Andy Trudeau focus of inaugural exhibition at Midland Cultural Centre Gallery of Indigenous Art

There’s a new spotlight shining on First Nations art in Midland.

The newly established (MCC) Gallery of Indigenous Art will be located in the Atrium Gallery, a space formerly utilized by Quest Art School and Gallery on the first floor of the King Street facility.   

With programming and oversight by a committee featuring a majority Indigenous membership, the MCC will operate the gallery focusing on work by artists and artisans of Beausoleil First Nation and members of the Georgian Bay Métis community. The space will also show works by the broader community of Canadian Indigenous artists and artisans.

The inaugural exhibition will be “Andy Trudeau 1924-2013, The Drawings.”

Trudeau grew up on a homestead his family built on Spider Bay in the mid-1920s. The family is part of the historic Georgian Bay Métis community.

When Trudeau was 87 years old and living in Hillcrest Village Care Centre in Midland, he was trying to explain what a scoot was to a fellow resident. He asked his daughter Jo-Anne to bring him a pencil and paper so he could draw one.

After this first pencil drawing, Trudeau became an artist, drawing daily with graphite pencil on loose paper, and later with coloured pencils in a sketchbook. By the time of his passing two years later, he had created a group of drawings that documented the scoots and boats he built, as well as the animals, birds and fish he trapped and caught in his long life on the outer islands of Georgian Bay.

These drawings are full of precise information about their subjects, even though Trudeau paid little attention to the conventions of perspective. Taken together, these drawings document a life lived on the remote and hard-to-access islands of Georgian Bay.

“Andy Trudeau 1924-2013, The Drawings” will open as a virtual exhibition on the MCC website Sept. 17, and will be open to the public when the MCC reopens to the public later this fall.