the riel deal

Toronto-born artist Jeff Molloy lived and worked on Gabriola Island, B.C. He died in 2016 at the age of 59. “I started life as Jeffrey Robert Stonehouse before being adopted at six days old,” he wrote in an Artist’s Statement. “As a consequence, considerations of identity, history and spirituality have long been my preoccupation and the driving force behind my art. Much of my work explores historical and contemporary culture through the use of humour, stereotypes, traits and artefacts. As a man with an unspecified cultural heritage, I feel some latitude to stake a tentative, probing claim, if not to a specific cultural group, then to a generalized Canadian past.”

Molloy created several mixed-media renderings of Louis Riel, the Métis leader and founder of Manitoba whose day is today, in tandem with works depicting Sir John A. Macdonald. “As an artist I use hockey as a metaphor,” Molloy said. “Macdonald was the ref and Louis was the player sent to the penalty box.” Hence the title of the piece pictured below: “Two Minutes for Interference, Five Minutes for Fighting, and Death for Unsportsmanlike Conduct.”

“If you notice,” Molloy wrote in an e-mail, 2014, “Louis has a black eye.” The drawer below is filled with earth from Batoche, Saskatchewan, where Major-General Frederick Middleton’s federal troops overwhelmed Riel’s forces in 1885.

To view more of Jeff Molloy’s work, visit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.