Located at 203-290 McDermot Ave. in the Exchange District, The Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery is an artist-run centre focused on cultivating Aboriginal art.
This second floor art gallery is a very open and inviting space. It is comprised of three galleries, the Main Gallery, the Marvin Francis Media Gallery and the Artist New Dimension Gallery.
The main gallery features nice high ceilings, bright white walls and hard wood flooring. At the moment, it features Winnipeg artist Lita Fontaine. Her newest work Sanksannica, the Dakota word for dress, features pieces using mixed media, photography and collage techniques using buttons, fabrics and other materials.
The Marvin Francis Media Gallery features Ontario artist Ariel Smith’s 2010 work Little girl/Ugly girl/Not bad/Just evil Girl.
Smith is an award-winning filmmaker and media artist currently based in Ottawa. Her work is self-described as “darkly humorous, disturbing, visceral, and unapologetically feminist.”
Little girl/Ugly girl/Not bad/Just evil Girl is a video installation that portrays the often-terrifying reality of growing up female.
Upon entering the Marvin Francis Media Gallery, you notice in the centre of this dark room with painted-black walls is a little girl’s canopy-style bed with a set of headphones placed on top of the pillows. A video is being projected on the underside of the canopy, making the room glow an eerie-red.
“I wanted to create a very tongue-in-cheek piece that explored society’s fear and hatred of women through the horrific visceral experience of a young girl being pulled kicking and screaming into a monstrous womanhood,” said Smith.
Her work is often inspired by what she sees as “everyday horrors” of being a girl.
“As an artist I am compelled to investigate themes of feminine monstrosity, transgression, the abject, horror, misogyny and social constructions of gender,” said Smith.
Smith’s Little girl/Ugly girl/Not bad/Just evil Girl will be on display at the Exchange District gallery until Oct. 19, and admission is free.