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The NGC reopens, extends Àbadakone and adds Ace’s work Healing Dance 2 to the exhibition.

The National Gallery of Canada reopened its doors to the public on Saturday, July 18, 2020.

The exhibition of international Indigenous art, Àbadakone | Continuous Fire | Feu continuel is on view from Friday, November 8, 2019 to Sunday, October 4, 2020. Àbadakone is the second exhibition in a series of exhibitions presented by the National Gallery of Canada featuring contemporary international Indigenous art, with works by more than 70 artists representing 40 Indigenous Nations, ethnicities and tribal affiliations from 16 countries around the world.

During the COVID-19 shutdown, the National Gallery of Canada consolidated all information and resources for Àbadakone under their Virtual NGC.

For the reopening, the curators (Hill, Dickenson and Lalonde) have added Ace’s work Healing Dance 2 to Àbadakone from the Collection of the National Gallery of Canada. Healing Dance 2 was also exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada in the 2017 Canadian Biennial curated by Jonathan Shaughnessy, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art.

Healing Dance 2, started its life as a newly created accoutrement for Ace’s fully beaded Anishinaabe black velvet dance regalia. The work is based on traditional Anishinaabeg floral and plant life imagery that he beaded directly onto a circular shoulder fitting yoke. The beaded flowers are symbolic representations of various medicinal plants used in traditional medicines, while the two pine cone and oak leaf motifs visually morph into forms resembling bumble bees. The representation of beaded floral motifs on regalia can be translated as metaphors for healing, and when hand sewn onto regalia and danced in ceremony, the medicinal floral imagery become metaphors for individual and collective healing. This is further exemplified in the translation of the glass bead, whose name in Anishinaabemowin is spirit / energy / berry (manidoominens).

The beadwork took approximately 6 months to complete, and the yoke incorporates both new and antique beads of various sizes that were gifted to him by mentors and pow wow dancers over the years. Ace first danced this beaded yoke at the Mnjikaning pow wow on the Chippewas of Rama First Nation territory, the very first year that the community moved the Woodland Dance Special to a full two-day Woodland Dance competition category in October 2012. The Mnjikaning annual pow wow always had a Woodland Dance Special category, but the community felt that the time had come to honour the Anishinaabe traditional dance and floral beaded regalia with its own competition category. Since Ace had been dancing a fully beaded Anishinaabe style men’s regalia for several years prior, he was asked by the Pow wow Committee to lead in the Grand Entry at the outset of the pow wow. After that weekend of dancing, Ace never danced the yoke again and felt compelled to transform the yoke into a contemporary work of art. He completed the transformation of the yoke in 2013, after adding tin cones with dyed horse hair tassels and a centrepiece in the neck opening consisting of a bronze screen and my signature electronic component floral work.

He titled the work Healing Dance 2 to acknowledge the yoke’s transformation from ceremonial dance regalia to a contemporary work of art that had been created, danced and honoured in ceremony.

For more information on Ace’s work in the Àbadakone (here).

Àbadakone catalogue (here)