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March 2023


Prairie Braids Series
Wally Dion

The print portrays an individual with their back towards the viewer. The source image belongs to a larger group of portraiture work embarked upon in 2019. The figure in these prints can be any gender and to some extent, any ethnicity. A prairie lily, the provincial flower of Saskatchewan, is embroidered into the back of the shirt. In this print, the individual has turned their back towards the viewer; referencing settler-Indigenous relations in the Saskatchewan judicial system.
For the artist; braids represent strength, culture and spirituality. Combing and braiding hair implies care, companionship and skill. Hair has long been a battleground for the church & settler power structures. In this way, braiding, washing or not washing, hair has become an act of resistance for Indigenous People.

Bullseyes are embossed into the some of the prints, referencing gun violence towards Indigenous Peoples.  

A series of mixed media proofs from each edition have been made into unique works of art. 

Some of these mixed media proofs have been incorporated into a brass frames that were cast on site, by the artist, at locations in the prairies where atrocities to Indigenous People occurred. The frames are made by melting discarded bullet shells and pouring the molten metal into a ‘soil’ cast in the ground. Remnants of the soil and stones from the casting process are embedded into the brass frame carrying the weight and memory intrinsically held by the earth. The use of brass bullets further emphasizes gun violence towards Indigenous People. 

Red Prairie Braids

red Prairie Braids

Wally Dion

Photogravure on chine collé

Paper dimension 55cm x 46.5cm (21⅗ x 18⅓”)

Image dimension 28.4cm x 32cm (11” x 12½“)            


Edition size 8

Screenshot 2023-04-04 173442_edited_edited.jpg

Prairie Braids, based from a painting made in 2020 Up Where We Belong, is one of Dion's first venture into printmaking.

Having visited Jillian Ross Print in early October 2022 to see the studio and to learn more about printmaking and Ross's approach to collaborative printmaking, Wally decided to try out photogravure along side his other mediums - painting, drawing, tapestries, mixed media and installation based artworks. 

With the help of Steven Dixon, who made the photogravure plate over the October Thanks Giving weekend, a new series of prints emerged. Over the coming months and regular trips to Saskatoon the print developed into four prints in red and black. Time and consideration was taken into develop the right look and feel for the print, experimenting with different papers and tonal ranges in color.  

Up Where We Belong, 2020

Diptych installation at Remai Modern, Saskatoon

The making of the Prairie Braids at Jillian Ross Print.

Published by Wally Dion

Collaborating Printer Jillian Ross

Photogravure by Steven Dixon

Editioning and image development at Jillian Ross Print

Editioning printers Master Printer Jillian Ross, assisted by Rowan Pantel and Brendan Copestake

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