Alumnus Robert Houle receives another honorary degree
University of Manitoba alumnus and honorary degree recipient Robert James Houle received an honorary degree from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology on June 10. Congratulations Mr. Houle.
Houle is being honoured for his distinguished career as a Canadian artist, curator, critic and educator.
In Houle’s own words, “Art has the capacity to lift people’s spirits. Culture is an essential ingredient to any improvement in social and economic conditions. For that reason the special status of native people must be acknowledged and protected not only in a constitutional but also in a cultural context.”
Two questions with Robert Houle
UM Today: What inspires you?
Robert Houle: As a practicing visual artist for the last forty years, I’ve often been inspired by our history. As first peoples of this country we have a long presence on this land and it is this antiquity that inspired Paris/Ojibwa (2010), a multi-media installation. This work honours a Mississauga dance troupe, pre-powwow, who ventured to Europe and performed before Kings and Queens between 1843-1848. The leader of the troupe, Maungwudaus, wrote and self-published an account of their travels in 1848 recording a running commentary of those they met and the places they visited.
What is your advice to current Indigenous university students and Indigenous graduates of the University of Manitoba?
I think it is important for us, despite great odds, to celebrate our history and culture and not be afraid to explore the world meeting other Indigenous peoples and sharing our stories.