First Nations Artist Exhibit at Lawrence House in Sarnia

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An exhibition of works by artists from three local First Nations is running until June 24 at the Lawrence House Center for the Arts in Sarnia.

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An exhibition of works by artists from three local First Nations is running until June 24 at the Lawrence House Center for the Arts in Sarnia.

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Three Fires by the Water, which includes works by a dozen First Nations artists from Aamjiwnaang, Kettle and Stony Point, and Walpole Island, is an annual exhibit at the Christina Street Center.

“It went well,” said John Williams, an artist from Aamjiwnaang who helped organize the show which opened earlier this month.

In addition to Williams and her eight-year-old son Theo, performers on this year’s show include Teresa Altiman, Adele Altiman, Karen DeLeary, Jeff “Red” George, Moses Lunham, Nadine Riley, Wilma Simon, Lisa Soney, Ashinique Soney Wesaw and Jill Joseph.

The group exhibit by First Nations artists at Lawrence House is unique in the local community, Williams said.

“I don’t know of any other place that does that,” he said. “We’re pretty lucky to have this place here that’s willing to do that.”

The current Three Fires by the Water exhibit is the first since 2019 due to the pandemic, Williams said.

“It’s good to finally see him back,” he said.

There are approximately 35 pieces on display in the main gallery and turret room of Lawrence House.

“We are delighted to once again host this dynamic annual exhibition,” said Leonard Segall, chairman of the board of directors of Lawrence House and co-organizer of the exhibition.

“These nations are home to many talented and accomplished artists who create contemporary works that respect and reflect the traditions of their communities, interpreting them for a new generation.”

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Williams has described himself as always being “an artistic guy, even as a child”.

“I got into it young with crayons, crayons and crayons,” the artist said.

There were other artists in his family, including carvers and beadworkers, he said.

Williams attended high school at the former Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School in Sarnia and went on to study at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto.

Williams was commissioned to create a mural for the Aamjiwnaang Community Center which was unveiled in 2017, as part of a Great Art for the Great Lakes project, and also has paintings on display at the Rondeau Provincial Park Visitor Center and at the Sarnia Police Training Center.

pmorden@postmedia.com

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