Rene Meshake’s Exhibit, entitled Songide’ewin: Ojibwe Narratives Art Exhibit, will be the last Laurier Yellow Brick Wall exhibit of the season and will run until April 15, 2015. The Laurier Yellow Brick Wall is located at the Wilfrid Laurier University Brantford Campus.
SONGIDE'EWIN integrates the traditional and the contemporary - to bring together the past generations and future generations.
SONGIDE'EWIN is ultimately a celebration of the resilient spirit and an example of how art can heal, inspire, elevate and enlighten. Finally, SONGIDE'EWIN will bring closure, which will liberate me to produce and create art and literary works in the future.
SONGIDE’EWIN: Ojibwe Narratives Art Exhibit reflects the impact of my Residential School experiences, and resonates with fellow Survivors and their families. It’s a healing tool for communities and individuals. I believe that reconciliation, and healing will evolve and emerge from the art process itself. What else is art other than the reflection of our deepest spirit, our souls, and the elevation of our rightful, uncensored selves?
The dictionary defines reconciliation as ‘making friendly again after an estrangement; to harmonize; to make compatible’. SONGIDE’EWIN is a contemplative and cathartic experience for me, and seeks to answer many questions that I am struggling with: Who am I reconciling with? What am I trying to reconcile? How do I achieve this reconciliation? Reconciliation exposes many feelings and emotions: resistance, enlightenment, remembrance, shame, pain, resilience, rejuvenation, healing, pride, identity, and finally the restoration and integration of my Ojibwe arts and culture with my current urban life style.
~ Rene Meshake
Sometimes traditions, stories and languages get renewed within a generation. Rene Meshake exemplifies this renewal.
Rene was born in the railway town of Nakina in northwestern Ontario. After his mother was hospitalized for tuberculosis, Rene was raised and is deeply influenced by his Okomissan grandmother, who lived the traditional Ojibwe lifestyle.
He lived with her for several years, speaking the language, hearing the stories and the humour, and learning the songs of his people. His training in the Anishinaabe oral tradition, arts and culture combined with his education in graphic design from Sheridan College and the Humber School for Writers make Rene’s body of work a strong, expressive and entertaining presentation for an ever-increasing audience.
Rene has found great healing in his art and culture, which has helped him to recover from the abuse of residential schools. His art is his calling - it is who he is and it gives his life meaning, renewal, and joy. Rene's dream is to share his God-given talents so that the world may appreciate his Objiwe culture and heritage.
Rene is the author/illustrator of three children’s books and four books of poetry, a storyteller, visual artist, spoken-word performer, musician and filmmaker living in Guelph. By seamlessly fusing Ojibwe and English words into his stories, poetry and spoken word performances, Rene has communicated his Ojibwe spiritual heritage to the contemporary world.
My mission is to write and illustrate bilingual Ojibwe and English stories and prose poems and to research, develop and produce integrated art forms with a strong emphasis on my Ojibwe heritage - without creative compromise. ~ Rene Meshake