Work of the Week: Gathering Medicine

Date: Nov 28, 2017

The artist comments on the artwork:

This painting is the result of a dream vision. I had to marry my love of science with my love or art. It is one of the first pieces in a series that acted as a catalyst in the evolution of “Consecrated Medicine”, a major touring exhibition inspired by ethnobotany. I grew up being taught about the healing properties of medicinal plants. The central image is of an Elder gathering sacred herbs. It is a tribute to the preservation of the ancient knowledge of the healing powers of our Indigenous plants and herbs.

Artist Jane Ash Poitras was born in the northern Alberta Cree community of Fort Chipewyan in 1951. She studied at the University of Alberta, first receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and later a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking at Columbia University New York in 1985.

Since then Poitras has built an international reputation as a mixed media artist, philosopher, writer and lecturer. She works in a variety of media including painting and mixed media collage that incorporate historical and contemporary symbols, newspaper clippings and painted elements.

She has stated that, “Only through spiritual renewal can we find out who we really are, be empowered to achieve our potential and acquire the wisdom to eliminate the influences that bring tragedy upon us and destroy us.”

Jane Ash Poitras has a growing list of acknowledgements and awards and was the recent recipient of the Order of Canada (2017) for “her contributions to the Canada’s artistic landscape as an influential First Nations visual artist”.

This artwork was on display in the exhibition This Art Makes Me Feel… at McMullen Gallery at the University of Alberta Hospital. The exhibition of 21 AFA artworks celebrated the 30th anniversary of the McMullen Gallery and focused on the theme of Art and Health Care.