Penticton Art Gallery hosting digital art exhibit by Buffy Sainte-Marie

A pioneer of digital art

The Penticton Art Gallery will soon be showcasing the works of an Indigenous legend this summer in a digital media exhibition.

Buffy Sainte-Marie is an Indigenous Canadian-American singer-songwriter, musician, Oscar-winning composer, visual artist, and social activist. Her team approached the art gallery for a show after seeing the success of the Bob Ross show that ran last summer.

“They were interested to know just how that sort of came about and then Paul was talking to them about Buffy. And that just sort of snowballed into this exhibition,” McKaila Ferguson, collections and communications manager for the Penticton Art Gallery said.

“So there's a lot of discussion still happening about some of these things. But essentially, we're getting 17 of her digital artworks and in the exhibition will also be a fair bit of memorabilia.”

Ferguson explained that digital artwork is created on computers, where artists use different applications to take photos of something and then manipulate the image, or start from scratch completely to create the piece, which is then printed on to paper or onto canvas.

“We're really excited to be showing her artwork...All the pieces are huge, they're larger than life.”

The gallery also plans to paint the exhibition walls a dark colour to make the pieces pop.

“A lot of her art is inspired by her activism and her music, so she'll be hand writing some lyrics to her songs as well, which will be included in the exhibition,” Ferguson explained.

“Hopefully, we can do some digital or in person programming with Buffy, at the end of the exhibition. But of course it's all COVID dependent. It's really hard to plan this year, so we'll see what happens at that. But we're really excited to be showcasing some of her artwork and letting people know that among the many, many things she does, she is also a very talented artist.”

The exhibit will also include pieces that discuss residential schools.

“A large part of our mandate is to be working with local Indigenous people and to be promoting Indigenous artwork,” Ferguson said.

“We try to bring bigger national issues around Indigenous topics to Penticton for discussion. In the summer we often have exhibitions, with sort of not really a heavier theme, but they get you thinking about something.”

Limited edition prints of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s visual work reside in permanent collections in the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, First Nations University, and the Tucson Art Museum, and have been exhibited at the Glenbow Museum, the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Isaacs Gallery, the Walter Phillips Gallery, the Gallery for Contemporary and Indigenous Art (Tuscon), The Winnipeg Art Gallery and Gurevich Fine Art (Winnipeg), and private collections throughout North America.

The exhibit titled, A Survey of Works by a Pioneer of Digital Art: Buffy Sainte-Marie, will run from July 3 to Sept. 11 in the main gallery.

The gallery will be open seven days a week, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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