Adrian Stimson painting depicting a buffalo in a snowy field.
Adrian Stimson, Manifest Buffalo: A Bison Dream Past 10, 2022, oil, graphite, charcoal on canvas, 72.4cm x 106.7cm. Collection of the University of Saskatchewan. Gift of the artist, 2023.

Award-winning Indigenous artist donates bison artwork to USask

Award-winning Siksika artist Adrian Stimson (MFA’06) is gifting artwork to the University of Saskatchewan (USask).

The artwork, entitled Manifest Buffalo: A Bison Dream Past 10, is being donated by Stimson to USask and stewarded by the University Art Galleries and Collection. The artwork depicts a bison standing in a winter landscape and is composed of oil, graphite, and charcoal on canvas.

The piece was inspired by the time Stimson spent in Saskatchewan while studying at USask. He graduated from the USask College of Arts and Science with a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2006.

“During my master’s at the University of Saskatchewan, I was inspired by trips to see the Plains Bison in Prince Albert National Park, as well as friends who had a herd,” Stimson wrote of his experience. “I started painting romanticized notions of bison on the plains, constructed landscapes, playing with form, in essence expressionism, playing with my emotional memory, the history of the slaughter as well as its resilience.”

Stimson is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation in southern Alberta. He is an interdisciplinary artist, educator and curator who works with many media, including painting, photography, installation, video, and performance. His artwork involves themes of displacement of animals, including bison, and historical memory and commemoration of war. He creates art with a lens of humour and counter-memory, or a socio-political context that re-signifies colonial history.

“We are elated to have work from Adrian in the USask Collection,” said jake moore, director of the University Art Galleries and Collections. “Not only is he one of our esteemed alumni, but his larger practice addresses key issues necessary to the resurgence of Indigenous peoples of these territories, and promotes increased understanding between the many distinct cultures here.”

Stimson was also one of three artists to create the Spirit of Alliance monument installation in 2014. The monument was donated to the City of Saskatoon by Whitecap Dakota First Nation, and is currently featured in River Landing in Saskatoon.

“We are honoured by Adrian Stimson’s donation of an early piece of his exemplary artwork—a reflection of his experiences in Saskatchewan—to the University Art Galleries and Collection,” said Peta Bonham-Smith, dean of the College of Arts and Science. “Adrian’s work is renowned across Canada and internationally for its visual impact.”

Stimson’s artwork is held in public and private collections, including The British Museum, London, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, and Remai Modern, Saskatoon.

His work has also been recognized with several awards over the years, including the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, the College of Arts and Science Alumni of Influence Award, the REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award from the Hnatyshyn Foundation, the Blackfoot Visual Arts Award, the Alberta Centennial Medal, and the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal.

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