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Item Name: Mixed Media
Title: The Waiting Room
Maker: Edward Poitras
Year: 1998
Country: Canadian
Materials: mixed media
Measurements: overall: 23.5 cm x 20.8 cm x 24.9 cm
ID Number: PC99.1
Legal Status: PERMANENT COLLECTION


Extended Label Info: Looking through a peephole into this tiny diorama reveals a white room with a photograph on the left featuring two people, and a chair leaning on the back wall, next to an enlarged page of text. It is difficult to see, but the document resembles a page from a doctor’s prescription pad, and the hand-written text declares Edward Poitras to be HIV free. At the time this artwork was made in the mid-1990s, public understanding of the vectors and treatment for the pandemic of HIV/AIDS was just beginning in Canada. One can imagine the stress of waiting for test results, even if for good news. This work was shown in the group exhibition “Little Worlds” at Dunlop Art Gallery in 1998. Edward Poitras often explores themes of identity, history, and life in urban spaces and on the reserve. The photo on the left wall of the diorama features two Indigenous men, played by Poitras and his colleague, the performance artist James Luna. Edward Poitras (1953 – ) Born in Regina, Edward Poitras is Métis and a member of the Gordon First Nation, currently residing in Treaty Four Territory. As a young artist, Poitras studied with Sarain Stump at the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College in Saskatoon (1974), and with Mexican Indigenous artist Domingo Cisneros at Manitou College, Québec (1975-1976). A recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Poitras has exhibited internationally, notably representing Canada in 1995 at the Venice Biennale. His work is held in numerous public, private and corporate collections across Canada, including the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Mendel Art Gallery, and the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.