My husband and I attended the Remai Modern Curator Tour of the recently opened Adrian Stimson retrospective exhibit, Maanipokaa'iini (newborn bison).

It was a powerful experience connecting past and present wrongs, and a way forward powered by compassion, humour, and relationship to the land and one another. As a present-day artist, Stimson and his exhibition connects us to past injustices, present reconciliation efforts, the return of the buffalo to Wanuskewin, unearthing of ribcage petroglyphs, the tool used to carve them, the artist that used that tool, and a meaning making that signals a renewal of the land and the relationships of us all.

Stimson was artist in residence at Wanuskewin when a buffalo calf was born within the newly established herd. You can read more on the prophecy of the return of the buffalo, and how the buffalo hooves unearthed these thousand year old petroglyphs by clicking on the link to the full article in Smithsonian Magazine.

Tarah Hogue, Curator of Indigenous Art shared the newly formed memoradom of agreement between Wanuskewin and the Remai Modern as well as her perspective on Stimson's art, the historical significance of 20 years of his artistic expression in painting, writing, performance art, and installations, and its connection to the unfolding of the reality of our lives today.

Her thoughtful and fascinating talk gave me insight into the potential power of art to heal. 

Just as this Remai Exhibition opened, the Pope gave his first public apology on behalf of the Catholic Church for the atrocities of the residential school system in Canada. How will the Catholic Church now make reparation for such horrendous harms inflicted by it's representatives? 

For the installation entitled "The Residential School Works" as part of Maanipokaa'iini Adrian Stimson writes:

I do not believe that art in itself is healing, meaning art image or object. I do believe that the process of creating art has the potential to heal. ...In turn, the art image or object I make is a trigger for viewers who want to delve into their own issues. It is not a healer in itself, yet is has the potential to reorganize the mind.

At Broadway Health Collective we have the BHC Gallery, The Healing Power of Art. This space showcases Saskatchewan artists in a public space open to clients that come for treatments in support of their health and wellness. Our intent is to provide a space for our clients to pause, breath, reflect and connect.

I would agree with Stimson that art in and of itself is not healing. Art's potential to heal comes from offering a way to connect, strengthening relationships with one another. It begins when we interact with the art; view it, reflect on it's meaning, our relationship to it, and to the broader community. It is the catalyst that powers the presence and mindfulness that leads to compassion, reorganizing of the mind, and healing if we choose that path. For me this is the Healing Power of Art.

And in Maanipokaa'iini, there is great power. Go feel it for yourself this spring and summer at the Remai Modern, until September 5th. 

Paul Buffel