Addison Prepares for Exhibit on Innu People
The Addison Gallery is preparing for a week of exhibits depicting the Innu people of the Labrador and the challenges they've faced since forced settlement 50 years ago.
This was provided by the Addison Gallery of American Art.
The Addison Gallery of American Art, located on the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., is preparing for a week of special events and programs relating to the current exhibition Pekupatikut Innuat Akunikana / Pictures Woke the People Up: An Innu Project with Wendy Ewald and Eric Gottesman which opened on September 1. This exhibition and artists’ residency explores the representation of the Innu people of Labrador and the cultural, economic, social, and environmental challenges they have faced since their forced settlement in the 1960s.
As part of the project, a series of ten monumental banners based on images in the exhibition has been installed throughout the Phillips Academy campus, including two which are visible from Route 28. During the week of October 9 through October 14, five members of the Innu community, along with artists Ewald and Gottesman, will visit the Phillips Academy campus to meet with classes and participate in a series of evening programs, including film screenings and readings.
The weeklong residency will culminate in a public reception at the Addison on Saturday, October 13, from 3 to 5 p.m., which will offer an opportunity to meet the artists and members of the Innu community from Labrador and to tour the campus to see the banners. The reception is free and open to the public.
This project has its roots in a 1969 voyage that Wendy Ewald, who graduated from Abbot Academy that same year and was just 18 at the time, made to Sheshatshiu, Labrador, to work with children in the Innu community to create a photographic document of their experiences as they adapted to life on a reserve, having been forcibly settled several years earlier. In 2007, concerned by the persistent challenges facing the Innu, Ewald returned to Labrador with fellow photographer Eric Gottesman, a member of Phillips Academy’s Class of 1994. They reconnected with many of the children – now adults, of course – with whom Ewald had worked on her earlier visit. This reunion, along with a public exhibition of the 1969 photographs, sparked conversations among community members about what the pictures meant and what had happened since they were taken. For the next few years, Ewald and Gottesman embarked on a new photographic project with three Innu high school students to create an updated portrait of the community originally depicted in the 1969 photographs. Later, the artists worked with the entire community to create a series of large-scale banners based on the 1969 and 2007 photographs and installed them throughout their community.
Comprised of approximately 100 objects—including historic photographs by explorer William Brooks Cabot and anthropologist William Duncan Strong, archival footage by documentary filmmakers such as Richard Leacock, 1969 photographs by Ewald and her Innu students, and contemporary photographs, video, writings, and banners by Ewald, Gottesman, and the Sheshatshiu community — Pekupatikut Innuat Akunikana explores the representation of the Innu over time as well as document Ewald and Gottesman’s efforts to use photography and video to revitalize Innu culture. The material explores the unsettling and transforming effects of the shift from the Innu’s traditional nomadic lifestyle to a sedentary one and offers the opportunity for interdisciplinary community dialogues through the exploration of themes ranging from the impact of the settlement of indigenous peoples to the art of storytelling and the rights to cultural property.
The Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass., is open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on Mondays, national holidays, and December 24. Admission to all exhibitions and events is free. The Addison Gallery also offers free education programs for teachers and groups. For more information, call 978-749-4015, or visit the website at www.addisongallery.org
About the Addison Gallery of American Art
Devoted exclusively to American Art, the mission of the Addison Gallery of American Art is to acquire, preserve, interpret and exhibit works of art for the education and enjoyment of all. Opened in 1931, the Gallery has one of the most important collections of American art in the country that includes nearly 17,000 works by prominent American artists such as George Bellows, John Singleton Copley, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Georgia O’Keeffe and Jackson Pollock, as well as photographers Eadweard Muybridge, Walker Evans, Robert Frank and many more. The Addison Gallery, located on the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover, offers a continually rotating series of exhibitions and programs, all of which are free and open to the public. For more information, call 978-749-4015, or visit the website at www.addisongallery.org.