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Nationally known James Smith artist's works exhibited in Melfort

Jerry Whitehead is known for his rich surreal powwow scenes, vivid depiction of family, and ceremony.
Jerry Whitehead, a national celebrated Cree artist with James Smith Cree Nation roots, is having his work displayed at the Kerry Vickar Centre in Melfort.

MELFORT — A nationally celebrated artist originally from James Smith Cree Nation is having his paintings displayed at the Kerry Vickar Centre's Sherven-Smith Art Gallery in Melfort.

Jerry Whitehead is known for his rich surreal powwow scenes, vivid depiction of family, and ceremony. The exhibition, organized by City of Melfort and Reconciliation Melfort, will be held from Sept. 1 to 30.

The exhibit includes an impressive 60” x 120” painting titled “My Boys Are OK” from 2015, and “Recollections” and “The Direction I am Heading” that is more reflective of Jerry’s current abstract work.

"Jerry [Whitehead] is another example of the creativity and talent that exists in Saskatchewan," said Sandra Dancey, Northern Lights Gallery owner. "His work is renowned in many parts of the country so it's exciting to have a showing of his work in Melfort, especially this time of year. We want James Smith families to know we're thinking of them."

"Powwow dancers have been an ongoing theme in my work since I began painting. Seeing the dancers as a child had a lasting impression," Whitehead said.

Over the years, Jerry Whitehead's artwork has gone through a number of stages. The one thing that has remained constant throughout this progression is his focus on powwows and powwow dancers. But, as in his current work, powwow dancers and powwows remained an integral theme. He currently produces abstract paintings that demonstrate his fondness of vivid colours. This, he believes, was learned from his mother and her brightly coloured, braided rugs. He says that this current style "just developed" over- time.

The exhibit opening coincides with the anniversary of the tragic killings at the James Smith Cree Nation and leading up to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.

More information about Jerry Whitehead and his work can be found on his website.