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By Costa Maragos Posted: December 6, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Kevin McKenzie next to his piece Father, Son, Holy Ghost. McKenzie is one of 10 artists featured in an exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institute.
Kevin McKenzie next to his piece Father, Son, Holy Ghost. McKenzie is one of 10 artists featured in an exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institute. Photo courtesy of The Broadsheet

Kevin McKenzie is making his mark in the art world.

His work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and, most recently, the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institute in New York.

Not bad for an undergrad visual arts student.

McKenzie is one of 10 Indigenous artists from across North America featured in the Smithsonian’s Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound, which also happens to be co-curated byเครดิต ฟรี ถอน ได้ 2561 David Garneau, Associate Professor in the Visual Arts Department.

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“I was pretty blown away,” says McKenzie when asked what it felt like when his work was chosen for the Smithsonian.

Now the campus community has the opportunity to see McKenzie’s work up close. He’s the featured artist at the U of R’s Fifth Parallel Gallery December 6 – 14 with the opening reception December 8 at 4:30 p.m.

His show, Preservation, presents a new body of work for McKenzie but reflects the theme of his Smithsonian piece – the transformation of the traditional motif into contemporary sculpture.

McKenzie is no stranger to the U of R, having participated in an artist-in-residence at the Department of Visual Arts.

McKenzie is Cree/Métis, born and raised in Regina. His family is a member of the Cowessess First Nation of Saskatchewan. The longtime artist is now completing his Fine Arts degree at the U of R and will pursue his master’s degree through the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance.

“I attended the U of R back in the 1980s in Fine Arts,” says McKenzie. "I attended Emily Carr in Vancouver and zipped around different colleges, but never received a BFA."

Along the way, McKenzie has built an impressive resume which now includes the Smithsonian.

Father, Son, Holy Ghost features three handmade cast bison skulls, each one mounted on a separate panel. They’re displayed in one room at the Smithsonian illuminated by an orange neon light.

“I like the traditional look, yet it has a machine-age aesthetic. The neon gives it a glowing nostalgic spiritual quality. It is warm and welcoming but at the same time it is also confrontational,” says McKenzie. “It brings together two spiritual ideologies. I was brought up as a Catholic, but I also have my Indigenous background. This piece combines both my Catholic heritage and Indigenous heritage, much like a self-portrait".

McKenzie was at the opening reception in New York last month and says the show has been very well received. The artists use light, digital projection, and experimental media to reflect on their place between traditional and dominant cultures.

So, after reaching the heights of New York, what’s it like returning to class at the U of R?

“Actually, it has been inspiring. Super inspiring,” says McKenzie. “Returning to U of R has spawned a whole new body of work. As artists, we are always looking for something new and exciting to do. Being here amongst the younger students is great, I feel like I get to relive my past”.

McKenzie’s show at the Fifth Parallel Gallery at the U of R runs December 6 to 14. An opening reception takes place Friday, December 8 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.