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Wutanminu - Our Community

Fogo Island ArtsWutanminu – Our Community features a new series of paintings by acclaimed Mi’kmaq artist Nelson White. This exhibition is a tribute to the strong networks of familial and relational ties within Indigenous communities. Nelson White’s vibrant portraits capture the profound significance of these community relationships and their essential role in fostering a sense of dignity and belonging. The exhibition celebrates storytelling through detailed studies of doctors, lawyers, musicians, and community leaders, all bound by the connective threads of Indigenous kinship.

Representation is paramount to White’s works. With each colourful canvas, he considers the complexity of representing someone both as they see themselves and how they are seen. The new collection serves as a poignant insertion of Indigenous histories into the historically Western art form of portrait painting, where Indigenous subjects have been marginalized, misrepresented,
or entirely absent. White’s practice is situated within a broader movement of contemporary artists who are working with figuration to redefine traditional portraiture today.

Wutanminu – Our Community draws inspiration from White’s family legacy of advocating for Indigenous rights in Newfoundland and Labrador. In 1949, during the province’s union with Canada, Indigenous peoples were not legally recognized in the area, excluding Indigenous communities from recognition and rights under the new provincial and federal governments. Since the 1970s, White’s father, Elder Calvin White, has been at the forefront of ensuring rights and recognition for the Newfoundland Mi’kmaq.

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