John Paskievich: The North End Exhibition Opening and Conversation with the Artist

Friday, August 23rd 2019

Join the Winnipeg Art Gallery for a public celebration of the John Paskievich: The North End exhibit.

Date: Friday, August 23, 6:30 – 10pm
Location: Winnipeg Art Gallery (300 Memorial Blvd), Winnipeg.
Cost: FREE entry. Cash bar.

6:30pm-7:30pm • John Paskievich in conversation with Alison Gillmor and Michael Redhead Champagne in the WAG Muriel Richardson Auditorium. Followed by exhibition viewing until 10pm

Winnipeg’s North End occupies roughly 12-square kilometers built around the central Main Street artery north of the city’s vast urban railyards. In the early 20th century the neighborhood became an index of multicultural immigration, working class identity, and by the end of the first decade accounted for nearly half of the city’s entire population. Today the North End continues to be home to diverse cultural backgrounds, including the largest urban Indigenous population in Canada.

John Paskievich is a Ukrainian-Canadian photographer and filmmaker. He was born in a Displaced Persons Camp in Austria just after the Second World War before moving to Winnipeg, where he grew up in the North End in the 1950s and 1960s. In the early 1970s, after studying photography in Toronto, Paskievich began turning his camera to the community of his youth, its inhabitants, wide streets and boulevards, warehouses and corner stores.

Comprising 50 black-and-white photographs ranging from the 1970s to the 2000s, John Paskievich: The North End is the largest display to date of the artist’s work at the WAG. In addition to celebrating the career of an important artist, the exhibition is also timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, a pivotal event in Canadian history with deep roots in the city’s North End. Curated by Andrew Kear

Paskievich’s most significant body of work, citizens going about their daily lives from the 1970s to the 2000s, has never been exhibited on such a scale. We can all learn about our city through Paskievich’s North End.
—Dr. Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, Winnipeg Art Gallery

Paskievich works at the intersection between art and documentary photography. By capturing life in the North End, he is finding art on the street, and creating a forum to talk about Winnipeg.
—Andrew Kear, Exhibition Curator

The North End is a remarkable area with a storied history. The WAG has shown many internationally-renowned artists. To know that my work is hanging on the same walls is humbling.
—John Paskievich, Photographer and Filmmaker

About the Book
Cities and the people who live in them are enduring subjects of photography. Winnipeg’s North End is one of North America’s iconic neighbourhoods, a place where the city’s unique character and politics have been forged. First built when Winnipeg was the ‘Chicago of the North,’ the North End is the great Canadian melting pot, where Indigenous peoples and Old World immigrants cross the boundaries of ethnicity, class, and culture. Like New York’s Lower East Side, the North End is also the place that helped to forge Winnipeg’s political identity of resistance and revolt.

Award-winning filmmaker John Paskievich grew up in Winnipeg’s North End, and for the last forty years he has photographed its people and captured its spirit. Paskievich’s films, many made for the National Film Board of Canada, follow the lives of different outsiders, from Slovakian Roma to stutterers.

The North End Revisited brings together many of the photographs from Paskievich’s now-classic book The North End (2007) with eighty additional images to present a deep and poignant picture of a special community. Texts by art critics Stephen Osborne and Alison Gillmor and film scholar George Melnyk explore the different aspects of Paskievich’s work and add context from Winnipeg’s history and culture.

About the Speakers
Alison Gillmor is a Winnipeg-based freelance journalist and educator. As well as being a pop culture columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press, she has written on art, design, books and film for The Walrus, Border Crossings, Canadian Notes & Queries, Canadian Geographic, Canada’s History, Herizons, The Globe and Mail and The Winnipeg Review. She has also taught in the History of Art program at the University of Winnipeg as a contract academic staff member.

Michael Redhead Champagne, aka North End MC, describes himself as “a 24-year-old Cree guy.” Hailing from Shamattawa, Michael was born and raised in the North End of Winnipeg. By night, Michael organizes AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities)—a youth-led anti-gang organization committed to breaking stereotypes and creating opportunities in the community. MC is also active in the community serving on several boards and committees, including North End Community Renewal Corporation, Mount Carmel Clinic, United Way of Winnipeg’s Aboriginal Relations Council, and the 595 Prevention Teem Peer Secretariat.

John Paskievich was born in Austria of Ukrainian parents and immigrated to Canada as a young child. He graduated from the University of Winnipeg and studied photography and film at Ryerson University. His photographs have been widely exhibited and published in various periodicals and in several books, including A Voiceless Song: Photographs of the Slavic Lands, introduced by Josef Skvorecky, and A Place Not Our Own. His documentary films have garnered critical praise and won numerous awards. Paskievich lives in Winnipeg.

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