Events Schedule
Traditional Gathering
O'Kaadenigan Wiingashk


Native Artists from the Peterborough Region.

Artists in exhibition: Michael Belmore, Jimson Bowler, Christian Chapman, Yvonne Garbutt, Glenna Matoush, Neal McLeod, Alice Williams, Norman Knott, David Johnson, Jean Marshall.

On those occasions when I think of the land that I live on I always come back to the earthdiver story that Basil Johnston collected in his book Ojibway Heritage. My favorite part is after the beaver, marten, fisher, loon and muskrat dive into the deep water trying to get to the bottom to get a piece of dirt for sky-woman, who is sitting on the turtle's back. All fail except for the muskrat who comes to the surface clutching "in his paws a small morsel of soil." After, sky-woman paints the rim of the turtle's back where she is resting on and "breathed upon it and into it the breath of life." I think the reason why I keep coming back to this story is because I am intrigued by how different elements come together in the story: creating a world through drawing, the connection between breath and life, how we chose the land to live on, and the importance of community (both humans and animals) and cooperation needed to make a place on this earth where we all belong.
The area around Peterborough has always been an important gathering place. The Peterborough petroglyphs remind us of a time when native communities came together to carve images into the rock. But more than that, I imagine there were also stories being told, food cooked and trades being made. Nogajiwanong: the anishinaabe word for Peterborough meaning "at the end of the rapids" brings together a wide variety of artists in a community of celebration. This exhibition is part of the larger celebration Ode' min Giizis (Strawberry Moon) Festival and by working with two Elders, Doug Williams and Dorothy (Taaji) Cameron, it takes as its starting point traditional anishinaabe teachings for all of us to gain a greater understanding of what community is and how we relate to the land as a community.
The artists in the exhibition are either local artists or artists that have a strong connection to Peterborough. Also included are works of art from the collections from the Art Gallery of Peterborough and Whetungs's Art Gallery in Curve Lake. The artists are, Michael Belmore, Jimson Bowler, Christian Chapman, Christine Deiter, Yvonne Garbutt, David Johnson, Norman Knott, Jean Marshall, Glenna Matoush, Neal McLeod, and Alice Williams. These artists are at different phases in their career and using a wide range of media. Each of the artists in this exhibition are addressing important issues such the importance of community and the different ways that we relate to the land in their work.
When we speak of community we speak of not only Peterborough, but also the surrounding area that encompasses those outside the city. By showcasing a variety of different kinds of works by a variety of different native artists speak not only to the differences in a community but also those factors that hold us together and keep us strong. How we belong in a community takes many forms and a number of the artists in this exhibition look to ideas such as, family (Yvonne Garbutt), history (Christian Chapman and Alice Williams), and the stories we are told (Norman Knott and Jean Marshall). Nogajiwanong:is a true community effort that brings together a number of places in Peterborough where the art will be exhibited: the Art Gallery of Peterborough, Kubos Restaurant, Catalinas, the Blue Tomato, and Black Honey.
The word Nogajiwanong:lets the viewer know that the land is an important element in this exhibition. How we relate to the land is important to not only how we see the world but our experience within it. Glenna Matoush, Neal McLeod, David Johnson, Michael Belmore and Jimson Bowler each take the land as a point of reference to explore issues such as history, traditional stories and spirituality. Like sky-woman, these artists create a world, using different materials to "paint the turtles back" and in this creative act the artists pass on traditional teachings that talk about the different ways to make a place for themselves and community in this world.

Written by William Kingfisher.