Lita Fontaine: Winyan

Jul 19 - Mar 26

  • Admission: General Admission ($0-18, Indigenous Peoples and youth under 18 years are free)

Winyan (the Dakota word for “woman”) is a solo survey exhibition of Dakota/Anishinaabe/Metis artist Lita Fontaine. Bringing together both seminal and recent work, this exhibition honours the career of a beloved Treaty 1 artist.

Fontaine’s work centers and celebrates the beauty of Indigenous femininities as a resistance to heteropatriarchal and colonial practices that often relegate them to the periphery and render them vulnerable to violence.

Adopting a critical Indigenous feminist lens, Fontaine’s work appropriates symbols of assimilation and gender-discriminatory policies while mobilizing her love for her sisters, matriarchs and Dakota culture to create collage, drawing, dresses, and large medallion-shaped paintings embellished with berry and floral motifs, the Morning Star, and allusions to Sky Woman.


Lita Fontaine is of Dakota, Anishinaabe, and Metis descent. Fontaine is a mother, sister, arts educator, and visual artist. In her late twenties, Fontaine, a single mother, decided to return to school and enrolled in the University of Manitoba’s School of Art in the Diploma program. She later pursued higher education at the University of Regina, Visual Arts Faculty, where she attained a Master of Fine Arts, specializing in Inter-media. She is a founding member of Urban Shaman in Winnipeg, which was established in 1996, where she held her first solo exhibition. Since then, Fontaine has exhibited her art in several solo and group exhibitions. Her work can be found on murals in Winnipeg, and in personal and public collections. Fontaine recently retired from the Seven Oaks School Division as Artist-in-Residence. Prior to this, she worked as an early childhood educator, youth-care worker, and paraprofessional. Fontaine’s practice is predominately studio-based and her methodology in the area of arts education is hands-on, where creative processes play an integral role in learning.