Robert Houle: Life & Work
Published by: Art Canada Institute
Imprint: The Canadian Art Library
Available: November 2021
128 Pages, 8.00 x 11.00 x 0.65 in
Not Yet Published
Saulteaux artist Robert Houle (b.1947) has claimed space and authority for Indigenous representation in contemporary art for more than fifty years. This new publication celebrates his generational influence and coincides with his exhibition Red Is Beautiful, organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and touring to the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution.
A curator, writer, and educator as well as an artist, Houle has made a profound impact. Growing up on the Sandy Bay First Nation/Kaa-wii-kwe-tawang-kak in Manitoba, he was placed in residential school and denied access to his family and traditions. Always fiercely principled, he has dedicated his career to challenging colonialist perspectives. In 1980, he resigned from his position as the first curator of contemporary Indigenous art at the National Museum of Man (now the Canadian Museum of History) and set off on a path toward creating a remarkable body of work that spans painting, drawing, and large-scale installation.
Robert Houle: Life & Work reveals how Houle's artistic output has opened critical discussion on political and cultural issues surrounding First Nations peoples, including Indigenous identity, the impact of colonialism, and land claims and residential schools. Houle has played a pivotal role in bringing contemporary Indigenous artists into the Canadian art mainstream through his writing and curating of important exhibitions, such as Land, Spirit, Power: First Nations at the National Gallery of Canada in 1992. This book also explores the artist's public art projects, critical elements of his legacy for art in Canada.