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Forget Me Not
mixed media,installation, interrelated artworks, masks and shields, free-standing sculptures, civilians affected by war, garbage as resource for artists, reclaiming trash, Cold War, radiation effects, installation art, photo-mural, ironic titles of artworks, miniature parasols,history of warfare, mushroom cloud, radiation effects, morality of war, environmental consequence of war, artist makes critical commentary on war, nuclear weapons, power, Hiroshima bomb blast
description
start quoteI was so enthusiastic that I would pick up somebody else's garbage walking to my university class and make something (artistic) out of it.end quote
-- Ron Noganosh

Noganosh’s earlier art practice is comprised mainly of two interrelated bodies of artwork, for example wall pieces such as masks and shields, and free-standing sculptures, often made from  foundAn image, material, or object, not originally intended as a work of art, that is obtained, selected, and exhibited by an artist, often without being altered in any way. The cubists, dadaists, and surrealists originated the use of found images / materials / objects. Although it can be either a natural or manufactured image / material / object, the term readymade refers only to those which were manufactured. Also known in the French, objet trouvé. (Artlex.com)  objects.  “I was so enthusiastic that I would pick up somebody else’s garbage walking to my university class and make something (artistic) out of it,” he said in a 1999 interview.  In Forget Me Not, however, Noganosh has moved to  installationAn art work specially designed to fit in or to make use of a specific type of space. It usually consists of more than one element and relates to the space in which it is displayed.  art.  The  ironicUsing the opposite to express what is really meant or expected. Irony can also be something absurd or laughable that occurs when what happens and what might be expected to happen are opposites.  title refers not to a delicate flower, but to a black and white photomural of a mushroom cloud. The word “Hiroshima”, the Japanese city which was the victim of one of the first uses of a nuclear weapon in the history of warfare, is spelled out in colourful, miniature paper parasols, the kind used in mixed drinks.

The Cold War may be over, but with this work Noganosh reminds us of the power of nuclear weapons.  An estimated 140,000 people – mostly civilians – were killed by the bomb blast at Hiroshima, and thousands more died from radiation illness for many years following the blast.  Forget Me Not raises questions about the morality of war and the environmental consequences that result from wars.  In Forget Me Not Noganosh provides his personal critical commentary on a  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  that affects not just aboriginal people, but every one of us.

additional resources Things to Think About
  • In his entry in the book Native North American Artists Noganosh is quoted as saying, “I seek to speak out against institutions that would categorize, stereotype, trivialize and colonize. I do this, knowing full well that there are more comfortable ways to earn a living. I do this for my children and for the world.” Does Forget Me Not reflect what Noganosh has stated, above?
  • Forget Me Not certainly is designed to make a political statement. How has Noganosh been successful (or not) in getting his point across?
  • Check out the image of Security Blanket: 57 missiles by Barbara Todd in the CommonPlace theme. She has used very different materials than Noganosh to create her work, and yet they both present an anti-war message. What are the similarities and what are the differences you see in the two works, and the approaches of the artists in creating their works?
Advanced Activity

Make a list of some global issues or some issues in your own community that concern you.

  • Brainstorm some ways (not necessarily only through visual art) that you might respond to these global or community issues.


  • How have people generally responded to social or environmental issues historically? If you have studied history, you might recall incidents that were significant. Some action has been expressed through quiet protests, parades, or writing letters, but other action, such as Saskatchewan’s North West Rebellion in 1885, or the Winnipeg Riots in 1919, led to violence.


  • Across the ages, artists from all disciplines have expressed concern through peaceful means. Their expressions of concern, through their work in books, plays, musical compositions, dance, and visual art of all kinds, have contributed greatly to major changes in the ways we think and live. Artists can and do make a difference not only by lecturing, but by showing consequences and actions to make us think, just as Noganosh has done in his work.


  • Make a list of artists (rock stars, movie stars, etc.) you are familiar with from the popular art world who have made a stand on matters of war and peace.

For example:

Advanced Activity

Look again at Noganosh’s artwork featured on this site.

  • Research the history and significance of Hiroshima. There are many websites dedicated to this event.
  • Watch the following BBC video on You Tube: Hiroshima: Dropping the Bomb:

Through his art, Noganosh responds to a situation.

  • List some ways to create a response to an issue.
  •  materials
  • art style
  • idea
  • ways to create dynamic effect through some of the following:
  • colour
  • media (paint/photo montage/ installation)
Online Activity
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Zoom into Ron Noganosh's artwork. Drag the words and place them on Noganosh’s image where you think they might describe the area.

Studio Activity

In Canadian society we sometimes define and describe people by gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. These labels then place expectations on others. Sometimes the labels affect artists and how we expect artists to think or make art. Ron Noganosh through his work has deliberately opposed and defied these stereotypes. He says, “I’m an artist first and a Native second. But an artist first.”

The artwork featured here, Hiroshima, like all of his artwork, addresses issues that concern us all as humans and how we relate to the planet we live on.

Noganosh’s work uses a type of humour we call satire.  One familiar  formIn its widest sense, total structure; a synthesis of all the visible aspects of that structure and of the manner in which they are united to create its distinctive character. The form of a work is what enables us to perceive it. Form also refers to an element of art that is three-dimensional (height, width, and depth) and encloses volume. For example, a triangle, which is two-dimensional, is a shape, but a pyramid, which is three-dimensional, is a form. Cubes, spheres, ovoids, pyramids, cone, and cylinders are examples of various forms. Also, all of the elements of a work of art independent of their meaning. Formal elements are primary features which are not a matter of semantic significance — including colour, dimensions, line, mass, medium, scale, shape, space, texture, value; and the principles of design under which they are placed — including balance, contrast, dominance, harmony, movement, proportion, proximity, rhythm, similarity, unity, and variety. (Artlex.com)  of visual  satireIrony, sarcasm, or derisive wit used to attack or expose vice, folly, or stupidity. Caricatures are commonly satirical whenever they are critical. (Artlex.com)  is political cartooning in newspapers.  To learn more about political cartooning, go to the following websites:

Collect a variety of political cartoons or other cartoons that feature a  satiricalThe use of humour as a way to ridicule the ignorance or vice of another person or group.  take on life. What do they have in common?  How does the artist attract attention (e.g., exaggeration in the drawing, use of text, caricature, outrageous  contextThe varied circumstances in which a work of art is (or was) produced and interpreted. There are three arenas to these circumstances, each of them highly complex. The first pertains to the artist: attitudes, beliefs, interests, values, intentions and purposes, education and training, and biography (including psychology). The second is the setting in which the work was produced: the apparent function of the work (to adorn, beautify, express, illustrate, mediate, persuade, record, redefine reality, or redefine art), religious and philosophical convictions, sociopolitical and economic structures, and even climate and geography. Third is the field of the work's reception and interpretation: the traditions it is intended to serve, the mind-set it adheres to (ritualistic, perceptual, rational, and emotive), and, perhaps most importantly, the colour of the lenses through which the work is being scrutinized — i.e., the interpretive mode (artistic biography, psychological approaches, political criticism, feminism, cultural history, intellectual history, formalism, structuralism, semiotics, hermeneutics, post-structuralism and deconstruction, reception theory, concepts of periodicity [stylistic pendulum swinging], and other chronological and contextual considerations. Context is much more than the matter of the artist's circumstances alone. (Artlex.com)  and setting, subtlety, etc.)?

Create a  sloganA phrase or motto used to advertise a product, to promote a political or religious cause, or to express and idea or purpose. A slogan should be memorable!  about an issue you are interested in exploring.  Add a photograph/image from a magazine or make a simple  lineA mark with length and direction(-s). An element of art which refers to the continuous mark made on some surface by a moving point. Types of line include: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, straight or ruled, curved, bent, angular, thin, thick or wide, interrupted (dotted, dashed, broken, etc.), blurred or fuzzy, controlled, freehand, parallel, hatching, meandering, and spiraling. Often it defines a space, and may create an outline or contour, define a silhouette; create patterns, or movement, and the illusion of mass or volume. It may be two-dimensional (as with pencil on paper) three-dimensional (as with wire) or implied (the edge of a shape or form). (Artlex.com)   drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com)  that will illustrate your point of view.  Here are some ways to begin turning a  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com)  into a cartoon:

  • exaggerate or enlarge areas beyond realistic.
  • add words or speech boxes.
  • add shading and detail, and finish with a felt tipped pen.

OR

Go to PBS Teachers:  Resources for the Classroom, Lesson #9: Cartoon Commentary

References

Burrett, Deborah. ‘Ron Noganosh.’  in Native North American Artists, Roger Matriz, ed. St. James Press, Detroit, Michigan, 1998, pp 416-417.

Anderson, Jack.  ‘Retrospective a witness to two cultures.’  Regina Leader Post, July 5, 2001.

Hill, Tom and Lucy R. Lippard.  It Takes Time.  Exhibition catalogue.  Ottawa Art Gallery and Woodland Cultural Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, 2000.

Ouellet, Line.  ‘Ron Noganosh. Shields for slaying Medusa.’  Double Play. Identity and Culture.  Exhibition catalogue.  Musée nationale des Beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City, Quebec, 2004.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning