May 28th to September 10th, 2017
Betwixt & Between: An Untold Tom Thomson Story
Curated by Virginia Eichhorn, Director and Chief Curator
Betwixt & Between: An Untold Tom Thomson Story is a multi-faceted, fully immersive, interactive exhibition designed to tie the story of Canadian artist Tom Thomson (1877-1917) with the often overlooked history of the First Nations peoples of the Bruce Peninsula. The project is an innovative combination of story-telling, and ancient as well as modern technologies which will unfold in several stages, beginning with the launch of the gallery exhibition in May 2017 in the TOM THOMSON ART GALLERY (the TOM) and the launch of the accompanying APP. The APP will allow viewers to not only interact with the exhibition using augmented reality, but also to interact with the exhibition catalogue as well as participating in a geo-caching like treasure hunt to find copies of the very same artefacts seen in the museum.
The Betwixt & Between project challenges the role of museums, governments and educational systems as traditional bastions of authority and explores the relationship between false representation and truth. The artists have spent an extensive amount of time researching through primary documents and source materials in order to develop a narrative that could be considered 85% authentic. Tying the story to real events in Thomson’s life and in Canadian history, the story as presented isn’t necessarily fiction – rather it is just not fully proven.
Combining resources, expertise, technical skills and creative vision, no museum has ever undertaken a project of this scale and ambition before. After its initial 4 month run at the TOM in 2017, the exhibition will be presented at the Confederation Art Centre (PEI), the Reach (BC), the Art Gallery of Grimsby and the Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery (ON). 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the premature and mysterious death of Tom Thomson as well as the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge where our Anishinaabe character, George Nadjiwon, dies heroically
Lead artists Joel Richardson and Germinio Pio Politi have been working with artisans and community members from the First Nations communities on the Bruce Peninsula for over 3 years to create the artefacts that help to tell the story of the friendship between George and Tom. They also worked closely with artist Nyle Johnston who is from Neyaashiinigmiing to create the character of George and George’s journal entries will be written by award winning Canadian author Joseph Boyden.
At the closing of the exhibition at the TOM, Betwixt & Between will launch an online, virtual 3D version of the exhibition that will allow users to experience the original exhibition from anywhere in the world. This 3D virtual exhibition will be a part of the on-going legacy of this project.
This project will be ground-breaking due to its wide scope and inclusion of multimedia components never before completed on this scale. Betwixt & Between: An Untold Tom Thomson Story challenges conceptions through a story that will speak to the Canadian sense of nationhood and Canada’s coming of age. It will address truth and reconciliation with the First Nations, the Great War, and the story of the great Canadian painter Tom Thomson, whose art has been called the visual equivalent of our national anthem. And at its core, it is a story about friendship.
September 17th, 2017 to January 7th, 2018
West Wind / East Wind
Curated by Virginia Eichhorn, Director and Chief Curator
“East Wind” is a mural by Maria Hupfield that depicts Tom Thomson’s “West Wind” in reverse and in which, a silhouette of Hupfield has been inserted into the composition. Thomson’s “West Wind” will be presented opposite of Hupfield’s “East Wind.” This work explores issues around the idea of nationhood, as well as addressing constructed historical narratives that ignore or obscure different voices – in this case, the narratives of the First Nations peoples and women. Hupfield is also creating a performance piece that will be part of the exhibition. Historical and contemporary work from the TOM’s collection by Kreighoff, Kane, Verner, the Group of Seven, Carl Beam, Diana Thorneycroft, Lyla Rye and Thomson will be integrated on adjacent walls, adding multilevel discursive dialogues to the exhibition.
Maria Hupfield is a member of the Anishinaabe Nation at Wasauksing First Nation (Ontario) and is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Recently selected for the SITELines Biennial SITE Santa Fe 2016, she received national recognition in the USA from the Joan Mitchell Foundation for my artist-sewn industrial felt sculptures earning a painting and sculpture grant. Her work travelled across Canada for the exhibition Beat Nation: Aboriginal Art and Hip Hop and shown at the Museum of Arts and Design New York, Toronto Power Plant, and 7a*11d International Performance Festival. Her project Artist Tour Guide was commissioned by The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, New York, with an iteration at The McCord, Montreal, PQ. In 2015 she designed a nine foot birchbark style hunting canoe out of industrial felt to be assembled and performed in Venice, Italy over three consecutives evenings for the premiere of Jiimaan.
Continuing and Evolving Exhibitions…
Works by Tom Thomson are on view in our ongoing CANADIAN SPIRIT: The Tom Thomson Experience exhibition. Paintings, memorabilia and archival images offer an insightful look at Thomson’s life, ranging from his early years in Owen Sound to his untimely death at Canoe Lake in 1917. Thomson remains one of Canada’s most influential artists of the 20th century and a true Canadian hero!
About Canadian Spirit 2012-2017
Canadian Spirit is an annual thematic year-long, cross-community celebration that involves and engages cultural organizations, businesses, professional artists, students and audiences, spearheaded by the Tom Thomson Art Gallery (TOM). The programming presents a unique opportunity to explore and discover Tom Thomson; the response to his life and work which defines and celebrates ‘Canadian Spirit’.
Canadian Spirit program consists of a wide-ranging group of multi-disciplinary exhibitions and performances including outdoor installations, sculptures, murals, public interventions, films, concerts, lectures, and other events that engage a broad demographic of regional and visitor audiences.
While recognized as the guardian of Tom Thomson’s story, his work and his legacy, the TOM will continue to grow as a place of contemporary arts education, invention, and presentation. Through The TOM’s Canadian Spirit program creates opportunities to reach new audiences in their own communities and who might not otherwise interact with contemporary art.
Canadian Spirit 2012 was the first of an ongoing annual series that will culminate in Canadian Spirit 2017: Someday they will know what I mean… marking the 100th anniversary of Thomson’s death, the 150th anniversary of Confederation and the 50th anniversary of the Gallery. The Canadian Spirit series focuses on ideas and questions around Canadian identity, its past and its evolution, while balancing the honour owed to the past with the needs of the present, and always, looks forward to the future.
More about Canadian Spirit exhibitions and programmes can be found HERE