TORONTO – A painting by Indigenous artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun in honor of Canada’s National Day for Truth & Reconciliation will go up for auction this month in support of drawing attention to the intergenerational effects of the residential school system.
Titled “Indian Residential School, Leaving the Shallow Graves and Going Home,” the piece was commissioned by national asset management firm Dixon Mitchell Investment Counsel to mark what is also known as Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30.
Established in 2013, the day is meant to honor survivor Phyllis Webstad, whose new orange shirt was taken from her on her first day at residential school.
It officially became the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation and a statutory holiday in 2021 after the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites that summer.
All proceeds from the sale of the painting will be donated to the Orange Shirt Society and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, both of which are non-profit organizations that work to raise awareness of the intergenerational impacts of the residential school system, to support survivors and reconciliation efforts.
In creating his new work, Yuxweluptun said in a press statement his goal was to “depict children walking back home in a spirit form, thereby completing a spiritual journey and allowing closure for their memories.”
The Vancouver-based artist, who is the son of residential school survivors and is a survivor himself, added, “This is a history painting, a recording of how Natives have been treated and where we are at now. It’s a voice for those who had been forgotten, and their stories should be told in a resounding way.”
The painting will be offered by Heffel Fine Art Auction House through an online auction from May 25 to June 22.
Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, the contemporary art gallery that represents Yuxweluptun and other First Nations artists, also donated its commission.
Before the auction closes, the painting will go on display for the public at the Heffel Gallery’s Toronto and Vancouver locations.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2022.
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