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Mary Longman

My name is Mary Longman and my aboriginal name is Ask-Pigesiwiskwew, given to me by my Great Grandmother. I am a member of Gordon Band located near Puunichy, Saskatchewan and my ancestry is Saulteaux.

My education has primarily focused in the Visual Arts, though I also have had extensive training in Art Education and Art History. I am a graduate from the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design in Vancouver. I have a Master's degree in Fine Art from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, which includes an additional year of study in Art Education.

Currently I am a Ph.D. candidate in Art Education at the University of Victoria, specializing in Contemporary First Nations Art. My central profession is my art work, which I have been exhibiting consistently for the past ten years. Some of the galleries that I have exhibited my work are the National Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Museum of Civilization, and the London Regional Art Gallery.

My work is diverse in media and dimension, depending on what the subject matter may call for. Currently I have been focusing on sculpture and installation with materials that range from natural found objects to cast works in concrete, metal, paper and bones. The subject matter in my work is always evolving as I evolve, though one common strand exists through it all --that which stems from a First Nations' Perspective. In the past I have created works revolving around current issues in politics and academia. Over the last few years, my focus has come full circle back to myself and my experiences and interactions within my surroundings. The process of returning to the intimately familiar led to a deep exploration of being, place, and time.

Connecting the conscious with the unconscious, the physical with the "Manitou", and the past with the present. This holistic exploration provided the link to my Aboriginal identity which was always present instinctually, yet suppressed by external influences, and is now the direction of my new work.

Ultimately I strive to achieve a balance between aesthetics and content in order to arrive at a combination of enticing formal qualities which emanate a strong presence and provoke an exploration by the viewer. Because it is important that my work be accessible to people in all walks of life, I try to consider not only the cognitive, but also the physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects of creating art.

Mary Longman

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