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Breathing new life into Indigenous languages

Queen's University is working with a local Indigenous cultural organization and Indigenous leaders to help with language revitalization.

[Queen's Tyendinaga Indigenous languages Haudenosaunee]
Dakota Ireland, an Oneida representative, makes notes during one of the conference's discussion sessions. (Supplied Photo)

Queen’s and Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Culture Centre played host to a historic meeting this week as six Indigenous nations met to help plan the future of their languages.

The three-day meeting and conference was part of a collaborative project between Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na and Queen’s, which began this spring and was funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Education Indigenous Languages Fund. Establishing this meeting and bringing together the Six Nations was a key milestone in the project’s overarching goals of developing community-specific plans for language revitalization.

“It’s a momentous event and a historical moment. It is the first time in our memories that members of all six language families are in one room talking about preserving our languages,” says Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Director of Indigenous Initiatives.

The representatives of the six language families included learners, academics, policy makers, administrators, and teachers. The six language families of the Haudenosaunee, also known as the Iroquois Confederacy, are the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The word Rotinonhsyón:ni is the Mohawk word for Haudenosaunee, while Haudenosaunee is the agreed upon Iroquois Confederacy Council term.

The agenda for the conference included discussions around how to move language beyond the classroom and language legislation, building resources such as a teacher’s association and online resources, and opportunities for group discussions.

“Queen’s is proud to be a partner on this project, which is enabling the revitalization of all of the six Rotinonhsyón:ni languages and meeting the calls to action in the national and Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) reports,” says Gordon E. Smith, Vice-Dean (Faculty Relations) with the Faculty of Arts and Science. “We’re excited about the Rotinonhsyón:ni Language Cooperative meeting happening here at Queen’s, supporting Onkwehonwe/Rotinonhsyón:ni language family revitalization and uniting the work of these communities to share resources.”

The collaboration between Queen’s and Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na has already seen the creation of a certificate in Mohawk Language, which will be delivered in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory starting this month. Over the next two years, the project will also develop an indexed online archive of Mohawk language resources; and will research best practices for teaching, assessing, and evaluating Indigenous language learners.

“We have come to the table in the spirit of sharing,” says Callie Hill, Director of Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na. “We are sharing knowledge, experiences, and resources for language revitalization and we are encouraging and supporting each other in revitalizing our languages”.

Some next steps for Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na, the six Rotinonhsyón:ni/Haundenosaunee groups, and Queen’s include the formation of four working groups to continue this work, as well as additional conferences.

The conference was held as the world marked the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

[Queen's TTO Haudenosaunee Indigenous languages conference]
Representatives from across the Haudenosaunee nation gathered in Robert Sutherland Hall for a three-day conference centred on language revitalization. (Supplied Photo)

 

Faculty Artist Series building upon success

[Isabel Quartet]
The Isabel String Quartet will perform three concerts as part of the 2018-19 Faculty Artist Series at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. (University Communications)

Hear great classical music concerts in the wonderful acoustics of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts performed by faculty from the Dan School of Drama and Music and invited musicians.  

[Joel Quarrington]
Joel Quarrington

For the 2018-19 season, the annual Faculty Artist Series expands from four concerts to six. 

Most of the concerts are being held on Sunday afternoons at 2:30 pm and include three presentations by the Isabel String Quartet and three concerts by a variety of faculty performers. The latter concerts range from an event featuring local composers and visual artists, to a concert of two-piano music that also includes award-winning multimedia pieces, and ends a concert of French art song for baritone and piano. 

Of particular note are the first two concerts in the series. On Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 at 7:30 pm, the Isabel Quartet is joined by double bassist, Joel Quarrington.  Quarrington, currently principal double bassist of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, is renowned for his virtuosity and expertise. In addition to playing some solo Bach on the bass, Quarrington will join the quartet in a performance of a Dvorak Quintet – a beautiful work that is not often heard in a concert setting given its unusual instrumentation.

[Matt Rogalsky]
Matt Rogalsky

The second concert on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 2:30 pm features music by Matt Rogalsky and friends. Rogalsky, one of the winners of the inaugural 2017 Kingston Mayor’s Arts Awards, is a talented and innovative composer who has been involved with many community arts groups such as the Tone Deaf Festival and the Skeleton Park Festival. Rogalsky has invited Kingston visual artists Julia Krolik and Owen Fernley to collaborate on this concert. Rounding out the program will be a new work by Queen’s Music Professor Emeritus Kristi Allik that includes video by Robert Mulder. This concert will surely be a feast for both the eyes and ears.

Single ticket prices begin at $10 for students and $20 for adults ($16 for Queen’s faculty and staff), and subscribing to any three or more concerts can generate a savings of 25 per cent. 

More information about the concerts and ticket ordering, can be found at The Isabel website, or through The Isabel Box Office between 12:30-4:30 pm, Monday to Friday at 613-533-2424

Exploring art worlds

The "Art Worlds" pilot program is a partnership between the Smith School of Business and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

  • [queen's agnes etherington art centre art worlds mba students Jacquelyn Coutré]
    In the first session of Art Worlds: A User’s Guide, Jacquelyn N. Coutré delves into the masterpieces of The Bader Collection and historical European art. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
  • [queen's agnes etherington art centre art worlds mba students Jacquelyn Coutré]
    Ms. Coutré, the Bader Curator and researcher of European Art, incorporates the Artists at Work exhibition into a session of Art Worlds: A User’s Guide. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
  • [queen's agnes etherington art centre art worlds mba students Jacquelyn Coutré]
    MBA students ask Ms. Coutré questions, preparing for their own presentations later this summer. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
  • [queen's agnes etherington art centre art worlds mba students Tau Lewis]
    Stonecroft Artist-in-Residence, Tau Lewis, presents her work and process during a session of Art Worlds: A User’s Guide. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

This summer, alongside art camps and classes, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre is offering a new custom program for Smith School of Business students.

Art Worlds: A User’s Guide is a cultural enrichment series designed to provide MBA students with foundational knowledge about art, its history and purposes, and the systems through which it thrives.

Expanding on the Agnes’ Learning through Art initiatives, sessions took place in the galleries and in the David McTavish Art Study Room, augmented by a studio field trip and conversation with 2018 Stonecroft Foundation Artist-in-Residence Tau Lewis.

“This pilot program is designed to introduce the language of art, and to explore the art museum as a forum for ideas and shared encounters,” says Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes. “Through guided discussions and close examination of works of art, these students are gaining insight into how visual art circulates, inspires, and moves people. We want to empower these future business leaders to enjoy artistic culture at large, and to embrace the value of creative process in new ways.”

The program takes advantage of the Agnes collections and expertise to enrich the intense year-long MBA program. This collaboration between the Agnes and Smith was supported by David Saunders, Dean of the Smith School of Business, who sits on the board for the art centre.

“Strong business leadership is more than PowerPoints and numbers. Great leaders need to draw on both sides of the brain – the quantitative, analytical left side and the creative and intuitive right side,” says Dean Saunders. “This program, led by the excellent curators of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, challenges our students to literally see the world differently. I have no doubt they will be stronger leaders as a result.”

In the first session, Jacquelyn N. Coutré, Bader Curator and researcher of European Art, delved into the masterpieces of The Bader Collection to explore the enduring value of Old Master paintings and their high stakes at market. The exhibition Artists at Work: Picturing Practice in the European Tradition provided a setting for discovering the ways in which the history of art is constructed, curated and mobilized.

Sunny Kerr, Curator of Contemporary Art, built on that theme to talk about the ways artists create languages of process and form in a session culminating in an encounter with artist Tau Lewis in her Ontario Hall studio.

Other sessions included Alicia Boutilier, Chief Curator and Curator of Canadian Historical Art, discussing why people collect art and how taste is nurtured, mapping out the paths that artworks take from private homes to public collections, including the role of collectors in evolving museum mandates. Ms. Allen also mapped out big-picture forces and frameworks that shape the creation, presentation, and meaning of art today. 

In the final session, to be held July 12, the tables will be turned when program participants make presentations on artworks within a chosen scenario for their instructors and special guests.  

“Our MBA instructors often encourage us to seek out diverse experiences and flex the mental muscles that enable us to approach problems with a new perspective,” says Danilo Prieto (MBA'19). “As an engineer, I felt it was important to round out my skill set with this experience – to challenge myself to truly appreciate art and creativity and how it adds value to a society.”

The 16 students who completed this initial offering each received a certificate from the Smith School of Business to complement their studies.

Faculty are encouraged to explore bringing the power of art to their programs and courses: information is available on the Agnes' website.

Agnes artist-in-residence brings in the community

During her residency, Tau Lewis has spent time with pre-teen girls to help them explore their identity. 

[Tau Lewis artist-in-residence Agnes Etherington Art Centre Queen's]
Tau Lewis, the Agnes' 2018 Stonecroft Foundation Artist-in-Residence, is working out of Ontario Hall this summer. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is welcoming a Jamaican-Canadian artist to campus this summer.

Tau Lewis is the Agnes’s 2018 Stonecroft Foundation Artist-in-Residence. During her thirteen-week stay, which started in June and ends in September, Ms. Lewis is teaming up with Kingston-based Roots and Wings, a grassroots community group that works towards making space for racialized girls in Kingston.

Through Roots and Wings activities, girls are encouraged to explore their diverse identities and are provided with learning opportunities about social justice issues in a fun, engaging, and age-appropriate way. They are encouraged to teach and share their unique skills with each other, as well as the larger community through action on social justice issues.

“Getting to be a part of the Roots and Wings program was a great privilege for me,” Ms. Lewis says. “I always feel blessed to encounter children's artworks and the process by which they create them, because you'll rarely encounter a more honest kind of storytelling. I feel honoured to work with such a talented and diverse group of young women, and happy that I'm able to contribute to something that was crucial to me as a kid, and I think in some ways helped me to arrive to where I am now.”

The link between Ms. Lewis and Roots and Wings has a Queen’s connection – Ms. Lewis visited Queen’s in 2017 and was introduced to Yasmine Djerbal, a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies. Ms. Djerbal, along with various other community members including Lulama Kotze and Michelle LaMarche, co-founded Roots and Wings, and this collaboration was formed from their discussions.

Ms. Djerbal says the collaboration was a wonderful experience for the girls.

  • [tau lewis queen's university agnes etherington art centre artist-in-residence workshop]
    A group of local pre-teen girls were invited to participate in a workshop with Tau Lewis, the 2018 Stonecroft Foundation Artist-in-Residence at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
  • [tau lewis queen's university agnes etherington art centre artist-in-residence workshop]
    The workshop was offered in partnership with Roots and Wings, a grassroots community group that works towards making space for racialized girls in Kingston. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
  • [tau lewis queen's university agnes etherington art centre artist-in-residence workshop]
    On the wall behind Ms. Lewis, a sign says, "Earth without art is just Eh". (Photo by Tim Forbes)

“They were able to see and meet an artist that looked like them, that they could look up to, and maybe even aspire to become one day,” she says. “Our goal is to have our girls grow strong roots into our community, and create lifelong connections to people and organizations from which they will learn about social justice, identity, and culture, and collaborating with Ms. Lewis really exemplified the work we want to do!”

The exhibition Tau Lewis: New Work will be on view at the Agnes from August 25 through to December 2. Several programs are scheduled for fall including an artist talk; two star-studded panel discussions on Art and Black Canada; and an open workshop where Ms. Lewis will introduce her practice, drawing connections between her material choices and the thematic concerns of her work.

The Stonecroft Artist-in Residence program is generously supported by the Stonecroft Foundation for the Arts, the Queen’s University Department of Gender Studies through Katherine McKittrick, the Queen’s Arts Fund–Visiting Artist in Residence, and the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Art) Program.

For more information on Ms. Lewis and her work, visit http://www.taulewis.com.

Indigenous scholars visit Queen’s for year-long fellowship

The Faculty of Arts and Science has announced the recipients of its pre-doctoral fellowships for Indigenous graduate students.

This brand new opportunity, announced in February, was designed to recognize outstanding scholarship among four Canadian Indigenous PhD candidates. The initiative will provide each fellow with an annual stipend of $34,000 and up to $3,000 for research and conference travel. In addition, each fellow will be appointed and compensated separately as a Term Adjunct to teach a half-course (three unit) university course.

Following a positive response and many worthwhile applications, the Faculty decided to expand the initiative to include a fifth scholar.

“The widespread enthusiasm for the Indigenous pre-doctoral fellowships, coupled with the intensity of the response and the high quality of the applicants, was such that we decided to award five fellowships,” says Lynda Jessup, Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) within the Faculty of Arts and Science.

During their year at Queen’s, these five scholars will each teach a course within the Faculty of Arts and Science, engage with local Indigenous peoples and communities, broaden their networks, and complete their doctoral work to receive their degree from their home institution.

The recipients are coming to Queen’s from different universities the west coast to Ottawa, and represent five distinct Indigenous cultures. Keri Cheechoo, from Long Lake #58 First Nation, says she is “incredibly honoured” to have been selected as one of the recipients.

“Wachiye (that means ‘hello’). The many positive Indigenous initiatives being undertaken at Queen’s have much to offer in terms of building community and promoting reconciliation efforts, and I am pleased to be a part of that revitalization and growth,” says Ms. Cheechoo. “I remain grateful that the “rafters have been extended”, to quote the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation task force report, to welcome my Indigenous knowledge, my capabilities as a Cree scholar, and the ancestral teachings I bring with me. Meegwetch (thank you).”

The five scholars include:

 

[Scott Berthelette]
Scott Berthelette (Supplied Photo)

Scott Berthelette
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Queen’s Department of History
PhD Candidate, University of Saskatchewan

Scott Berthelette’s doctoral research examines how French-Canadian voyageurs and coureurs de bois were instrumental intermediaries between the French State and Indigenous Peoples in the Hudson Bay Watershed.

Mr. Berthelette is Métis. 

 

[Keri Cheechoo]
Keri Cheechoo (Supplied Photo)

Keri Cheechoo
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Queen’s Department of English Language and Literature
PhD Candidate, University of Ottawa

Keri Cheechoo's research questions what Indigenous women's stories reveal about public and customary practices, as well as the policies and practices of forced sterilization, and she uses an arts-based methodology in the form of poetic inquiry, along with an Indigenous conversational methodology.

Ms. Cheechoo is Cree.

 

[Jennifer Meness]
Jennifer Meness (Supplied Photo)

Jennifer Meness
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Queen's Cultural Studies Program
PhD candidate in the joint Communication and Culture program through York and Ryerson Universities.

Using Anishinaabe conceptual frameworks and methodologies, Jennifer Meness' research gathers stories of experiences with Gaa-dibenjikewaach and seeks to further understand these types of relationships through the social lens of powwow participation.

Ms. Meness is Algonquin.

 

[Evelyn Poitras]
Evelyn Poitras (Supplied Photo)

Evelyn Poitras
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Queen’s Department of Gender Studies
PhD Candidate, Trent University

Evelyn Poitras's research is on Nikawiy (mother) to Nitanis (daughter) narratives on the Nehiyaw Iskwew role in governance, leadership, and Treaty enforcement with particular focus on Treaty Four and Treaty Six.

Ms. Poitras is Nehiyaw Iskwew (Cree and Saulteaux).

 

[Adrianne Xavier]
Adrianne Xavier (Supplied Photo)

Adrianne Lickers Xavier
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Global Development Studies
PhD Candidate, Royal Roads University

Adrianne Lickers Xavier's research is an autoethnographic account examining the implementation of a food security initiative, "Our Sustenance," at Six Nations.

Ms. Lickers Xavier is Onondaga.

 

For more information on this new program, visit the Faculty of Arts and Science’s website.

Reflecting and reconciling

The annual staff barbecue marked National Indigenous Peoples Day through décor and a special art project.

  • [Queen's University staff bbq 2018 Jill Scott]
    It all starts with a plate, and in some cases with a bun, expertly served by Hospitality Services staff and university leaders such as Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) Jill Scott. (University Communications)
  • [Queen's University staff bbq 2018]
    From there, staff added their choice of burger, eggplant parmesan, or other entree options, along with side salad. (University Communications)
  • [Queen's University staff bbq 2018 cake daniel woolf]
    What meal would be complete without dessert? Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, with assistance from Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), hands a slice of cake to Nour Mazloum of he Office of the Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). (University Communications)
  • [Queen's University staff bbq 2018 grant hall]
    Hundreds of employees packed Grant Hall and the surrounding area as part of the annual Staff BBQ. (University Communications)
  • [Queen's University staff bbq 2018 reconciliation tree daniel woolf]
    Prior to entering Grant Hall, guests had the opportunity to fill out a leaf as part of a 'reconciliation tree', sharing their hopes for reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Among those who added their thoughts to the tree: Principal Woolf. (University Communications)

Grant Hall was all decked out in black, red, yellow, and white – the colours of the medicine wheel – for the annual Staff Barbecue, which this year coincided with National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Hundreds of staff and faculty packed the hall to celebrate and look back on the year past and enjoy burgers, eggplant parmesan, coleslaw, pasta salad, cookies, brownies, and other barbecue favourites.

There were several tributes to Indigenous Peoples throughout the lunch, including a special art project. Indigenous students and employees who are members of the Kahswentha Indigenous Knowledge Initiative (KIKI) brought in a ‘reconciliation tree’ which employees could contribute to.

Inspired by a similar Ontario government initiative, the tree is designed to encourage both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to share their hopes for reconciliation. Attendees at the barbecue were asked to complete the sentence, “My hope for reconciliation is…”, write their answer on a leaf, and add it to the tree.

Along with the décor in Grant Hall, the cake featured an Indigenous-inspired design. It included three symbols: a feather, which is considered sacred within First Nations culture; an infinity symbol, which represents the dual identity of Métis people as both European and First Nations; and an Inukshuk, which is an important symbol in Inuit culture.

In addition to being an opportunity for staff and faculty to catch up and look ahead to the summer, the annual Staff Barbecue also serves as an opportunity to gather non-perishable food items for the Alma Mater Society (AMS) Food Bank.

After the event, Hospitality Services assisted the Principal’s Office in donating all of the themed balloon bouquets and leftover unused slab cakes to the City of Kingston’s National Indigenous People’s Day event, which was still continuing for a couple of more hours at Confederation Park.

National Indigenous Peoples Day was established by the Canadian federal government to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. To learn more, visit the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada website.

Maintaining Mohawk identity

Queen’s University and Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na are partnering to deliver a certificate in Mohawk Language and Culture.

[Queen's University Mohawk certificate Callie Hill Nathan Brinklow]
Callie Hill, Director of Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Culture Centre, looks on as Nathan Brinklow, Lecturer in the Mohawk Language and Culture certificate program, speaks at the launch event. (Photo by Katherine Kopiak)

Language forms a critical part of identity. Canada’s Indigenous languages form not only part of the country’s cultural mosaic but also carry history and meaning for millions of people from coast to coast to coast.

Yet, of the 60 unique Indigenous languages recognized by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in Canada, all but one (Inuktitut) are considered critically endangered. A 2009 report from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) found that dozens of Indigenous languages in Canada were ‘near death’, and that Canada had the fifth highest number of endangered languages in the world.

In 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on the government and the higher education sector to increase their support for Indigenous language revitalization. The intent was to ensure the languages would be passed onto the next generation, and that credentialed programs would be created to educate others in these languages.

On National Indigenous Peoples Day 2018, Queen’s University announced a partnership with Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na which would see the two organizations work together to deliver a certificate program in Mohawk Language and Culture in the community of Tyendinaga.

“To move forward in a good way, it is imperative that we forge strong alliances – such as this partnership – to ensure that we as an institution are responding appropriately to the recommendations of the TRC and to the needs of local Indigenous communities,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “This certificate is distinctive in the way it provides training in both Mohawk language and culture directly to members of the Tyendinaga community, and I am proud that Queen’s is a part of this important initiative.”

Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na is based in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and is dedicated to the revitalization of the Mohawk language, culture, and worldviews.

“We have been delivering Mohawk language and culture courses in the Tyendinaga community since 2004,” says Callie Hill, Director of Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Culture. “What is new and unique about this certificate is our partnership with Queen’s University and fact that students who complete the certificate will be able to apply their credits towards a degree at Queen’s. These university credits are definitely an added bonus for our students.”

The courses will be delivered by Queen’s University’s Faculty of Arts and Science, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. This certificate will provide students knowledge of the Mohawk language while embedding the students in culturally rich learning experiences. Courses will introduce students to the many traditions, histories, and worldviews of the Mohawk people.

The certificate is intended to be completed over two years. Completing the course will involve both in-person instruction along with homework and some online learning.

Thanyehténhas (Nathan Brinklow) is Turtle Clan from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, and will be one of the certificate’s instructors. Mr. Brinklow also teaches Mohawk language courses at Queen’s, but he grew up without speaking or understanding Mohawk.

“I did sing hymns with my grandmother, which sparked my interest in the language leading to me learning Mohawk as an adult,” he says. “In my experience, language and culture are inseparable. Mohawk is a vivid language that allows the speaker to see how previous generations encountered and interacted with the world.”

This launch follows the creation of an on-campus Indigenous Languages and Cultures certificate program, focused on Mohawk, Anishinaabemowin, and Inuktitut languages and cultures.

For more information on this new program, visit queensu.ca/artsci/mohawk

New fund to support Indigenous art at the Agnes

The Dodge Family Foundation is helping the Agnes Etherington Art Centre learn more about its Indigenous art collection.

A new fund will help the Agnes Etherington Art Centre discover the history behind some of its most important artifacts in order to guide future collection building.

The Dodge Family Indigenous Art Collection Research Fund has been established with a generous donation from Chancellor Emeritus David Dodge (Arts’65, LLD’02) and his wife, Christiane (Arts’65), to support the gallery in developing a strategy to grow its Indigenous art collection as a powerful asset for research and learning at the university and to encourage fellow alumni, friends, and faculty to support Indigenous arts at Queen’s.

“Our Indigenous art collection has accrued over a long period, and as a result, it’s quite eclectic,” says Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. “Our knowledge about the collection is uneven. Some of the pieces we know a lot about, others very little. Research must be done to ascertain cultures of origin and materials.”

[Indigenous frontlet art gift 2010]
Kwakwaka'wakw or Ts’msyan (Tsimshian) artist, Frontlet, undated, wood, paint, abalone shell, metal and hide. Gift of Dr. Archibald Malloch, 1910. This frontlet was used in a stirring performance by Mike and Mique’l Dangeli, of the internationally renowned Northwest Coast Git Hayetsk Dancers, at The Isabel in 2016. (Supplied Photo)

Alicia Boutilier, Chief Curator and Curator of Canadian Historical Art, says the fund will allow the Agnes to connect with communities where objects originated, including Inupiaq, Yupik, and Athabascan communities of the northwestern subarctic region.

“We are inviting knowledge keepers from that region to work with us to review and engage with the objects to give us a better understanding of what we have that’s beyond a typical museum record,” says Ms. Boutilier. “With that knowledge, we’ll have a better sense of how to move forward — what we can exhibit, how we can expand it, how we can display it, how we can even store it.”

An example of the knowledge the gallery is aiming to expand upon was realized when the internationally renowned Northwest Coast Git Hayetsk Dancers visited the collection prior to their performance at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in 2016.

During their visit, one of the artists, Mique’l Dangeli, discovered a frontlet — a headpiece made from wood, paint, abalone shell, metal, and hide — made by a Kwakwaka'wakw or Ts’msyan (Tsimshian) artist she believed originated from her people. She shared that, in her culture, a frontlet is used in ceremonial dance and worked with the gallery to incorporate it into their performance. With the help of conservator Amandina Anastassiades, students in the Master of Art Conservation program constructed a cradle to ensure the piece would be protected during the event.

“We were especially interested in Mique’l Dangeli’s knowledge about the traditional use of the piece — which she described as a cultural being — given we had very little information,” says Ms. Allen.

In addition to cultural insights, the Agnes will consult with a range of experts to define its goals in relation to its Indigenous art collection. This will include developing a strategy to assess potential acquisitions with research and learning in mind.

“The addition of this fund will bring us access to extraordinary expertise to advance our collection in tandem with the growth across campus of Indigenous studies and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Implementation,” says Ms. Allen. “We need to discern where these welcome resources will be placed to ensure our work is sensitive and well-informed.”

The Dodges say their intention is to support that growing knowledge with the creation of the fund.

“Other Canadian, European and, to some extent, Inuit art has been looked at more closely and the knowledge about it has been developed over time,” says Christiane Dodge. “But, as far as I know, not that much knowledge is available about Indigenous art. It’s about time the University and the rest of the world looked at that. We hope that others will join in supporting this fund.”

Ms. Allen says the creation of a fund is timely.

“A gift like the Dodges’ is especially exciting because it meets the demands of the moment,” she says. “We’re at a time where, in order to move ahead, we need to cultivate the knowledge and participation of specific communities and there’s a cost associated with that. This is a visionary gift.”

For more information on The Dodge Family Indigenous Art Collection Research Fund or to donate, visit givetoqueens.ca

This article originally appeared on the Queen's Alumni website.

Queen's participating in Doors Open Kingston 2018

If you haven't visited the Queen's Solar Education House, the W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections, or the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, you can stop in on Saturday, June 16 as part of Doors Open Kingston.

Doors Open Kingston annually offers members of the public a glimpse inside Kingston's landmark buildings, including a number of Queen's facilities.

This year's theme looks at the Kingston women who have played an important role in the development of the city and the evolution of Canada. Some sites will focus on Kingston women leaders, artists, and visionaries who have made their mark on Canada – and whose legacies have helped shaped Kingston and the nation.

Participating Queen's venues include the Queen's Solar Education Centre, the W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collection, and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

To learn more about Doors Open Kingston, visit the Doors Open Ontario website.

Indigenous art proposal selected by Faculty of Law

Visitors to the Faculty of Law building this fall will see a unique Indigenous art installation.

[Hannah Claus and her proposal]
Hannah Claus showcases her proposal, which consists of wampum belts made of translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets and hung vertically from the ceiling of the Faculty of Law building. (University Relations)

“Words that are lasting,” an artwork by Montréal (Tiohtià:ke) visual artist Hannah Claus, has been selected as the winning entry in the Indigenous Art Commission competition held by the Queen’s Faculty of Law.

This goal of the initiative is to introduce Indigenous art into the Gowling WLG Atrium of the Faculty of Law, and is an important element of the law school’s multifaceted response to the Calls to Action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“This art installation will beautifully represent Indigenous legal traditions and reflect part of the commitment of Queen’s Law to respond to the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Report,” says Bill Flanagan, Dean of the Faculty of Law and chair of the commission. 

Ms. Claus’ vision involves a suspended art installation based on wampum belts that will hang from the ceiling in the law school's atrium airy expanse. Made from translucent purple-coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets, these laser-cut forms will interplay with the natural light that floods the atrium.

“I’m elated to have my project chosen as the artwork,” Ms. Claus says. “Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation-to-nation agreements. They represent legal documents as reflected in this distinct worldview. It seems a fitting acknowledgement, as Queen’s University is located on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.”

This sentiment resonated with the 12 members of the committee who chose the winning entry.

“The representation of wampum in the faculty is representative of the oldest agreements or contracts between not only Indigenous peoples and settlers, but amongst Indigenous peoples as well,” says committee member Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Director of the Office of Indigenous Initiatives. “It’s most appropriate given there are wampum agreements between Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, and so this work is representative of both groups of Indigenous peoples acknowledged as the original landholders.”

Ms. Claus is a visual artist of English and Kanien'kehÁ:ka / Mohawk ancestries and a member of the Tyendinaga Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. She teaches contemporary Indigenous art as a sessional lecturer at Kiuna, a First Nations post-secondary institution, in Odanak, Québec, and her artwork has appeared in exhibitions across Canada and the United States, as well as in Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, and Chile.

She is now at work creating “Words that are lasting” with a goal of installing it this fall. Later this summer, Ms. Claus and renowned Indigenous architect Douglas Cardinal, a member of the Indigenous Art Commission selection committee, will jointly record a video that will highlight and explore the themes embodied in her artwork.

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