Woodland Boogie Woogie 6


September 23, 2023, to January 7, 2024

Organized by the Varley Art Gallery of Markham
Featuring the works of Native Art Department International, with Norval Morrisseau (1932–2007), Daphne Odjig (1919–2016), Steve Snake (b.1966), and John Laford (1955–2021)
Curated by Anik Glaude

This exhibition features work by Native Art Department International (NADI) alongside pieces from the collections of the Varley Art Gallery of Markham and Markham Public Art. NADI is a long-term collaborative project founded in Brooklyn in 2016, and administered by Maria Hupfield and Jason Lujan. NADI works to avoid easy categorization by incorporating unannounced actions, curatorial projects, video screenings, paintings, and mixed-use installations.

The painting Woodland Boogie Woogie 6 exemplifies their collaborative work, which sees each artist taking turns to contribute to the large colorful abstract painting included in this exhibition. Their inspiration, and the name of their series, stems from the Woodland School of Art. The Woodland School’s approach was founded by Norval Morrisseau of the Anishinaabe Nation and taken up by other First Nation artists from the Great Lakes Region in the 1960s and 1970s. The style merged traditional imagery with elements of modern art and is defined by bold saturated colours and black curvilinear outlines. Focusing on the key aspects of the style, NADI abstracts the iconic colours and forms used by the Woodland School, in order to expand the visual language and continue the cultural conversation.

About the artists

Native Art Department International (NADI) is a collaborative long-term project created and administered by Maria Hupfield and Jason Lujan that began in Brooklyn in 2016 and is now based in Toronto. NADI seeks to circumvent easy categorization by comprising a diverse range of undertakings such as unannounced actions, curatorial projects, video screenings, paintings, collective art making, and mixed-use installations. All activities contain an undercurrent of cooperation and non-competition while at the same time functioning as emancipation from essentialism and identity-based artwork.

Associated Programs

Opening Reception
When We All Get Together
Friday, September 29, 2023 | 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. | Free, Registration not required.

It’s a fête at the Varley Art Gallery. Meet with exhibiting artists, enjoy food and music, and get hands-on with a family-friendly studio activity at our fall exhibitions opening reception.

Image: Native Art Department International, Woodland Boogie Woogie 6, 2022, acrylic on panel, 172.72 x 147.32 cm. Markham Public Art Collection. Courtesy of the artists.

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