Act of Seeing

Pat Deadman sees the world through a portal. Her lens is literal and figurative. In her photographs, we are keenly aware that she is actively looking. We see what she sees or what she wants us to see. Her eyes, and ours, are restless. Our gazes meet, look away, collide. Our viewpoints are the same but different. Are the subjects of her photographs really what we are meant to see?

In 2003, Deadman travelled to the Yucatán to engage in a creative residency that posited an exchange between photographic and literary disciplines. Storytelling, or narrative, is at the core of both practices: the imaging of ideas and experiences, whether we use the eye (gaze) or the eye of the mind (imagination). Photography and writing exist at a crossroads of fact and fiction.

As a Haudenosaunee artist, Deadman’s world view is shaped by her Indigenous heritage and by her creative profession. Her filmic journey across the Yucatán reveals a place historically parallel to Canada, a conflicted post-colonial landscape through which the beauty and resilience of the local Indigenous culture surfaces, again and again. This body of work, created in 2003, has lost none of its agency; in fact, its message is more potent today. Deadman implores us to action: the act of looking and the action of seeing. — Dawn Owen

January 25th to March 28th, 2020
Opening Reception January 25th, 1 pm to 4 pm
Tour exhibit with Patricia Deadman at 2 pm

Norfolk Arts Centre
21 Lynnwood Avenue
Simcoe ON N3Y 2V7


The artist gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council, FONCA (The National Fund for Culture and the Arts; Fondo Nacional parda la Cultura y las Artes) and the Banff Centre.