Winyan, a solo exhibition of Lita Fontaine opens at WAG-Qaumajuq

by ahnationtalk on July 4, 202419 Views

Winnipeg, Manitoba, July 4, 2024: The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG)-Qaumajuq is proud to exhibit Winyan, a survey exhibition from local interdisciplinary artist Lita Fontaine. Winyan is the Dakota word for “woman” and brings together both seminal and recent works and honours the career of a beloved Treaty One artist. The exhibition is curated by Marie-Anne Redhead, WAG-Qaumajuq Assistant Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art.

Winyan celebrates the beauty of Indigenous femininities as a form of resistance against patriarchal and colonial practices. By incorporating symbols of assimilation and gender-discriminatory policies, Fontaine channels her love for her sisters, matriarchs, and Dakota culture to create vibrant collages, drawings, dresses, and large medallion-shaped paintings. These works are adorned with berry and floral motifs, the Morning Star, and allusions to Sky Woman. Her work is both meditative and captivating, a stunning realization of art as medicine.

The public is invited to attend a celebratory opening of Winyan on Friday, July 5 at 7pm at the Gallery. This event is FREE for all to attend and will feature remarks from Elder Dr. Leslie Spillet, artist Lita Fontaine, and songs by the Kind Hart Women Singers. There will be food and tea served in Main Hall, plus words from Dr. Stephen Borys, WAG-Qaumajuq Director and CEO and curator, Marie-Anne Redhead. Afterwards, we invite everyone to explore the exhibition.

Winyan is made possible by Supporting Sponsor Southern Chiefs Organization and Exhibition Supporter Anish Corporation.

Quick Facts:

  • Lita Fontaine: Winyan officially opens at WAG-Qaumajuq on July 6 and runs until January 12, 2025.
  • Winyan is a new exhibition that surveys the career of a beloved and talented Treaty One artist and is curated by Marie-Anne Redhead, Assistant Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art at WAG-Qaumajuq.
  • Winyan is the Dakota word for “woman” and celebrates Indigenous femininity as a resistance to patriarchal and colonial practices.
  • Fontaine is of Dakota, Anishinaabe, and Metis descent. Fontaine is an esteemed local multi-disciplinary artist as well as a mother, sister, and arts educator and is a founding member of Urban Shaman.
  • Fontaine is a graduate of the University of Manitoba’s School of Art program and has a Master of Fine Arts degree specializing in inter-media from the University of Regina, Visual Arts Faculty.
  • Fontaine has exhibited in several solo and group shows and her work can be found on murals in Winnipeg and in personal and public collections. She recently retired from the Seven Oaks School Division as artist-in-residence.
  • A free public opening celebration of the exhibition will take place on Friday, July 5. Doors open at 6pm with the formal program beginning at 7pm and includes speeches, a performance by the Kind Hart Women Singers, and refreshments.
  • Beginning on July 5, visitors can purchase limited-edition series of six prints of Fontaine’s work at ShopWAG. Each print is made at Martha Street Studio and can be found exclusively at the Shop.
  • On select dates throughout the exhibition, visitors can enjoy community-led tours, workshops, talks, and more, see for more information.


“Lita Fontaine is one of those great artists – and I’m sure many Winnipeggers know of her work – but maybe don’t know the scale and intricacies of her career. We have the pleasure of exhibiting Winyan at the Gallery over the summer and fall and I can’t think of a better place or time to honour Fontaine than on the heels of her retirement from the Seven Oaks School Division as an artist-in-residence and thank her for all her work with youth and the arts in our city. I also want to thank Southern Chiefs Organization and Anish Corporation for their support of the show, Lita is a dedicated artist and I know her work will deeply resonate with visitors.”

— Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, WAG-Qaumajuq

“Working with Lita has been a great joy. This exhibition is so well deserved and blends pieces from the entire scope of her career so visitors can get a sense of her impact as an artist. Lita is a dedicated, talented, hardworking artist and arts educator, I learned a lot from her, and I can’t wait for people to see the show and learn more about Indigenous femininity. It means so much to dedicate space in the Gallery to an Indigenous female artist who is in her prime.”

— Marie-Anne Redhead, Assistant Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art, WAG-Qaumajuq


We thank Supporting Sponsor, Southern Chiefs Organization and Exhibition Supporter, Anish Corporation.

Associated Links

Lita Fontaine: Winyan
Opening Celebration

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For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Katryna Barske
Public Relations Officer
Winnipeg Art Gallery


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