Telling Stories: Narratives of Nationhood

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Questions of Canada: Politics of Culture and Community

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Jane Ash Poitras
Those who share...
About the Artist and the Work  |   Looking at the Art  |   Artistic and Cultural Heritage
image of artwork
Jane Ash Poitras, Those who share together, stay together, 1997. Mixed media on canvas. 365.7 x 426.7 cm. Collection of CCAG.

In the mural, Poitras creates a visual map of Canada, moving from the West Coast to the East Coast through layers of symbols, times, words, drawings, and found materials. She uses collage techniques in the composition of the mural: She includes pieces from a variety of sources - photographs, drawings, newspaper columns, school notebooks, letters, and words - and attaches them to the canvas. Over the collage, she has drawn new images, recording native designs and the names of First Nations communities.

Poitras' mural is composed of five horizontal bands, each dealing with a different aspect of the diversity and complexity of the country. In the top band are twelve First Nations in provincial crests; in the second is her painting of the Canadian landscape from coast to coast; in the third is a "Cave Wall of Canada" - showing "your histories and your neighbours' histories" - images of Canada's past and present life; in the fourth is a journey through the First Nations through photographs; and in the bottom band, the artist uses the distinctive stripes of a Hudson's Bay Company blanket to offer a link between communities, under the protective and unifying symbol of the maple leaf.