Peel Art Gallery is celebrating the country’s 150th anniversary with a series of exhibits, one being “Canada 150: Stories of Canada”. It’s a series of forty paintings by First Nations artist James Simon Mishibinijima.

Mishibinijima’s paintings capture the horrors that students experienced in Canada’s residential schools.

Mishibinijima’s mother attended a residential school in Spanish, Ontario and passed on her experiences through anecdotes. For years, Mishibinijima struggled to come to terms with the horrific experiences his mother faced, until one day they poured out through his brush onto the canvas as a way to heal and move forward.

As part of the exhibit, some of Mishibinijima’s work that has never before been shared publicly will be displayed. The collection, titled Seven Grandfather, is a handful of paintings that depict the systematic persecution Aboriginal peoples faced (and in many cases still face): the stripping away of their dignity and the purposeful erosion of their culture and language.

The exhibit offers a window into a part of Canada’s past which is often disregarded but is now an increasing part of the discourse. Mishibinijima’s work is on display now until October 15. Click here for more information.