Cultural Goods Gallery Presents Mohawk Warriors, Hunters & Chiefs/ The Art Of Tom Wilson Tehoháhake

Coming to Cultural Goods Gallery this February, Mohawk Warriors, Hunters & Chiefs will explore the personal story of Juno Award-winning singer, songwriter, musician and performer, Tom Wilson Tehoháhake. This specially organized exhibition presents a selection of works created between 2015 and 2024, and celebrates the launch of Mohawk Warriors, Hunters & Chiefs, a ground-breaking bilingual book that explores the paintings and iconography of Tom Wilson. In his early fifties, Tehoháhake accidentally discovered that he was adopted and that he was Mohawk from Kahnawake.

“There’s blood memory that happened in my art. I’ve been painting really simple images since 1997. Even with a lack of identity, I was still expressing myself as an Indigenous artist, or as a Mohawk. And sure enough, now that I know that I’m a Mohawk, that sense of identity that I was lacking is now coming completely into focus in the work that I do,” says Tom Wilson Tehoháhake.

The exhibition organized by esteemed curator David Liss, will highlight Tehoháhake’s unbelievable journey of family secrets, personal identity and resolution. The art works consist of faces and masks vaguely resembling those of certain Indigenous cultures or perhaps beings from some other realm. They look at once ancient and futuristic. These are the warriors, hunters, chiefs, tricksters and shamans; the characters and figures that embody myths and legends of the past and the future; the stories that connect Tehoháhake to his culture and his place in the universe.

On view Friday, February 2 through February, Feb. 17, Mohawk Warriors, Hunters & Chiefs features a free public book launch and artist talk on Saturday February 3, 2024 from 2pm-5pm. The art book, published by Goose Lane Editions in both English and Mohawk, showcases over 35 full-colour images of Tom Wilson Tehoháhake’s work. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, and guitars decorated with iconography inspired by beadwork. The art pieces also reflect on Tom’s upbringing in Hamilton, where he only had hints and dreams about his identity. The book includes an interview with Ryan McMahon on Tom’s artistic process, along with essays by Tom and curator David Liss, providing a comprehensive exploration of Tom Wilson Tehoháhake’s art and Mohawk identity.

Tom Wilson comes from a long storytelling tradition, and he has lived his life as a storyteller. The artwork featured in this exhibition is another chapter in his story.

Cultural Goods Gallery is located at 1444 Dupont St Unit 15, Toronto.

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