A ‘gallery hop’ celebrating the work and life of the late Indigenous artist, John Laford, will open an art exhibition on September 9th and 10th, 2022 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The John Laford Celebration Of Life Exhibit will show at three venues, The Art Hub At Spring (504 Queen St. E.), The Sault Ste Marie Museum (690 Queen St. E.) and Rolling Pictures (498 Queen St. E.).
The inspiration for this exhibition came from Art Hub co-owner, Adrian Vilaca after meeting with Greg Horseford, a friend and avid collector of Laford’s works. With his passing, the idea came to celebrate his life and art. A meeting followed with Laford’s daughter, Lucia O’Connor, who embraced the idea and was inspired to create the mural, The Healing Lodge, that adorns the back of the Art Hub building. The idea is to show Laford’s works at multiple venues, thus creating a gallery hop, representing a path to truth and reconciliation through the arts and the spirit of cooperation.
Laford began his career began with his first one-man show in Sault Ste Marie in 1977. In 1989, he was the first indigenous artist to receive a Canada Council for the Arts grant. He has exhibited in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Vienna, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and the United States. Laford was a very cherished elder in the First Nations community as a pipe keeper, language keeper and ambassador artist. He was also influential in many Indigenous movements. Laford passed away on November 16, 2021, at the age of 67.
During the 3-week celebration that culminates on National Truth and Reconciliation Day, September 30th, various events will be held at the venues. Opening night will feature a world premiere of a John Laford documentary, produced by Rolling North.
The works include paintings on canvas, birch bark, stone, wood sculptures, and painted paddles on loan from private collections with some paintings will be available for sale. At the time of this press release more art is being lent to the John Laford Celebration Of Life Exhibit.
The gallery hop event will be held on September 9 and 10. Tickets for the event are $10 in advance. For more information contact (705) 542-2301 or email [email protected].
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