September 25, 2009

Autopsy photo becomes art

Stonechild autopsy photo haunts Regina artistA Regina artist says he was compelled to create a portrait based on a disturbing autopsy photograph of Neil Stonechild, the young Saskatoon man who froze to death in 1990.

"It's ugly. It's sad. It's depressing," David Garneau said of the autopsy photo. "It was just this stark image. But I felt like I really needed to record that."

The autopsy photograph, a close-up of Stonechild's face, came from a website that was posting evidence gathered as a part of a judicial inquiry into the 17-year-old's death.

Stonechild was last seen in the custody of Saskatoon police. While no officers were directly linked to his death, the case gripped the province for years as the relationship between First Nations and police was closely scrutinized.

Garneau's large canvas replicates Stonechild's image with small red dots, which the artist likens to beadwork. Garneau is Metis.
Below:  "Regina artist David Garneau, beside his work 'Evidence' which is based on an autopsy photograph of Neil Stonechild." (CBC)

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