85.11.16 – Dewdney Avenue Project

2008-dewdney-avenue-project.jpg

Part of the Dewdney Avenue Project in Regina, artist Terrance Houle picked five sites along the avenue and constructed miniature re-enactments of significant aboriginal events in the city. Houle used “HO-scale figures, painted to look like Riel, RCMP officers, modern day Indians, and wild buffalo. He set up the figures in front of a site, photographed the scene and then left the miniature open-air dioramas behind, to be found by passersby”.

This piece, a tiny Riel standing at the Land Claims building, the spot were Riel was hung for treason, is named 85.11.16 (the date of the Metis leader’s death). It quietly sparks the viewer to imagine and question the land they are standing on and the piece of history that it occupies.

Perhaps Riel was a visionary when he said at his trial, “My people will sleep for 100 years, and when they awake it will be the artists who give them back their spirit”.

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