By Tyler Kula, Sarnia Observer
Nature, and the connection between spirits, animals and people, is from where Teresa Altiman draws her artistic inspiration.
“I just embrace the whole philosophy of that spirituality, of the natural world,” said the Walpole Island artist, one of several exhibiting work at the opening of Animikii Noodinag - Thunder Winds, at Gallery in the Grove Sunday.
“That's telling you a lot about who we are as First Nation people,” said the 65-year-old acrylic painter about the show's title. “Because it has to do with the spirit of who we are, the spirit of everything that surrounds us.”
About 40 works of art were hanging from the Bright's Grove gallery walls at the opening that more than 70 people showed up to enjoy, said Sheila Brown, one of the exhibit planners.
It's the first all-First Nations show the gallery has ever put on, she said.
“It's well overdue and we're really glad it's come together,” she said, noting the gallery is focussing on showcasing local artists during Sarnia's centennial year.
Other exhibitors at the six-week show include Jason Baerg, resident aboriginal curator at the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery (JNAAG), carpenter and carver Roger Williams, painter Gail “Daanis” Bressett, and a host of others.
Aamjiwnaang author and historian David Plain was also at the opening, signing copies of his books.
The show, continuing until April 12, also features First Nations crafts, carvings and beadwork on display. Most of the artwork is for sale.
Gallery officials said the opening was one of the best attended they've had in a long while.
It's part of a series of First Nations art exhibitions at Sarnia-Lambton galleries happening now.
The Animikii Noodinag - Thunder Winds exhibition series includes the Bright's Grove gallery, Artopia Gallery and Framing, the JNAAG, and the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts — featuring First Nations artists from Aamjiwnaang, Kettle and Stony Point and Walpole Island.
The initiative to have local galleries work in tandem is the brainchild of Baerg, said Brown, noting a gallery tour and symposium to celebrate First Nations artwork is planned for March 29.
The day starts with a reception and artist talks at Gallery in the Grove at 10 a.m., another at the Lawrence House starting at noon, then exhibit viewing at the JNAAG, a talk there by David Plain at 2 p.m., and a chance for discussion afterwards.
ANIMIKII NOODINAG – THUNDER WINDS EXHIBITS:
JUDITH AND NORMAN ALIX ART GALLERY (JNAAG):
-Feb. 7 – May 11, featuring work by Ron Noganosh
ARTOPIA GALLERY AND FRAMING:
-Feb. 7 – March 31, featuring work by Ron Noganosh
GALLERY IN THE GROVE:
-March 2 – April 12, featuring work by Teresa Altiman, Roger Williams, Gail 'Daanis' Bressette, Jason Baerg and others
LAWRENCE HOUSE CENTRE FOR THE ARTS:
-March 5-30, featuring work by Moses Lunham and others