Wabanaki Visual Arts exhibition on display now at the George Fry Gallery

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It started with a thought… features the work of students, alumni, and faculty from NBCCD’s Wabanaki Visual Arts program.

New Brunswick College of Craft & Design is a local treasure and home to the Wabanaki Visual Arts program, the country’s only post-secondary program of its kind. This two-year diploma program focuses on traditional craft mediums of the Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Abenaki peoples.

In the Wabanaki First Nations oral tradition, the world was created with a single thought from a mystical being, demonstrating that every being and object is interconnected and even the smallest ideas matter. Delving into this concept, It started with a thought…,the latest exhibition at the George Fry Gallery, brings together work by students, alumni, and faculty of the Wabanaki Visual Arts program and features beadwork, wood, wampum, painting, photography, and quillwork. 

“The core teaching of this story is that we are connected to all living and nonliving things and beings,” said Emma Hassencahl-Perley, the exhibit curator and one of the featured artists. “The Creation Story is told over many days because everything in the universe must be considered. The stars are formed, followed by the planets, water, rocks, trees, insects, and eventually, us. Creation is a constellation of sequential thought wherein the smallest ideas matter.” 

Judie Acquin, the Wabanaki Visual Arts Studio Head, says the exhibit’s work is a  demonstration of the connection each participant has to their understanding of who they are. “Their processes are mindful and reflective while maintaining their own aesthetic,” said Acquin.

The exhibit features work by Judie Acquin, Lisa-Maude Aubin-Berube, Emma  Hassencahl-Perley, Emily Johnson, Rob Johnston, Timothy ‘Bjorn’ Jones, Natasha Sacobie, and Spasaqsit Possesom (Ron Tremblay, Wolastoq Traditional Grand Chief and NBCCD Elder-in-Residence). 

It started with a thought…runs until March 28 at the George Fry Gallery. 

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