Jane Ash Poitras
Canadian, b. 1951
Shaman Never Die: Return to Your Ancestral Roots, 1989
oil, paper, plastic, silver print on canvas
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from The Winnipeg Art Gallery Foundation Inc.
Her belief in the value of Aboriginal spiritualism and traditional culture has strongly influenced the creative practice of Jane Ash Poitras. The inspiration for this triptych began as a reaction to a magazine article in which shamanism was described as dead. To make a statement that shamanism still exists, Poitras created this work, which also acknowledges the historical influence Roman Catholicism has had on Aboriginal culture. The panels that make up this work are reminiscent of school chalkboards, perhaps referencing residential schools. On the left, a prayer is written in Cree syllabics; the centre panel states in English “Preserve our Language and Culture;” and the right panel incorporates newspaper cuttings which speak to governmental and corporate domination over traditional Aboriginal lands.