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David Garneau
courtesy of the artist
747 Rue du Square-Victoria, Montréal, QC H2Y 3Y9


David Garneau, Métis (Indigenous), is a professor of visual arts at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan. His practice includes painting, curating and critical writing. He recently curated Kahwatsiretátie: La Biennale d’art autochtone contemporain (Montreal), with the assistance of Faye Mullen and rudi aker. He also co-curated, along with Kathleen Ash Milby, Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound, at the National Museum of the American Indian, in New York; With Secrecy and Despatch, with Tess Allas, for the Campbelltown Art Centre, Sydney, Australia, and Moving Forward, Never Forgetting, with Michelle LaVallée, at the Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina.

Approach and works on display

Partly because of his Métis ancestry, the artist’s animist heritage resurfaces in surprising ways in his work. In his latest series, the artist is fascinated by roadkills. His work thus begins with a questioning of the complexity of their ontological status. What are they, useless waste, abject bodies? In any case, these lusterless dead open on multiple meanings. If the sight of an animal killed on the road generally arouses repulsion, some people also feel sympathy, or even a deeper empathy. However, what it evokes for the artist, is the recollection of a self on the road, following an accident, as well as a witnessed self. For the artist, “anthropomorphism” is too weak of a term to describe the emotional bond that is established between the artist and the animal. He seeks to capture this link that, according to the indigenous cosmogonies, unites all living beings together.

Deer, Lost, Entrancing Birds, Another Mystery (2006)

Through these paintings, David Garneau introduces us to his universe. He oscillates at the crossroads of the worlds. David confesses to often being moved to tears by the ruined birds and deer, or animals shredded by tires or broken by bumpers. These tears speak of the animistic legacies of his Native cosmogony, which does not separate him from the animal world.

Works by the artist

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