Resonance – Algoma University Alumni Exhibition


An  Exhibition by Graduates of Fine Arts, Algoma University
Curated by Tom O’Flanagan

December 11, 2013 – January 9, 2014
Closing Reception: January 9, 7 – 9 pm


Here we consider resonance in the sense of  a ” Richness or significance, especially in invoking an association or strong emotion”, together with a notion of an amplification of impulse through proximity and association. Resonance of that sort underlies the community which has arisen through our programme and its broader associations.


Given that the BFA has only been in existence for six years at Algoma University, there is nonetheless a great deal of history associated with it. Our first contingent of students was demographically mixed and exemplary in terms of collegiality, work ethic, and their inventiveness and creativity. That core group – which included first generation and Aboriginal students of Cree and Anishinaabe ancestry, established a climate for mixed media and experimentation that set the tone for subsequent generations of students, an initial wave of resonance which has persisted and strengthened over time. We are very proud of our students and of the quality and range of their work.


Algoma University is Ontario’s newest and smallest university and we are one of its newest and smallest departments, yet despite our numbers, we are constantly impressed, inspired and motivated by the quality of student work in this small program on the edge of Superior. We are equally impressed by what happens to our students following graduation. Unlike so many of the students we have worked with the in the larger centres, most of our grads do not fall into the abyss of doubt and uncertainty after graduation but rather take on art related employment, develop studio practices or initiate and maintain unique and imaginative businesses. Many of our First Nations students have found employment with their own bands while developing galleries and other cultural enterprises  which have contributed to the emergence of a greater sense of First Nations identity in the region.


Given that our department has just completed a seven year Self Study, we felt that an exhibition of the work of former students would offer up a celebration of our history and our people. We are also very pleased that this show is taking place concurrently with the  remarkable  “Children to Children” exhibition by our former students Shirley Horn, Shelly Fletcher and Zenith Lillie-Eakett. This synchronicity demonstrates a further association between our programme and the Shingwauk Residential  Schools Centre  and it’s Director Jonathan Dewar.


The exhibition is a telling indication of the manner in which out programme enables our students to discover their identities within a strong and supportive community which exists within the university and the city of Sault Ste Marie and its territory. We regret that we were not able to include the work of every one of our former students and we apologize for any oversights which may have occurred within the limited time frame in which the curatorial process took place.  However, we see this show as the opening phase of what we hope will become a regular event both here in the Soo and in the world beyond Superior.

Tom O’Flanagan

Image: Mike Bennardo, Primevera, detail, 2013