Jessie Oonark, Untitled, around 1970, wool felt and cotton thread. Gift of Guardian Capital Group Limited, 2020. Public Trustee for Nunavut, Estate of Jessie Oonark
We are thrilled to announce that Guardian Capital Group Limited has donated its Indigenous art collection to Agnes. Recognizing Agnes and Queen’s commitment to working alongside Indigenous communities and fostering Indigenous-led access to collections, Guardian Capital Indigenous Art Fund has been established to support ongoing research and engagement with this collection. The Guardian Capital Indigenous Art Collection is a coherent body of works of significant cultural value. On multiple levels, the collection allows for the research and interpretation of Indigenous works of art from Turtle Island and into the North, as well as an understanding of how a corporate collection, one with a focus on Indigenous art, is shaped.
There are sixty-four works in total from over ten different communities. These works constitute an important and nuanced record of the emergence and recognition of contemporary Indigenous art in the 1970s. “The collection has extraordinary depth in appliqued and woven wall hangings from Pangnirtung, Qamanittuaq (Baker Lake) and Kangiqtiniq (Rankin Inlet), including a complex work by Jessie Oonark in vibrant tri-colour,” says Alicia Boutilier, Chief Curator. “Among important paintings is an early Alex Janvier of swirling abstract form, and several by Norval Morrisseau, such as his self-portrait as Jesus Christ with two medicine bags and Midewiwin shamanic hood, his Sacred Medicine Bear widely produced in print and a portrait of his daughter.”
A leader in art philanthropy and corporate collecting, Hunter Thompson assembled the collection of artistic treasures on behalf of Guardian, during his years as a senior executive with the company. In parallel to the Guardian Capital Indigenous Art Collection, Hunter and Valerie Greenfield Thompson have generously donated works of art from their own collection to Agnes. Both collections augments Agnes’s representation of Indigenous art and will form careful study and presentation with Indigenous scholars.