Edward Poitras, Optional Modification in Six Parts, 2002, encaustic on plywood, 244.4 x 732.6 cm. The Mendel Art Gallery Collection at Remai Modern. Purchased with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Mendel Art Gallery Foundation and the Gallery Group, 2003.

Marlene Creates, Points of Interest, Saskatchewan 1999, 1999, colour Endurochrome photographic prints (detail), 12 photographs each measuring 61 x 91.4 cm. Collection of Remai Modern. Purchased with the support of the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, 2019.

Wally Dion, Steel Star, stainless steel, 105.4 x 109.2 cm. The Mendel Art Gallery Collection at Remai Modern. Purchased with assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and funds raised by the Gallery Group, 2009.

Lynne Marsh, Anna and the Tower (still), 2014, video with sound 20:24. The Mendel Art Gallery Collection at Remai Modern. Purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Grants program, 2015.

Gregory Hardy, Bison in March, 2011, charcoal and pastel on canvas, 162.6 x 487.7 cm. The Mendel Art Gallery Collection at Remai Modern. Gift of the artist, 2016.

Next Year's Country

The title of this exhibition is a reference to Saskatchewan’s settler history. The expression originates from their experiences of learning to live and farm on what they considered to be a land of promise, even though neither success nor survival could be assured. The common refrain “next year things will be better” conveys both a tireless optimism and a struggle to belong. Such an attitude has shaped the province’s political, social, economic and cultural activities, however it fails to address the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and the displacement and assimilation associated with settlement.

For settler and Indigenous people facing isolation, loss of territory, lack of resources, harsh weather, food shortages due to crop failure and the eradication of the bison, hope and persistence made the present more bearable and fuelled ambitions for a better tomorrow. Geography can create, and sometimes impose, the conditions for inter-relationships. Knowledge is acquired, bonds are established and communities form through the accumulated experiences of inhabiting a place. Relationships and interactions constantly move, change, and shape one’s understanding of self in relation to the world.

Next Year’s Country seeks to re-examine ideas of place, belonging and history through a wide range of Canadian artists in Remai Modern’s outstanding permanent collection. Some of the artists have deep roots in the Prairies, while others have been selected to convey similar experiences and offer a view of this region from a distance. The exhibition uses the historical Prairie perspective “next year things will be better” to frame an impulse to resist the present moment and the anxieties that accompany it. How might this impulse generate a desire to return to the past or to dream of the future? The exhibition considers ideas about collectivity and progress with an eye to current environmental, economic and political issues.

Featured artists:

• Kim Adams • Grant Arnold and Randy Burton • Lorne Beug • Raymond Boisjoly • Eleanor Bond • Victor Cicansky • Dana Claxton • Marlene Creates • Wally Dion • Joseph Fafard • David Garneau • Gregory Hardy • Richard Holden • Geoffrey James • Brian Jungen • William Kureklek • Jean Paul Lemieux • Mary Longman • Tanya Lukin Linklater • Ken Lum • Lynne Marsh • WC McCargar • Fred Moulding • Ann Newdigate • Louise Noguchi • Graeme Patterson • Edward Poitras • Richard E. Prince • Allen Sapp • Danny Singer • David Thauberger • Alex Wyse

Curatorial Team

Curated by Sandra Fraser, Curator (Collections)



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Next Year's Country



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