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.

The theme of identity is everywhere in the art world today, but nowhere more so than among First Nations artists as they attempt to put together the pieces of who they are after over 500 years of political and cultural oppression. The artistic community has worked on representing the First Nations culture and heritage. Work such as Poitras' is important in this effort, putting forward ideas and images. It is an indication of how the First Nations community is now able to represent itself within the wider culture of Canada.

There are many varying opinions about how different communities can exist together within a federation like Canada. Poitras is optimistic about the possibility of communities existing in harmony within the country. The rising red maple leaf at the bottom of the work reinforces an image of Canadian Confederation that embraces cultural diversity, celebrates Canadians' connection to each other and to the land, and advocates for the healing of history's wounds by acknowledging the cultural reality and contribution of Canada's First Nations.