Jane Ash Poitras


October 11th, 1951

Fort Chipewyan, Alberta

Born in Fort Chipewyan, Jane was adopted into a Catholic household at age six, following the death of her mother. She grew up in Edmonton and began to seek her Chipewyan roots in early adulthood. She obtained a B.Sc in Microbiology at the University of Alberta, before completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking in 1985, and subsequently a Master's from Columbia University in New York. At Columbia she was exposed to works of abstract expressionism, particularly by American artists Mark Rothko, Kurt Schwitters, Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly. Like them, she layers images and text into multiple narrative strands. Poitras incorporates her knowledge and practice of Indigenous spirituality into her works and uses the idioms of mainstream art to express the experience of Indigenous people in Canada. Her works can be found in collections across Canada and the United States, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum, among many others. She has mentored a number of young Indigenous artists, including Ojibway/Sioux artist Linus Woods.