Bear [Makwa]

Simon Brascoupé

BIRTH YEAR 1948
BIRTH PLACE Maniwaki, Quebec

This work by Simon Brascoupé draws inspiration from traditional birch bark basket ornamentation. Adapting techniques used to render patterns on birch bark, Brascoupé, an Algonquin artist from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, uses vibrant acrylic color and a birch bark stencil on paper to depict a bear, a sacred animal within Anishinaabe culture and a motif used in a basket design. A lifeline represented by an arrow, a traditional symbol stemming back to rock art, runs from the bear’s mouth to its heart, and a warm yellow light denoting spiritual power emanates from within. Blending both contemporary and traditional practices, Brascoupé’s work revitalizes culturally significant motifs and techniques to communicate and protect Indigenous knowledge.

MEDIUM Acrylic paint stencil on paper
DATE 1989
DIMENSIONS 61cm x 45.7cm
ACCESSION NUMBER 2019.05.04
CREDIT LINE Collection of the Ottawa Art Gallery: gift of Sol and Zelaine Shinder, 2019
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION
An abstract image featuring a stencil of a curvilinear bear on white paper. The bear is painted with a gradient of blue, red and yellow paint. The stencil features an arrow, which runs from the mouth of the bear, inward towards its middle. The yellow colour is concentrated at the center of the image and deepens to red and then blue at the outer edges of the stencil.

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