Edward Poitras | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Edward Poitras

Edward Poitras, painter, sculptor, photographer, performance artist (born at Regina, SK1953).

Edward Poitras, painter, sculptor, photographer, performance artist (born at Regina, Sask 1953). His studies include the 1974 Indian Art Program at the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College, Saskatoon, under the direction of Sarain Stump; participation in the 1976 art program at Manitou College, La Macaza, Québec, under Domingo Cisneros; and the receipt of an audio/visual technician's certificate from the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College. He also undertook studies at the University of Manitoba and Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (now First Nations University of Canada).

Poitras is noted for using organic materials as a vehicle for spiritual concepts in combination with the ideas and formal vocabulary of European art. His highly conceptual sculpture/installations are characterized by the combination of such varied and disparate elements as stone, weathered prairie bone, traditional beadwork and historical photos with transistor boards, electrical wires, audio tapes and plastics. The juxtaposition of seemingly incongruous elements from the past and present results in visually stimulating and intellectually challenging statements that combine inspired self-expression with a biting sociopolitical comment assessing the interrelationship of Indigenous and European culture.

Poitras's position as senior Canadian artist was underscored when he was selected to represent Canada at the 1995 Venice Biennale. Other exhibitions include Horses Fly Too, organized by the Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, in 1984; Indian Territory, organized by the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, in 1988; Canadian Biennial of Contemporary Art, organized by the National Gallery of Canada in 1989; Indingena, organized by the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 1992 and Borderzones organized by the UBC Museum of Anthropology. In 2002 he was the recipient of a Governor General's Visual and Media Arts Award.