these are our monuments
these are our monuments
these are our monuments is a gathering of artwork that honours the histories and memories embedded in the traditional waterways of the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik. The title of the exhibition comes from “Poem 10,” by Mi’kmaw poet Rita Joe, in which she expresses a desire for the reader to reject colonial understandings of historical records and monuments and emphasizes the importance of holding reverence for the lands and waters that connect us throughout Mi’kma’ki and Wabanaki Territory. Using photography, installation, beadwork, sound, and poetry, the artists generate counter-cartographic narratives that honour the kinships and knowledge systems held within these waterways that sustain us.
Image: Patricia Bourque, Honour, 2016, archival inkjet print, courtesy of the artist.
About the artists
rudi aker is a wolastoqew auntie, artist, organizer, and curator from St. Mary’s First Nation in Sitansisk (Fredericton, New Brunswick) and, for now, a guest on Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyaang (Montreal, QC). Their artistic and research practices center relationality, placehood, and visibility with a focus on the traversal of (un)colonized spaces through conceptions of counter-cartographies and barrier-breaking. Their ongoing research-creation project, topographies of a homeplace, explores the boundaries of cartographic practice through beaded spatial representations – hand-held topographical maps accompanied by historically and personally informed auto-writing on site-specific experiences. This work, in various iterations, has been included in Space, Place, Home (Louise-et-Reuben Cohen Art Gallery), Tactics for Staying Home in Uncertain Times (MSVU Art Gallery), HOST (third space gallery), and was recently presented at window winnipeg. rudi maintains an emerging curatorial practice and their past projects include: the finissage for the Indigenous Curatorial Collective’s Tiohtià:ke Project, presented in September 2019 at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art; in the Spring and Summer of 2020, rudi acted as one-third of the curatorial team for the 5th edition of the Bienniale d’art autochtone contemporain presented in Tiohtià:ke.
Patricia Bourque is a Canadian Mi’kmaw photographer from Charlottetown, PEI. Her work is driven by her love and passion for Mi’kmaw traditional cultural events, live music performances, community events, Island life, and the beautiful landscapes and characters around her. She currently sits on the board of directors for The Guild and the East Coast Music Association. Her photographs are part of several private and public collections in PEI, including the collection of the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited at The Guild, the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Eptek Art & Culture Centre, and the Owens Art Gallery.
Lindsay Dawn Dobbin is a Kanien’kehá:ka-Acadian-Irish water protector, artist, musician, storyteller, curator and educator who lives and works in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of Lnu’k (Mi’kmaq). Dobbin was born in and belongs to the Kennebecasis River Valley (from the Mi’kmaq word Kenepekachiachk, meaning “little long bay place”), a tributary of the Wolastoq (“beautiful river”), in the traditional territory of the Wəlastəkwiyik and Mi’kmaq. Dobbin has lived throughout Wabanaki Territory, mostly around the Bay of Fundy, as well as in Yukon, Kwanlin Dün territory. Dobbin’s relational and place-responsive practice is a living process—following curiosity rather than form, the way of water, with the intent of understanding and kinship. As a human being with intersecting identities as well as personal and ancestral displacement and trauma, their practice honours direct experience as a way of coming to (un)know while listening for the shared beingness, health and resilience in meeting waters. Their transdisciplinary work in sound art, music, performance, sculpture, installation, social practices and writing places wonder, listening, collaboration, play and improvisation at the centre of creativity, and explores the connection between the environment and the body, engaging in a sensorial intimacy with the land and water. Their practice aims to bring attention to the natural world as witness, teacher and collaborator in learning—making visible and audible our interdependence with the larger web of living beings and systems in which human life is embedded.
Meagan Musseau is L’nu from Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk territory (Bay of Islands, western Newfoundland). She nourishes an interdisciplinary arts practice by working with customary art forms and new media, such as basketry, beadwork, land-based performance, video and installation. She focuses on creating artwork, dancing, learning Mi’kmaw language, and facilitating workshops as a way to actively participate in survivance. Musseau’s work has been exhibited nationally at Open Space, Victoria; grunt gallery, Vancouver; Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre, Edmonton; AKA Artist-run, Saskatoon; Ace Art Inc., Winnipeg; VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine, Montreal; and internationally at Canada House, London, UK. She has performed at Spirit Song Festival (2019), Bonavista Biennale (2019), and #THIRDSHIFT (2017), as well as in landscapes across Turtle Island. Her work has been featured in publications such as Canadian Art, Border Crossings, and Visual Arts News. Musseau’s practice has been supported by awards such as an Aboriginal Arts Development Award, First Peoples’ Cultural Council (2016), the Atlantic Canadian Emerging Artist Award, The Hnatyshyn Foundation (2018), and the Sobey Art Award longlist (2021).