David Garneau

About the Artist

David Garneau was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and drawing and a Master of Arts in English literature. Garneau taught at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary for five years before moving to Regina, Saskatchewan to assume a position as an Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Regina in 1999.  Over these years, Garneau has developed an outstanding reputation as an artist, teacher, lecturer,  curatorAn individual or group, who conceives an idea for an art exhibition, selects the art works, plans how they will be displayed and writes accompanying supporting materials for the ideas presented. A curator can work freelance or be affiliated with a gallery, and serves as the link between artists and gallery.  and writer on the local, national and international art scene.

As a youth Garneau was aware of his Métis heritage, but he did not think of himself as Métis, until at age 18, his cultural roots were publicly proclaimed at an exhibition of his work. He often uses humour and unexpected juxtapositions to highlight his heritage and produce strong statements about being Métis in Canada. Garneau comments about his heritage, “I am proud to be a Métis man. But this identity is contested; it has no settled meaning for me. I will continue to struggle to make meanings from my place of inbetweeness. My task is two-fold: to explore the historical aspects of Métis identity and culture; to examine the Riel cult and to see Métis identity against the larger issues of Aboriginal, Settler and masculinity dynamics; and to explore the  contemporaryCurrent, belonging to the same period of time. Usually referring to our present time, but can refer to being current with any specified time. (Artlex.com)  lived experience of Métis identity." (Garneau, 2003)

Garneau gives insights into his family history when he writes, “I knew that the Garneau community, the present site of the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, was my great, great grandfather, Laurent’s farm. I heard stories about how, in the old days, he and his friends had terrorized the inhabitants of Fort Edmonton by hollering and shooting up the place. Later, I found out that they did this during the 1885 Resistance and it might have been a joke, or not. I discovered through family stories that Laurent was almost lynched for his (unspecified) involvement with the Riel Rebellion.” (Garneau, 2003)

Garneau’s art works are in many public and private collections and his solo exhibition, Cowboys and Indians (and Métis?), toured Canada (from 2003 to 2007).  He has also curated several large group exhibitions and written numerous catalogue essays and reviews and was a co-founder and co-editor (1989 to 2005) of Artichoke and Cameo magazines.  Garneau comments about the  contentThe subject matter of a work of art and what it suggests about that subject matter. This includes the ways in which that work of art can be plausibly interpreted.  of his work, “I am interested in visuality and representation, but in the studio work, writing and curation, I tend to focus on ideas about nature and culture, masculinity, and ethnicity-especially Métis heritage.” (Garneau, 2003)


On Discovering and Embracing His Métis Ancestry
On the Duck-Rabbit Illusion
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning