“As a Metis artist much of my recent work has involved the (sometimes) dark satire of the concept of wilderness and the erasure of the Indigenous presence from the landscape. “
My work attempts to challenge these representations while exploring a more complex understanding of Indigenous relationships to the land - relationships that do not fall within existing dichotomies such as "wilderness" and "civilization."
I call my sculptures "taxidermy hybrids”, because their basic shapes are derived from taxidermy forms that I first manipulate in a variety of ways and then cast. Taxidermy forms have a unique character because they provide basic animal forms, but lack surface details that would be provided by animal pelts, such as fur-texture, ears, and so forth. As such, their simultaneous familiarity to and difference from the animals they represent give them an uncanny effect. This effect, combined with my own sculptural interventions create sculptures that shift between representation, abstraction and the hybrid blending of animal forms as a means of exploring issues of transformation and the vulnerability of humans, other creatures and the natural environment.
My work begins intuitively, often developing out of previous projects or my engagement with objects I find or otherwise encounter in the studio or out in the world. From there I work with the associations derived from these sources, often combining things in unexpected ways until they begin to generate meaning and aesthetic impact that seems worthy of being defined as a finished work of art.
David Hannan is a Metis artist from Ottawa/Mettawa living in Toronto.
Region or community
“NOW all I want to do is show the world NATIVE PRIDE. CANADIAN NATIVE PRIDE.”
As a long time professional artist, I am always interested in making public art. When I was younger, I only thought of having my family and neighbors see my works. Then I moved off the Kispiox Reservation and wanted the province to see my art works. In 1985 I moved to Ottawa, I thought the whole country could be my audience. Then the Olympics came to Vancouver, I wanted the world to see what I can create. NOW all I want to do is show the world NATIVE PRIDE: CANADIAN NATIVE PRIDE.
My ancestors and our lands have been foremost in my mind for most of my life. Some years I hunt and fish more than I carve. And so treaty making and politics are big in my life. I worked for my Gitxsan Chiefs for most of my life. Listening to and helping my Chiefs and elders, hunting and fishing for my Kispiox people, standing up for the tribe in court and on the land, road blocking. All that is fun to me, makes me proud to be Native.
All my histories and all my life comes out in my art works. The humor of events in my life, tragedies, accomplishments, lessons learned. Some years ago I noticed that I have created a lot of self portraits. This is my way of not breaking my Gitxsan laws of ownership of crests, who could claim to own a picture of me. And I have always enjoyed depicting my Gitxsan tribe’s cultural hero/teacher WiiGyet (BigMan, Raven). For my young children I started to write my own stories of HisOwn true modern day myths. Art of all kinds is important for all civilizations, not just my Gitxsan or Canadian civilizations.
Ya'Ya Heit is a carver from the Kispiox Band, Gitxsan Nation, B.C.
As I now speak 2 European languages fluently (and another 3 un-fluently), I aim to prove that, where European languages have room for 2 genders only, Native languages have room for many. This, I submit, is the source of the violence against women, and Aboriginal women most especially, by men, and heterosexual men only -- the 2-gender system does NOT work; one gender has way too much power over the other; we need to explore other models. And the key just might be contained in the very architecture of Aboriginal languages, an "architecture" where there is no gender, one where we are all, to one degree or another depending on who we are, both male and female. And one where God is neither male nor female. Or is both. Tomson Highway is Cree playwright, novelist and musician from Barren Lands First Nation, Brochet, Manitoba. http://www.tomsonhighway.com/
When I think of my teachings I think of my Mom because she is the one who gave them to me. When I wrote my first play “Indigenous Like Me” it was for her. The final scene of the play reads; "Now, no matter what I do I hear her voice. Doesn’t matter if I am studying the Indian Act at University or the history of colonialism, residential schools, or even feminism because it’s her voice I hear. It’s her teachings I remember and her life I think of when I approach those issues. And it makes me happy. It makes me happy because I realize that makes me Indigenous Like Her."
Jack Horne is a playwright of the Tsawout Band, WSANEC, Coast Salish, B.C.
“I am currently working on a feature documentary that looks at four 60s Scoop siblings recovering a sense of family that was denied to them.”
My film and media work comes from my own desire to reconnect to my Cree family and history, as I was part of the 60s and 70s Scoop. My films reflect issues that I grapple with or that fascinate me and all are inspired by my Indigenous community. I did Two Worlds Colliding because the Starlight tours happened in my city and directly affected people I knew. I made 7 Minutes, a short independent film about a young woman who is part of the “almost missing” because a man followed her home from the library and tried to put her in his van. These are issues that directly affect Indigenous peoples in Canada. But I also make work that reflects my interest in regeneration and resurgence of Indigenous culture. This is where my buffalo work is especially relevant. My independent film Buffalo Calling is about one particular herd’s survival in the face of near-extinction and diaspora. My next buffalo film focuses on Indigenous peoples’ contemporary efforts to repair our bond with the buffalo, one that was damaged after colonization. I am currently working on a feature documentary that looks at four 60s Scoop siblings recovering a sense of family that was denied to them. I am also writing an independent drama about a Cree family who decides to hide their children during the residential school era.
I like to push myself to make different types of films: investigative, experimental, dramatic, observational, and finally, with the new buffalo project, personal point of view. I took a hiatus from filmmaking to pursue a graduate degree but I am now once again immersed in making films.
Tasha Hubbard is a filmmaker from Peepeekisis Cree Nation living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.