Wednesday, November 22, 2006

McGilligan Books publishes Shirley Bear's Virgin Bones

For Immediate Release November 22, 2006

McGilligan Books publishes Shirley Bear’s Virgin Bones

McGilligan Books announces the release of Virgin Bones, a life-spanning book of politics, poetry, art and cultural criticism by First Nation Elder and nationally-recognized visual artist, Shirley Bear.

Wise and stunning, Virgin Bones extends over a life, a generation and a nation, documenting Bear’s artistic, political and critical development from the sit-ins of the sixties to the stand-off at Oka. Creator of the much-coveted Shirley Bear Bear, she played a crucial role in First Nation women’s, art and cultural communities. Bear marched in the Tobique women’s trek to Ottawa that played a decisive role in passing Bill C-52, which returned status to a generation of First Nation women married to non-Aboriginal men. In 1989, she curated Changers: A Spiritual Renaissance, a national show of work by Aboriginal women artists, which toured all major galleries across Canada. Her art is now in collections across the country.

The 2002 recipient of the New Brunswick Arts Board’s Excellence in the Arts Award, Shirley Bear studied art in New Brunswick, New Hampshire, Boston, and Vancouver. She has worked extensively as a lecturer, performer, activist and curator including serving as Cultural Advisor to the British Columbia Institute of Technology, First Nations Education Advisor at Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, and Resident Elder for First Nations House of Learning at UBC. Born in the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, she is an original member of the Wabnaki language group. After a decade in Vancouver, Shirley Bear recently returned to live at Tobique.

What’s the buzz about Virgin Bones?
“Resonant, meditative, tough, playful, passionate, entrancing, and wise, Bear’s voice gives generously without giving it all away. We have needed such a voice for a long time.” - Roy Miki

“Shirley Bear paints with language and speaks in the hot colours of conviction. Romantic and plain-spoken, argumentative and compassionate, a witness and protagonist, Bear delivers unflinching candour with disarming generosity and an invitation to join the dance and the revolution.” - Susan Crean

For review copies or to request an interview, contact Zoe Whittall, publicist, at or Ann Decter at
To order, contact University of Toronto press distribution 1-800-565-9523.

First Nations/Art/Poetry 152pp Trade Paper $22.95
ISBN: 1-894692-16-0 Colour reproductions

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