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Established in 1996 as an Aboriginal artist-run centre, Urban Shaman: Contemporary Aboriginal Art (US) is designated for the exhibition and discussion of contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit art. US holds a vital position as one of three Aboriginal artist-run centres in Canada and exists as a key voice in the regional, national, and international discourse surrounding contemporary Aboriginal art. From in-house and off-site projects, US is continually expanding programming and dissemination initiatives—including an online presence (urbanshaman.org, stormspirits.org, conundrum.ca) and community-based endeavours. US strives to represent the wide diversity of Aboriginal art in its full breadth of creativity, complexity, and contemporary viewpoints.
Our mission at US is to program artists whose work hinges on experimentation in form and content, representing emerging and established artists whose work displays a high degree of professionalism, aesthetic maturity, and rigor. As a cultural centre, we play an important role in promoting the rich artistic legacy of our diverse and dynamic communities. US is committed to challenging people’s notions of “Aboriginal Art”, and while appreciating ancestral contributions, US focuses on promoting significant contemporary artists who continue to maintain a long tradition of image making.