Robert Houle [B.A. (Art History) 1972]

Robert Houle

Sandy Bay First Nation
Renowned artist, curator, critic and educator
Mr. Houle will be given an honorary degree from the University of Manitoba on June 4, at the 135th annual Spring Convocation

What inspires you?
As a practicing visual artist for the last forty years, I've often been inspired by our history. As first peoples of this country we have a long presence on this land and it is this antiquity that inspired Paris/Ojibwa (2010), a multi-media installation. This work honours a Mississauga dance troupe, pre-powwow, who ventured to Europe and performed before Kings and Queens between 1843-1848. The leader of the troupe, Maungwudaus, wrote and self-published an account of their travels in 1848 recording a running commentary of those they met and the places they visited.

What is your advice to current Indigenous university students and the 2014 Indigenous graduates of the University of Manitoba?
I think it is important for us, despite great odds, to celebrate our history and culture and not be afraid to explore the world meeting other indigenous peoples and sharing our stories.

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"Paris/Ojibwa" 2010, installation view, Art Gallery of Peterborough 2011, multi-media installation from the exhibition catalogue of the same name.
Photo-credit: Michael Cullen, Trent Photographics