The Square Dancers. Kenneth Lavallee, Painted steel, 2018.

STAGES Speaker Series 2019 | Artist Talk with Kenneth Lavallee (Canada)

When: Thursday, May 30, 2019 | 7pm

Where: off-site location, Studio 393, 393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB.  (Portage Place skywalk between The Bay and Staples)

We were pleased to present this awaited artist talk by Winnipeg-based artist Kenneth Lavallee, who spoke as part of the STAGES Speaker Series in anticipation of his temporary public artwork for the STAGES biennial in 2019.

Lavallee’s refined aesthetic and cultural influence can be seen through out the cityscape of Winnipeg. His bold colours and sharp graphic patterns permeate the city with an intent to make visible metis and indigenous visual languages from the traditional plains eight point Star Blanket to the Metis jig. These traditional forms of communication and community engagement take on a new visual life through out Winnipeg, but retain, in Lavallee’s care, a sentiment that leads to their original use and value as expressions of care and sharing.

For STAGES, Lavallee worked with Winnipeg’s sky walk-ways, using the windows as a site to apply a vivid pattern of graphic forms. Light was a key element in this new artwork transferring colour from surface to ground.

*With its conception in 2017, STAGES biennial set out to activate the city of Winnipeg with temporary public sculpture, installation and performances by international and local artists. STAGES biennial 2019 launched on August 16. The Speaker Series was a means of initiating and connecting the artists with local audiences, and introducing visiting artists to Winnipeg.

Kenneth Lavallee is of Metis descent, living and working on Treaty 1 territory and birthplace of the Metis Nation. He attended the University of Manitoba, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2008. In 2018 he produced The Square Dancers a permanent public artwork as part of the Winnipeg Art Council’s Indigenous Artist’s Project at Air Canada Park in Winnipeg; he also installed his fifth iteration of The Star Blanket mural project on the exterior of the Helen Betty Osborne Building at the University of Winnipeg. Recently, Lavallee presented Man and Nature a solo show at the Kelowna Art Gallery and participated in the group exhibition Insurgence/Resurgence at the Winnipeg Art Gallery for which his five-story piece, Creation Story, was hung over the exterior façade of the WAG for 8 months in 2017. Kenneth is currently working on a large-scale public art project in Toronto, dedicated to a local Indigenous Elder, Dr. Lillian McGregor.

Special thanks to Studio 393 for lending us their space for Kenneth Lavallee’s talk.

Presenting Sponsor for Stages Speaker Series & STAGES 2019 was The Winnipeg Foundation, with the generous donation of our Featured Artist Sponsor: Mike Nesbitt; our Major Sponsors: Daniel Friedman & Rob Dalgliesh; our Engaging Sponsors Susan Glass & Arni Thorsteinson; DIALOG design; and BLDG architecture; our Supporting Sponsors The French Embassy in Toronto and Downtown BIZ, Winnipeg; and our numerous Contributing Sponsors: Gary Ursell, Assiniboine Credit Union, and KMPG LLP.

Stages Biennial could not have been presented without the support of our Community Partners: Alt Hotel, Alliance Française, MB, Graffiti Gallery/ Studio 393; Winnipeg Tourism, Trotzdem Inc, the Winnipeg Art Gallery; and Leon A. Brown Ltd.