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Wabanaki Modern | Wabanaki Kiskukewey | Wabanaki Moderne (English/Mi'kmaw/French)

Wabanaki Modern | Wabanaki Kiskukewey | Wabanaki Moderne (English/Mi'kmaw/French)

264 pages
Published:   August 2, 2022
Non-Fiction  /  Art & Architecture
Hardcover:   9781773102665   $40.00

The story of an overlooked group of cultural visionaries.

The “Micmac Indian Craftsmen” of Elsipogtog (then known as Big Cove) rose to national prominence in the early 1960s. At their peak, they were featured in print media from coast to coast, their work was included in books and exhibitions — including at Expo 67 — and their designs were featured on prints, silkscreened notecards, jewelry, tapestries, and even English porcelain.

Primarily self-taught, deeply rooted in their community, and fluent Mi’kmaw speakers, they were among the first modern Indigenous artists in Atlantic Canada. Inspired by traditional Wabanaki stories, they produced an eclectic range of handmade objects that were sophisticated, profound, and eloquent.

By 1966, the withdrawal of government support compromised the Craftsmen’s resources, production soon ceased, and their work faded from memory. Now, for the first time, the story of this ground-breaking co-operative and their art is told in full. Accompanying a major exhibition at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery opening in 2022, Wabanaki Modern features essays on the history of this vibrant art workshop, archival photographs of the artisans, and stunning full-colour images of their art.
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Emma Hassencahl-Perley is a Wolastoqey visual artist, curator, and educator from Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation). She is the co-author of Wabanaki Modern: The Artistic Legacy of the 1960s “Micmac Indian Craftsmen”, Alexandrya Eaton: Everything in Between and Psi kekw kəti mewi · Tout va bien aller · Everything is gonna be fine · Wela’sitew na, a volume assessing the New Brunswick Art Bank on its fiftieth anniversary. Hassencahl-Perley is a graduate of Mount Allison University’s fine arts program and is currently pursuing an MA in art history at Concordia University where her research examines Wabanaki identity through material and visual culture. Her visual art practice focuses on beadwork, soft sculpture, performance, and large mural installation painting.

John Leroux has practised in the fields of art history, architecture, visual art, curation, and education. He is currently the manager of collections and exhibitions at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Leroux holds a bachelor of architecture degree from McGill University, a master’s in art history from Concordia University, and a PhD in history from the University of New Brunswick. He was a team member of Canada’s entry at the 2012 Venice Biennale in architecture, and he has taught at the University of New Brunswick, the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, and St. Thomas University. Leroux is the author or editor of sixteen books, including Peter Powning: A Retrospective, The Lost City: Ian MacEachern’s Photographs of Saint John, and Wabanaki Modern: The Artistic Legacy of the 1960s “Micmac Indian Craftsmen”.