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Item Name: Painting
Title: Métis in the Academy
Maker: David Garneau
Year: 2019
Materials: acrylic on canvas
Measurements: 122 x 79 cm
ID Number: PC2021.3
Legal Status: PERMANENT COLLECTION


Extended Label Info: David Garneau’s artwork is rooted in his Métis heritage. In this still life, a stack of books is held in a sling made from a Métis sash, known as “â la sayncheur flayshii” in the Métis language of Michif. The sash is an important signifier of Métis culture, and an important part of traditional Métis clothing. About 20 cm wide and 2 meters in length, the sash is usually worn as a belt around the waist. Historically, sashes could be used in a variety of ways: as a towel, rope, even an emergency bridle or saddle cloth. Sashes were also used as a tumpline to carry heavy packages. The cloth was tied to form a sling and looped around the forehead, with the load balanced on a person’s back, supported by the sling. In this painting, the heavy burden in the sash is metaphorical: the books represent the weight of expectations and knowledge that Garneau has felt as a contemporary Indigenous person, academic, and artist. As a Métis scholar, he is responsible for knowing the dominant discourse and canon of western culture, as well as the knowledge and literature of his home community. In this painting, the sash represents the support Garneau feels from Indigenous ancestors, their methods and teachings. David Garneau (1962- ) is a Métis artist, writer and curator whose family roots are from Edmonton, Treaty 6 territory. Currently based in Regina as Associate Professor in Fine Arts at the University of Regina, Garneau earned a BFA in Painting and Drawing, and MA in English literature from the University of Calgary. Garneau’s work focuses on painting, curation, critical writing, and creative expressions of contemporary Indigenous identities. His artwork has been exhibited internationally, and is held in numerous private and public collections, including The Canadian History Museum; the Canadian Parliament buildings; the NONAM museum, Zurich; and the Musée de la civilisation, Montreal.