Dee Barsy (Ojibwe) is a visual artist and a member of Skownan First Nation, Manitoba (Treaty 2). Barsy was raised on Treaty 1 territory: the original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. Barsy graduated with a BFA from the University of Manitoba. In September 2017, Dee was commissioned to create artworks for the INSURGENCE/RESURGENCE exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The exhibition featured the work of 29 emerging to established contemporary Indigenous artists from across Canada. Barsy had her first solo exhibition at Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery in September, 2019. There, she transformed the gallery space, floor to wall, with a mural featuring abstract representations of various local insects and spiders painted on top of her signature rhythmic lines and blue background. Her artwork is included in the Global Affairs Visual Art Collection, the Manitoba Museum collection, the Winnipeg Art Gallery collection and many private collections.
As a fundamental concept in Indigenous philosophy, interconnection is a theme that Barsy regularly explores in her art practice. Barsy embraces Indigenous knowledge systems but refuses stereotypical iconography that is attributed to Indigenous visual culture. Instead, her paintings test the boundaries between abstraction and figuration, channelling her preoccupations and probing the possibilities of painting.Barsy approaches her subjects with genuine curiosity and care. She brings attention to the natural environment and admiration for each animal’s unique personality through her painterly focus. Their abstracted and flatly rendered bodies float playfully in relation to bold lines and graphic forms. Together, the paintings maintain a harmonious complexity in their colourful and rhythmic representations. Each painting is as much an individual entity as it is a part of the whole series– suggesting how our individual yet interconnected roles might impact our larger community on this territory.