ROBERT HOULE, R.C.A.
A NEW SENTINEL
mixed media on paper
signed, titled, dated ‘90 and numbered 7/22
61 ins x 28 ins; 154.9 cms x 71.1 cms
Robert Houle has been active in the Canadian contemporary art scene since the mid 1970s, effectively bridging the gap between contemporary First Nations artists and the broader Canadian art scene. His powerful imagery stems from his personal experiences as a First Nations member of the Anishnabe Saulteaux community. Working with mixed media, Houle incorporates aspects of indigenous culture in the majority of his work. He explores the history of his people while addressing contemporary Canadian politics and often employs text and photographic elements in his large-scale works, as illustrated in A New Sentinel (1990). While recalling the names of various First Nations tribes through text, the coloured ribbons act as symbols of holy offerings used during traditional ceremonies.
Houle’s work is featured in many public and private collections worldwide including the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa); the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney); the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, and the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam). Having taught at the Ontario College of Art and Design for a number of years, Houle currently resides in Toronto, and is the co-chair of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy.