Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts

Adrian Stimson Visual and performance artist

Adrian Stimson on history, redemption and exorcising energy

A film by Rhayne Vermette

"He constantly reminds us that we are talking about living beings, communities and spiritual realms."

"In Stimson’s work he often will use real materials like buffalo hide or the remnants of the actual residential school that he attended in order to ground his camp aesthetic in an actual experience or material reality.

This is what marks his difference from other postmodern aesthetics and why his work has to oscillate between mourning and mayhem. He constantly reminds us that we are talking about living beings, communities and spiritual realms. We cannot just make up a future without attending to the past in an honest unwavering examination. It is in the performance of play and the creation of spaces of mourning, in the creation of fictions and the maintenance of alternative histories, in the letting go and holding on to colonial trauma, and the engagement with the sacred and sacrilegious that separates Stimson’s from the rest as a radical agent of change and not simply a performer of postmodern puns." - Wanda Nanibush, Curator, Indigenous Art, Indigenous + Canadian Art Department, Art Gallery of Ontario

Nominated by
Tomas Jonsson, visual artist, writer, cultural organizer

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See this artist’s work in the Art Bank collection

Selected works

Adrian Stimson, Shaman Exterminator Sunrise 2, 2005, performance still. Photo: Happy (Ian) Grove

Adrian Stimson, Shaman Exterminator Sunrise 2, 2005, performance still. Photo: Happy (Ian) Grove

Adrian Stimson, Putting the WILD Back Into The WEST, 2008, performance still. Adrian Stimson & Lori Blondeau collection. Photo: Henri Robideau

Adrian Stimson, Putting the WILD Back Into The WEST, 2008, performance still. Adrian Stimson & Lori Blondeau collection. Photo: Henri Robideau

Adrian Stimson, Beyond Redemption, 2010, installation, dimensions vary, taxidermy bison, 2.23 m long x 1.52 m high, 10 bison robes draped on black crosses arranged around bison. Photo: Eve Kotyk of the Former Mendel Art Gallery

Adrian Stimson, Beyond Redemption, 2010, installation, dimensions vary, taxidermy bison, 2.23 m long x 1.52 m high, 10 bison robes draped on black crosses arranged around bison. Photo: Eve Kotyk of the Former Mendel Art Gallery

Adrian Stimson, Gordon's Indian Residential School 5/6, 2013, acrylic on wood canvas, 35.56 cm x 50.8 cm.

Adrian Stimson, Gordon's Indian Residential School 5/6, 2013, acrylic on wood canvas, 35.56 cm x 50.8 cm.

Adrian Stimson, Spirit Alliance, 2014, sculpture, various dimensions. City of Saskatoon collection. Photo: Grant Kernan

Adrian Stimson, Spirit Alliance, 2014, sculpture, various dimensions. City of Saskatoon collection. Photo: Grant Kernan

Adrian Stimson, As Above So Below, 2015, video, 10:24 mins.

Adrian Stimson, As Above So Below, 2015, video, 10:24 mins.
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