Wally Dion, b.1976 Saskatoon Saskatchewan, is a visual artist living and working in Binghamton, New York. He is a member of Yellow Quill First Nation (Salteaux). Dion holds a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Throughout much of his career, Dion’s work has contributed to a broad conversation in the art world about identity and power, and can be interpreted as part of a much larger pan-American struggle by Indigenous peoples to be recognized: culturally, economically, and politically, by settler societies. Utilizing large scale portraiture, found object sculpture, site specific installation & kinetic sculpture Dion has expanded upon this practice to include themes of personal history & spirituality. Dion has exhibited extensively throughout Canada & the USA participating in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Dion’s work can be found in several prominent collections; private and public.
In the past, my studio practice has focused on discourses involving marginalized groups, specifically Native American Peoples and what can be done to improve conditions. The work has included an element of accountability to the land and extraction of its resources. From the large scale painted portraits depicting Native American workers to the computer circuit board quilts and mosaics, my studio practice has largely remained within the 2D pictorial space of a painter & quilt maker.
Instantly recognizable around the world, computer circuit boards are the hieroglyphics of our time. People who use and depend upon their continued functioning know next to nothing about their inner language, or code. For many people, computer circuitry is as enigmatic as the symbols carved into the side of a 3000 year old temple and yet we have enormous faith in their ability to furnish us with our lifestyles.
My Star Blanket quilts are sewn together using recycled computer motherboards. While these works re-examine the importance of craft and skilled labor, they also focus upon the crucial role women played within Indigenous communities: as nurturers, gatherers, teachers and leaders. For me, these quilts merge traditional symbols with contemporary materials, speaking to the opportunity, & potential menace, presented by technology.