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In 2022, the Canada Council Art Bank launched an open call for the purchase of new artworks from artists in Canada. This Art Bank purchase is part of the Canada Council’s strategy to establish a collection that is truly representative of Canada, has been timed to coincide with the Art Bank’s 50th anniversary celebrations. 72 new artworks by emerging and established artists from across Canada were acquired for the collection.
L.A. Pai Gallery (Ottawa) submitted Ace’s work Poignant (2018) on behalf of the artist. It has now been acquired by Canada Council Art Bank, and it is the third work of Ace’s to enter into their collection.
Poignant is a sculptural work drawing from and referencing the bronze moccasins in Ace’s large-scale installation on the impact of Residential Schools entitled How Can You Expect Me to Reconcile When I Know the Truth (2018). Poised and resting on top of sharp spikes of a found vintage hackle, a colonial farming implement with steel pins used to comb out flax and hemp, a child’s moccasin rests with partial Great Lakes Anishinaabe style floral embellishment and trailing wire fringe. The shoes are held transparent and hollow to represent the impact of assimilation and cultural loss, while the shoes have partial floral motifs that represent some aspects of the culture and language that survived to be passed on to future generations. The coated wire fringe reference trail dusters that were once affixed to the heel of moccasins that dragged behind the wearer to erase evidence of their tracks. The circuit board references a once fully functioning system (Indigenous culture) that has been and continues to be vulnerable and susceptible to disruptions, malfunctions, breakdowns, or attacks (colonization) rendering the system damaged and inoperable. Although much damage has been done, Indigenous peoples are seeking new and innovative ways though science, medicine, technology, protest and faith to monitor, manage, troubleshoot and repair those dysfunctions and aberrations.