Jeff Thomas’ Indians on Tour

22 January – 6 April 2018
Hazel McCallion Campus B-Wing Gallery

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Jeff Thomas’ photography is a study of contemporary and historical Indigeneity. The five images in this exhibition were selected from his larger series, Indians on Tour, which presents ‘Indian’ toy figures at popular sites in North America and Europe. The toys were a gift to the photographer from Ali Kazimi, whose film, Shooting Indians: A Journey with Jeffrey Thomas, documents Thomas’ artistic journey as well as Kazimi’s own unlearning of his preconceptions about Indigenous peoples.

The plastic toys featured in Indians on Tour reference the Cowboys-and-Indians narrative that was common in travelling vaudeville performances of the Wild West, Hollywood classics and childhood games. By posing them in front of key landscapes and monuments, Thomas reframes these stereotypical figures as tourists in their own right, not a spectacle to behold. His playful and provocative juxtapositions expose stereotypes of Indigenous peoples and, at the same time, highlight issues that impact contemporary communities such as land ownership and territory, urbanization and gentrification and histories of Euro-American representation and display.

The Creative Campus Galleries and the Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support invite you to join us every Wednesday at noon for Lunch & Learn talks and screenings that explore contemporary Indigenous experiences as well as alliances across Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

For full program information, please click here.


Jeff Thomas is an urban-based Iroquois, self-taught photo-based artist, writer, pubic speaker, and curator, living in Ottawa, Ontario, and has works in major collections in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Jeff’s most recent solo shows were A Necessary Fiction: My Conversation with Edward S. Curtis & George Hunter, Art Gallery of Mississauga, The Dancing Grounds, Wanuskewin Heritage Park (Saskatoon), A Necessary Fiction: My Conversation with Nicholas de Grandmaison, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery (Lethbridge), and Resistance Is NOT Futile, Stephen Bulger Gallery (Toronto). Thomas has also been in many group shows, including The Family Camera, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989, Art Gallery of Ontario, Land/Slide: Possible Futures, Markham, Ontario, SAKAHÀN, National Gallery of Canada, UNMASKING: Arthur Renwick, Adrian Stimson, Jeff Thomas, Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, France. In 1998, he was awarded the Canada Council’s prestigious Duke and Duchess of York Award in Photography, inducted to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art, in 2008 he received The Karsh Award in photography, and in 2017 received a REVAL Indigenous Art Award.

Jeff Thomas will present an artist talk on Wednesday, April 4 at 12 noon at the HMC B-Wing Gallery.


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