David Hannan: Crossing Territories

A BLANKET FOR RAVENS, 2024, Mixed media on wood, 48 x 48 in.

David Hannan‘s latest solo exhibition, “Crossing Territories”, investigates the connection between humanity and the natural world using a blend of wood, paint, sculpture, collage, and textiles. David Hannan (b. 1971) is a Métis multi-media artist based in Toronto, Ontario. Examining the dynamic relationship between humans and animals sharing the same space, his graphic collage work and paintings engage with themes of history, and notions of territory. Grounded in a profound reverence for the natural world, Hannan’s works strive to encapsulate our intertwined existence, where urban landscapes blend with the untamed splendor of wildlife. Bridging past with present, tradition with modernity, Hannan highlights the importance of preserving these connections for future generations to come.

In my exploration of the intricate relationship between humans and animals sharing the same space, I delve into the rich tapestry of Indigenous perspectives. Rooted in a deep connection to the natural world, my work seeks to capture the essence of this symbiotic coexistence, where urban environments intertwine with the untamed beauty of wildlife. The choice to incorporate honour blankets in my paintings holds profound cultural significance. These blankets, adorned with symbols and colours that carry ancestral meanings, serve as a visual testament to the sacred nature of the encounters between humans and animals. The act of painting animals surrounded by these honour blankets signifies a gesture of respect, recognizing the inherent value and wisdom that these creatures bring to our shared spaces. As animals navigate the concrete jungles of the city, there is a unique harmony that emerges—an equilibrium between the modern and the primal. Through my art, I aim to convey the delicate balance achieved when all communities honour the presence of wildlife in their midst. The honour blankets become a metaphorical bridge, connecting the past and the present, tradition and modernity, underscoring the importance of preserving these connections for future generations. It is my hope that this collection serves as a celebration of the shared spaces we inhabit, reminding us of the intricate threads that bind us to the natural world and the profound responsibility we hold in safeguarding these harmonious relationships.

As we immerse ourselves in these creations, we are reminded of the importance of cherishing and preserving our connection with wildlife. With each brushstroke and piece of collage, Hannan beckons us to embrace our responsibility as caretakers of the Earth, ensuring that future generations inherit a world where the harmonious dance between urban landscapes and untamed wilderness continues to thrive.

About the artist:
David Hannan, born in 1971 in Ottawa, Ontario, is a multidisciplinary Métis artist currently based in Toronto, Ontario. After graduating from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1995, Hannan pursued his artistic journey by crafting images inspired by his Indigenous heritage. Employing a collage style, he incorporated family photos and historical Métis figures to explore the intricacies of his Indigenous identity. Hannan’s paintings have been in several exhibitions including the worldwide travelling exhibition Transitions, Rielisms from the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and Comfort Zone at the Textile Museum of Canada. Over the years, Hannan has expanded his artistic horizons, venturing into new media such as painting and sculpture. His sculptures uniquely blend hybrid animals, evoking landscapes through their graceful forms and sense of tension. Hannan’s sculptures have been exhibited both nationally and internationally. His work was included in Remix which debuted at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, and later traveled to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Additionally, his work was featured at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Art in Santa Fe. Along with Hannan’s art practice he has found a creative outlet in filmmaking. Hannan is a production designer in both theatre and film for over twenty years, contributing to several award-winning films and documentaries.