paris/Ojibwa
Thursday July 28, 2011 - 12am to Thursday July 28, 2011 - 12am
Robert Houle is a member of Sandy Bay First Nation (Manitoba), and currently lives and works in Toronto. Houle has been exhibiting works since the early 1970s; his most recent installation, Paris/Ojibwa, premiered at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, and makes its North American debut at the Art Gallery of Peterborough.
Robert Houle’s multimedia installation re-imagines a grant 1845 Parisian room in which two cultures, Ojibwa and French, made contact, evoking the lingering memory of the historical Maungwudaus and his Mississauga Nishnaabeg dance troupe performing for the Parisian court.
The artist first became aware of this event during a trip to Paris. He noted that encounters with Native Americans impressed the 19th century Parisian imaginations of poets and painters, notably George Sand, Charles Baudelaire, and Eugène Delacroix. Robert writes that “seeing the Delacroix sketch Cinq etudes d’Indiens [of the Ojibwa dancers] at the Louvre’s Pavillon de Flore was like travelling back in time to when Delacroix first drew it.”
Paris/Ojibwa honours the memory of the Indigenous dance troupe, reflecting on the crucial theme of aesthetics of disappearance. Houle explains that his installation, replete with a sound component and futurist animation, is “a cultural hybrid of theatricality and ethnicity.”
Robert Houle’s Paris/Ojibwa received support from the Canada Council of the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. A catalogue featuring essays by Nelcya Delanoë (Paris), Robert Houle and David MacIntosh (Toronto), and Barry Ace (Ottawa), will accompany the show.