Article

Bonnie Devine’s Battle for the Woodlands on view at the AGO

Bonnie Devine with her installation. Image courtesy AGO.
Bonnie Devine with her installation. Image courtesy AGO.
Bonnie Devine's Battle for the Woodlands in the gallery. Image courtesy AGO.
Bonnie Devine's Battle for the Woodlands in the gallery. Image courtesy AGO.

Bonnie Devine, an associate professor and the founding chair of OCAD U’s Indigenous Visual Culture program, spent part of her summer installing a new work, Battle for the Woodlands, at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The installation expands an early 19th century map of Upper and Lower Canada to reflect an Anishinaabe world view. 

Battle for the Woodlands will be on view at the AGO for a year, and is an extension of the AGO’s major temporary summer exhibition, Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes, which features work by leading modern and contemporary artists, including Norval Morrisseau, Michael Belmore, Daphne Odjig, OCAD U instructor Robert Houle, and others. Before and After the Horizon opened on July 30 and runs until November 25.

Before and After the Horizon is co-organized by the AGO and the National Museum of the American Indian. It’s a celebration of visual expressions of the spiritual and social dimensions of our relations with the earth, and at the same time challenges certain accepted accounts of history. 

Devine, whose work “Letter to William,” is part of the temporary exhibition, was talking with Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s curator for Canadian Art, about a historic map of upper and lower Canada and what it meant one day earlier this year when she came up with the idea to overlay an Anishinaabe vision over the map to show the four great lakes represented as spirit animals, as well as the important sites of conflict and contact between European and Anishinaabe people. 

Hunter saw the idea as an opportunity to both respond to and extend the ideas of the temporary exhibition through the rest of the gallery and spark conversations. As part of the installation process, Devine worked in the gallery during viewing hours so she could engage with viewers and answer questions. 

“Devine’s installation has accomplished a great deal, and at the same time resulted in endless intense and meaningful conversations with the public, guests and officials in the gallery,” said Hunter. “The goal for us with projects like this to create a deep engagement, not only between the AGO and OCAD U, but also with this place and the land — the deep human history and our part of our community. It challenges the institution to learn, change and grow.”

 

Learn more

Before and After the Horizon 

Bonnie Devine image timeline 

Bonnie Devine faculty biography 

 




Bonnie Devine with her installation. Image courtesy AGO.
Bonnie Devine's Battle for the Woodlands in the gallery. Image courtesy AGO.

Bonnie Devine, an associate professor and the founding chair of OCAD U’s Indigenous Visual Culture program, spent part of her summer installing a new work, Battle for the Woodlands, at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The installation expands an early 19th century map of Upper and Lower Canada to reflect an Anishinaabe world view. 

Battle for the Woodlands will be on view at the AGO for a year, and is an extension of the AGO’s major temporary summer exhibition, Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes, which features work by leading modern and contemporary artists, including Norval Morrisseau, Michael Belmore, Daphne Odjig, OCAD U instructor Robert Houle, and others. Before and After the Horizon opened on July 30 and runs until November 25.

Before and After the Horizon is co-organized by the AGO and the National Museum of the American Indian. It’s a celebration of visual expressions of the spiritual and social dimensions of our relations with the earth, and at the same time challenges certain accepted accounts of history. 

Devine, whose work “Letter to William,” is part of the temporary exhibition, was talking with Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s curator for Canadian Art, about a historic map of upper and lower Canada and what it meant one day earlier this year when she came up with the idea to overlay an Anishinaabe vision over the map to show the four great lakes represented as spirit animals, as well as the important sites of conflict and contact between European and Anishinaabe people. 

Hunter saw the idea as an opportunity to both respond to and extend the ideas of the temporary exhibition through the rest of the gallery and spark conversations. As part of the installation process, Devine worked in the gallery during viewing hours so she could engage with viewers and answer questions. 

“Devine’s installation has accomplished a great deal, and at the same time resulted in endless intense and meaningful conversations with the public, guests and officials in the gallery,” said Hunter. “The goal for us with projects like this to create a deep engagement, not only between the AGO and OCAD U, but also with this place and the land — the deep human history and our part of our community. It challenges the institution to learn, change and grow.”

 

Learn more

Before and After the Horizon 

Bonnie Devine image timeline 

Bonnie Devine faculty biography