Elora Ojibwe artist presents ‘Miziwezi’ exhibition at ECFTA

A new exhibition at the Elora Centre for the Arts (ECFTA) features  large scale photography and a short film by Elora resident and Ojibwe artist
Wayne Simpson. 

Miziwezi (pronounced Miz-e-way-zee) means ‘He is Whole’ in Ojibwe, and is the name of the new project and exhibition. 

It is a culmination of Simpson’s year-long journey of self-discovery investigating his indigenous roots. 

Simpson captures the importance of his once forbidden culture and heritage through a foundation of openness and in pursuit of connection and belonging.

Until Simpson was seven years old, he lived between the Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation and Aamjiwnaang First Nation reserves. 

“Childhood was not pleasant for a half white child growing up on reserve” Simpson said.  

“It wasn’t until this project that I was able to truly go back and learn about my Ojibwe culture and start to come to peace with my identity.”

The journey was funded by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, procured through the Elora Centre for the Arts.

Simpson was able to meet with his extended family, council and community at Aamjiwnaang First Nation, who showed him patience as he observed, listened, and absorbed all that he could. 

“I had an idea of what I thought I might learn when this all started” says Simpson. “But honestly it evolved into so much more than I could have imagined. These months of relationship building, ceremony and vulnerability have given me pride for my indigenous culture.”

“Wayne’s unique perspective and life experience united with his talent for storytelling through film is a powerful combination,” said Lianne Carter, Executive Director at the Elora Centre for the Arts. She said he captures the teachings of his culure and shares them with the world “in a way that is truly his own.” 

‘Miziwezi’ will be open until Dec. 23, with a reception on Oct. 15 at 2pm, in the gallery at ECFTA.  Admission is free and refreshments will be served.