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MSVU Collection

¤ Sarain Stump

Date of Work
¤ No Date

Accession Year
¤ 1974

Accession Number
¤ 1974.20.1

¤ On display

¤ Drawing

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Sarain Stump: Indian Symbols

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Sarain Stump
(b. 1945 Italy; d. 1974 New Mexico)

Indian Symbols n.d
felt tipped pen on paper
36.8 x 43.7 cm
Purchased, 1974
Mount Saint Vincent University Collection

In the year before his death, Cree and Shoshone artist Sarain Stump visited MSVU Art Gallery to give a talk on traditional aboriginal symbolism and mythology, which he illustrated with a series of informal drawings, including this work. Stump, who worked in Saskatoon, was a respected artist, poet and educator who encouraged pride and awareness of Aboriginal art among Aboriginal people, especially children. He was widely recognized for the inspiration he brought to cultural education during his brief life.

The son of an Italian woman and a Native man stationed in Italy during the Second World War, Stump grew up in the Shoshone Reservation in Wyoming, and eventually moved to Saskatchewan. Despite having little formal education, and no art training, Stump was instrumental in creating the Indian Art Program at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College in Regina. His guidance and involvement influenced future artists and Aboriginal youth at the college, helping them to explore the “the multi-layered relationships among culture, ritual, art and the environment” (Lee-Ann Martin, “Edward Poitras: Being in His Own Time” The Canada Council for the Arts 2002 Laureates).

Stump published a book of his own poetry, entitled There Is My People Sleeping, illustrating every line of the text. His lyrical line drawings make use of symbol-based imagery, and speak to the history of illustration, mark-making and record-keeping in his own and other native communities.


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