Nelson White, Knowing Meagan Musseau, Artist/Dancer, 2019. Courtesy of the artist as part of a touring exhibition with Grenfell Art Gallery and the Confederation Centre Art Gallery
Nelson White, Just Being Me DJ Kookum, DJ, 2019. Courtesy of the artist as part of a touring exhibition with Grenfell Art Gallery and the Confederation Centre Art Gallery
Location: 
Halifax  
Exhibition

Tukien (Awaken)

Date: 
Saturday, 16 October 2021 to Sunday, 13 February 2022

Nelson White’s portrait paintings document and celebrate kin. Tukien (Awaken) maps an extended community of artists, creatives, activists and, leaders who defy simple and singular understandings of contemporary Indigenous life. The exhibition title Tukien a Mi’kmaw word meaning awaken, evokes a collective raising of consciousness.

Portraying prominent and accomplished Indigenous people with bright colours; a “Pop” style combined with traditional motifs; and lush brushwork, White’s very contemporary paintings undermine one-dimensional understandings of Mi’kmaq people and their lived realities. His paintings are particularly resonant in a province, Newfoundland and Labrador, where joining confederation was predicated on the erasure of Indigenous personhood.

Born on the West Coast, in the community of Flat Bay, Nelson is a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band. He attended the Visual Arts program at the former Bay St. George Community College, before graduating from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. His paintings are included in public in private collections across North America, including the provincial art collection of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. His father, Calvin White is a respected elder, past elder-in-residence at Grenfell Campus, and significant Indigenous activist, who was inducted into the Order of Canada as well as the Order of Newfoundland in recognition of his lifetime of championing the rights of Mi’kmaq in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Co-curated by: Pan Wendt and Matthew Hills

Traveling Exhibition circulated by the Confederation Centre for the Arts and Organized by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery and Grenfell Art Gallery, Memorial University of Newfoundland, with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and ArtsNL.