History of the OO7 Collective

THE OO7 (Ottawa Ontario Seven)

The OO7 were a group of Ottawa-based emerging, mid-career and established Indigenous artists who came together to form a collective with the sole purpose of presenting new work outside of the established curatorial practice and traditional institution art venue setting. The Collective was officially formed by Barry Ace, Rosalie Favell, Leo Yerxa and Ron Noganosh at the Imperial Cafe at 329 Bank Street, Ottawa in the Spring of 2012. The Collective was brought to seven members with Frank Shebageget, Bear Witness and Ariel Smith coming on board. The first OO7 exhibition was held at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, Ontario with the vernissage held on November 22, 2012. This exhibition was complimented by a panel discussion hosted and documented by the Indigenous Visual Culture Program at Ontario College of Art and Design University (more info) and radio interviews (view list) were conducted with each artist by Bob Phillips for Aboriginal Voices Radio (Toronto) and broadcast nationally.

The collective’s philosophy was unrestricted and provided each artist with the freedom and flexibility to take risks, experiment or present new works that were an extension of their current body of work. The artists in the collective were diverse in their visual art practices, transcending: painting, installation, photography, assemblage, video and new media. Imperative to the OO7 was the mix of established artists and new and emerging artists. As two senior artists, Leo Yerxa and Ron Noganosh, both acknowledged that the younger artists reinvigorated their own artistic practices and made them feel that they were once again a part of an exciting and vibrant Indigenous arts community.

Since the OO7 worked independent of curators and establish art institutions, the installation and presentation of the works for each exhibition was the sole responsibility of the artist. As well, the OO7 did not apply for any financial assistance from municipal, provincial or federal government sources by choice, so the work could be presented in its pure, raw and fresh studio state, and was free from curatorial thematic selection and filtering.

In the true spirit of collaboration, OO7 recognized the importance of collaboration, feedback and interaction. Periodically and informally, the group organized a get-together to share information and to plan for upcoming activities and events. As an opportunity to work and exhibit with a diversity of artists from within and outside of the Ottawa region, guest Indigenous artists were invited to exhibit with the OO7 core members and were designated as “OO7 Special Agents.” These invited artists ensured that exhibitions were fresh with new work and new ideas, and it was hoped that their participation acted as a catalyst and sparked the formation of other collectives or collaborations in their own home communities.

Since its formation in 2012, the OO7 presented a total of 5 exhibitions, and worked with many invited Special Agent artists. Throughout the active years, the OO7’s membership had been somewhat fluid, as several core members had other conflicting commitments that coincided with some of the exhibitions. But from its outset, six (6) of the core members remained committed and participated in the Collective over the 5 years of its existence. In 2017, tragedy struck and the OO7 lost two of their integral core senior artists who both passed away: Ron Noganosh and Leo Yerxa. With the loss of these two key founding artists, motivation and interest of the remaining core members quickly waned, bringing to close the final chapter in the history of the OO7’s unique artistic interventions and critique.

The OO7:

2012

  • Barry Ace (Founding Member)
  • Rosalie Favell (Founding Member)
  • Ron Noganosh (Founding Member)
  • Leo Yerxa (Founding Member)
  • Frank Shebageget
  • Ariel Smith
  • Bear Witness

Special Agent: Bonnie Devine

2013 – 2014

  • Barry Ace (Founding Member)
  • Rosalie Favell (Founding Member)
  • Ron Noganosh (Founding Member)
  • Leo Yerxa (Founding Member)
  • Frank Shebageget
  • Ariel Smith
  • Bear Witness

Special Agent: Robert Houle

2014 – 2015

  • Barry Ace (Founding Member)
  • Rosalie Favell (Founding Member)
  • Ron Noganosh (Founding Member)
  • Leo Yerxa (Founding Member)
  • Frank Shebageget
  • Ariel Smith
  • Bear Witness

Special Agent: Howard Adler

2015 – 2016

  • Barry Ace (Founding Member)
  • Rosalie Favell (Founding Member)
  • Ron Noganosh (Founding Member)
  • Leo Yerxa (Founding Member)
  • Frank Shebageget
  • Ariel Smith
  • Bear Witness

Special Agents: Howard Adler, Melody McKiver Maria Hupfield, and Barry Pottle

2016 – 2017

  • Barry Ace (Founding Member)
  • Rosalie Favell (Founding Member)
  • Ron Noganosh (Founding Member)
  • Leo Yerxa (Founding Member)
  • Frank Shebageget
  • Ariel Smith
  • Michael Belmore

Special Agents: Howard Adler, Meryl McMaster, Barry Pottle and Joi T. Arcand.

OO7 Collective Artists’ websites & other links:

Ariel Smith
Barry Ace
Frank Shebageget
Rosalie Favell
Bear Witness
Ron Noganosh 
Leo Yerxa

Special Agents websites & other links:

Robert Houle
Bonnie Devine
Howard Adler
Melody McKiver
Barry Pottle
Maria Hupfield
Meryl McMaster
Joi T. Arcand

VIEW OTHER OO7 COLLECTIVE PAGES:
History | 2012 | 2013 (SAW) | 2013 (Blink) | 2014 | 2017