The Work of the Week for April 2 - 9, 2018 features two artworks by George Littlechild:
- What Could Have Been
- What Was
The AFA collection lent both of these works to be included in the exhibition The Art of Truth and Reconciliation at Gallery@501 in Sherwood Park. The exhibition ran from March 9 until April 29, 2019.
These works are focused on the artist’s mother and reference her experience at the Residential School in Maskwacis (formerly Hobbema).
In the words of the artist:
What Could Have Been – “The statement below the piece says it all …”Mother Rachel Littlechild, age 18, 1947. Clothed in traditional attire she would have worn had she not attended Indian residential school”….”Had Mother not attended residential school, she may not have died so tragically and young, and her five children would not have been raised in foster care of adopted”
What Was - “My mother was born Ragene Rachel Littlechild, but she used her middle name, Rachel. Here she is in 1947 at age 18, two years after graduating from the Ermineskin Indian Residential School in Hobbema. She arrived at the school at the age of nine and spent eight years there. This affected all aspects of her life, mostly in negative ways: loss of culture, disconnection from her family and poor self esteem.
Both of these works were recently acquired by the AFA, sourced through the Art Gallery of Alberta Travelling Exhibition, Wayfinders. This exhibition, supported by the AFA TREX program, featured three Indigenous artists: George Littlechild, Amy Malbeuf, and Paul Smith.
For more information on the artist please visit the AFA Virtual Museum.