Jerry Evans: Weljesi

Display Date: 
May 27, 2023 – December 30, 2023
Level 4 Main Art Gallery

Guest Curator: Jenelle Duval

Weljesi marks the first major survey of Jerry Evans’ iconic prints, paintings, projections and video portraiture. One of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most significant and beloved visual artists, Evans has been dedicated to the preservation, reclamation and continued growth of Indigenous communities across this province for more than 30 years. His generosity of knowledge, deep respect for his heritage and community, and his constantly evolving, engaging contemporary practice are fundamental to the art history of this province and the rest of Canada.

Questioning the very format of the traditional retrospective, this exhibition is rooted in Indigenous concepts of cyclical time, storytelling and beauty. It reveals how Evans’ works are in constant movement, as they align with his expanding Indigenous worldviews and act as a focal point for life and community.

This exhibition is accompanied by a full-colour catalogue with essays by Jordan Bennett, Jenelle Duval and Dr. Pam Hall.

About the Curator

Jenelle Duval is a Mi'kmaw woman from Seal Rocks, NL, who currently lives and is working in St. John's as an advisor in media and content. She has been creating artistic spaces and opportunities for community members and art professionals since 2012. For almost a decade, she was the Artistic Director of the Spirit Song Festival, an annual celebration of Indigenous Arts and Culture in St. John's. A founding member of the ECMA-winning group Eastern Owl and a tireless advocate for the preservation and revitalization of cultural arts and music, Duval was honoured with the YWCA's Women of Distinction Award in 2019 for her work in Arts and Heritage. The same year, she was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award as Indigenous Songwriter of the Year. In 2020, she was awarded the annual Achievement Award from the Atlantic Presenters Association for her contribution to Indigenous arts presentations in Newfoundland and Labrador. A gifted songwriter, she is composing a series of works that embody a lands-based narrative through her interactions with territorial attachments and interpersonal relations. She is rooted in her home territory of Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland), where she shares her life with her amazing daughter Kassidy.

About the Artist

Jerry Evans is an artist of Mi’kmaw and settler heritage, born and raised in central Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland). He is one of this province’s most beloved and respected artists, working professionally for over 30 years. Known primarily as a painter and printmaker, he also works with film, design and traditional hand-poke tattooing to reach beyond Western ideologies. His practice is deeply rooted in his Mi’kmaw heritage, and his artistry comes alive in the creation of his own regalia for powwow dancing. He is committed to sharing and learning with communities all over Mi’kma’ki.

To learn more about Jerry Evans: 

Image: Detail of Migration Cycles (2002). Lithograph (14/20). Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Collection, The Rooms.