We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. Read more…

13 Moons: Bonnie Devine in conversation with Patrick DeCoste

Thames Art Gallery
Event organized by Thames Art Gallery

Get Directions

#var:page_name# cover

Join us for an in conversation event between senior Anishinaabe artist/educator Bonnie Devine and exhibiting artist Patrick DeCoste who will discuss themes and ideas in DeCoste's exhibition, "13 Moons and a Canoe." Organized and curated by John B. Aird Gallery director Carla Garnet, the exhibition and the dialogue it fosters is offered in the spirit of advancing ongoing conversations about Canadian identity, and how we might take responsibility for our past, present and future. Bonnie Devine and Patrick DeCoste first met at OCADU where she was his teacher and advisor during his graduate thesis exploring Metis identity.

The installation pairs a canoe, retrofitted with a mast and sail, with a circular room of canvas walls – each painted with a large, colourful moon strung across poles hewn from forest trees. This room-within-a-room evokes a blend of environmental, cultural, and personal influences. It is, on the one hand, a monument to the Indigenous lunar calendar, and, on the other hand, a kind of family portrait; the twelve walls represent DeCoste and his eleven siblings. The modified canoe reveals the thirteenth moon on its sail, representing the baby who did not survive, the thirteenth child.

Bonnie Devine writes: "...despite its make shift appearance, DeCoste’s house made of Moon offers a subtle but unmistakeable impression of renewal and vigour, derived from and modelled on the Moon’s apparent cyclical regenerative power to revive, reconstitute, and rebirth herself as she circles through her phases."

The work conjures up the genesis of the Métis people in seventeenth-century Nova Scotia, where DeCoste’s family has its roots. Themes of journeys, maps, meetings, and cultural exchange resonate through paintings on polar bear, spirit bear, and other animal skins, along with portraits, drawings and other studio objects. Together, this work is not so much a critique of colonialism, as an attempt to grapple with the forces of history, culture, family, and identity.


Patrick DeCoste is an award-winning Toronto-based visual artist who studied fine arts at Mount Allison University and OCAD University, where he received the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies in 2014. He has exhibited extensively in Toronto, as well as New York City and beyond. The Globe and Mail calls him ‘a young old master’ and Los Angeles writer Chris Kraus in C-Magazine describes his painting as ‘heroic and musty, strange and disturbing’. DeCoste has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council, and was awarded a prestigious Chalmers Arts Fellowship in 2011. His recent exhibitions include solo exhibitions at Galerie Youn, Montreal 2014; Station Gallery, Whitby 2015. When not in the city of Toronto, Patrick spends time at his studio on Georgian Bay, near Lafontaine, canoeing with his dog Luca, and making art in the forest.

Bonnie Devine is an installation artist, curator, writer, and educator, and a member of the Serpent River First Nation of Northern Ontario (Anishinaabe/Ojibwa). Professor Devine has taught studio and liberal arts courses at York University, Queen’s University, and the Centre for Indigenous Theatre. She has been a full-time instructor at OCAD University in the Faculty of Art, the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies since 2008. In her role as the Founding Chair of OCADU’s Indigenous Visual Culture program, Devine has developed curriculum, taught classes, built ancillary programming, and developed student services to support OCADU’s growing population of Aboriginal students and provide a critical Indigenous perspective within the art and design academy.

As an independent curator Devine has worked with emerging and established Aboriginal artists since 1997. From 2005 until 2007 she curated and organized “The Drawings and Paintings of Daphne Odjig: A Retrospective Exhibition” in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Sudbury and the National Gallery of Canada. The Odjig retrospective, which was the first solo exhibition by a female Aboriginal artist at the National Gallery, opened in Sudbury in 2007 and toured Canada and the USA until 2010. The catalogue for this exhibition was the first publication by the National Gallery in the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwa) language.

Devine holds fine art degrees in sculpture and installation from OCAD and York Universities. Her work has been recognized with numerous scholarships and awards, including an Eiteljorg Fellowship for Contemporary Native Art in 2011.

All welcome. Free Admission.