Between Two Worlds
July 16 - September 13, 2015
For Chippewa artist Christin Dennis, art is a means of expressing his deep interconnection with “the spirit of all that exists”. An artist as well as a spiritual healer, Dennis calls attention to the values of traditional teachings and spiritual growth. He cites the work of acclaimed First Nation artists Norval Morrisseau and Carl Beam as early and formative inspirations in his artistic career.
Between Two Worlds celebrates traditional elements of the Chippewa (Ojibwe) culture and draws inspiration from the stories and symbolic images the Ojibwe Peoples recorded and inscribed on birch bark rolls to preserve their cultural beliefs from generation to generation. Christin Dennis’ art is, in a way, an attempt to continue this practice with contemporary means. Using a mixed media approach in his art practice, Dennis blends traditional forms of artistic expression such as watercolour and drawing with photography and digital montage to tell the story of his heritage. A pervasive image in his work is a series of four circles, or a circle divided into four quadrants as in representations of the Medicine Wheel. The four sections being red, yellow, white and black - four ritual colors that signify the four directions, four seasons, four quarters of the moon, four parts of the day, four cycles of life. Dennis believes that “by understanding and embracing our ancestral past, we can use those teachings to preserve a way of life, document its core value, and build a vision for our future.”
Christin Dennis spent his early childhood on the Chippewa (Ojibwe) First Nation reserve at Sarnia. At the age of six he was adopted by a non-Native family but continued to maintain his indigenous traditions and practices. Dennis majored in fine art at Georgian College in Owen Sound. He currently lives in Listowel where he runs a professional photo studio and creates his art.