April 04, 2010

Ojibwa inspired Parisian artists

Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris

An Installation by Robert Houle
14 April–10 September 2010
The Canadian Cultural Centre presents an installation by Robert Houle which travels back in time to 1845 in Paris. Paris/Ojibwa evokes an exotic contact with the Ojibwa which impressed the Parisian imagination in the 19th century and inspired painters and poets, among them Delacroix and Baudelaire. The installation was conceived in 2006 during the artist's residency at La Cité des Arts in Paris. The work is a homage as well as a reflection on the theme of disappearance. The title of the work alludes to contact between Parisians and a group of indigenous people from Canada guided by a remarkable man, Maungwudaus ("a Great Hero"). "From April to December of 1845, Parisians saw authentic Ojibwa on the streets as performers and always as a curiosity. These Ojibwa, who were also called Mississauga or Chippewa, came from what was then known as Canada West. At the behest of painter George Catlin, Maungwudaus and his family and companions had left London to replace the Iowa, another aboriginal tribe, in the tableaux vivants that complemented the display of Catlin's paintings in Paris. The Ojibwa entertained king Louis-Philippe and queen Amélie at Saint Cloud.Comment:  For more on Indians in Europe, see Heartsong Lectures and Concert.

Below:  Robert Houle. (Michael Cullen)

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