Across the Turtle’s Back: The Kampelmacher Memorial Collection of Indigenous Art

15 October 2016 – 30 April 2017

Across the Turtle’s Back: The Kampelmacher Memorial Collection of Indigenous Art

October 15, 2016 to April 30, 2017

Opening Reception | November 18, 2016

6:30 PM | Members’ Preview
7:30 PM | Public Opening and Remarks
7:45 PM | Exhibition Tour with collector Thomas Druyan and Anthony Kiendl, Executive Director and CEO of the MacKenzie Art Gallery

The Kampelmacher Memorial Collection is the result of one couple’s passion for North American Indigenous art. The exhibition features 245 artworks that have been selected from over 1,000 works assembled by Yellowknife collectors Thomas Druyan and Alice Ladner. Named in honour of Druyan’s grandparents Wolf and Sala Kampelmacher, the collection was developed over almost 25 years and illustrates a myriad of artistic expressions from across the turtle’s back. Over 100 of these works have been promised as a donation to the MacKenzie Art Gallery.

The exhibition gives insight into an eclectic vision driven less by artist’s reputation or style and more by the expressive qualities of individual works. Druyan and Ladner’s enthusiasm for supporting artists of Indigenous descent often led them to include those artists they felt were deserving of greater recognition. While the range of subject matter and styles throughout the collection are quite varied, there are a number of recurrent themes: supernatural beings and legends; bears, birds and other animals; depictions of customary practices and worldviews; flora, vegetation and images of the land; and works exploring political issues and history. Several stylistic groups and categories are encompassed within the collection. Early Inuit printmaking and tapestry, and contemporary Inuit carvings from across the four regions collectively known as Inuit Nunangat are well represented. There are also numerous works by artists from the Manitoulin Island area of Ontario, other Woodland School artists, and the members of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. Artists from the Southwest United States and many more contemporary artists from across Canada and throughout North America are also prominent.

A key objective for Thomas Druyan and Alice Ladner in making a large donation of works to the MacKenzie is to create an educational resource for current and future generations of students, scholars and community members. This generous gift will undoubtedly be utilized for the years to come through permanent collection and outreach exhibitions, and through the Gallery’s program of loans to institutions across Canada and abroad. This acquisition will also fill holes in the Gallery’s existing holdings with the addition of previously unrepresented artists, including: Joane Cardinal-Schubert, Roy Thomas, Blake Debassige, Eddy Cobiness, Rick Rivet, Allen Angeconeb, Pitalousie Saila and Germaine Arnaktauyok. Furthermore, it  will supplement the collection with important early works by a number of leading contemporary artists, including: Robert Houle, Carl Beam, Alex Janvier and Helen Kalvak. The donation will make a significant contribution to the Gallery’s holdings of First Nations and Inuit art, and will add to our growing reputation as a leader in the collecting of contemporary Indigenous art.

– Michelle LaVallee, Curator

Organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery with the support of Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Arts Board, City of Regina, and University of Regina. Supported by Namerind Housing Corporation and PCL.

Qavavau Manumie, Dark Fantasy, 2008, etching/aquatint on paper, edition 36/50, 81.3 x 96.5 cm. Kampelmacher Memorial Collection of Indigenous Art. Promised gift to the MacKenzie Art Gallery Permanent Collection. Photo: Don Hall.