Path of Resilience presents new works by Maria Hupfield, Nadia Myre and Skawennati in selected locations along the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne. While each artist is informed by her Indigenous heritage, their individual bodies of work address a multiplicity of concerns that result in a diversity of aesthetic expression, across a wide variety of media and forms. This presentation of commissioned works is an assertion of the vitality of their practices as well as a celebration of their collective commitment to sharing rich perspectives that are stimulating for the eye as well as the mind. As an ensemble, the works in this exhibition speak to the inter-related concepts of time, memory, history, and affirmation.
Maria Hupfield mixes dynamic everyday contemporary references that are grounded in the body and informed by her Anishinaabe Heritage. In concert with this approach, KA-POW!, consists of two bespoke benches, conceived in direct dialogue with the trees behind Square-Victoria metro. Since 1866 this area has been one where people could gather and it is still frequented by office workers, tourists and residents alike. As the artist describes, “the word KA-POW! speaks to the language of action, force, movement, breath and sound.” Referencing lightning bolts, geometric star blanket patterns and comic book speech bubbles this work is a social sculpture that encourages interaction between our selves, public space and the natural world. In keeping with Hupfield’s interest in the role of the audience and their sensorial engagement with her work, KA-POW! offers a vibrant place to contemplate, discuss and play amidst the bustle of a busy city.
Through an engagement with individual and collective stories, Nadia Myre weaves and stitches together a netting of intimacy through her multidisciplinary practice. histoire revenue an installation conceived for this site is based on the story of Marie-Joseph Angelique, an enslaved black woman, whose attempt to flee her owner was eventually thwarted. In 1734 she was charged with setting fire to her mistress’s home, which burned down a major part of Montreal’s merchant’s quarter on rue St-Paul. Marie-Joseph was tortured, convicted and hanged for arson on June 21st of that same year. Her story is one that begs repeating as it not only exposes the reality of slavery in Quebec but also raises questions about power and voice. But rather than a victim of injustice, many prefer to see Marie-Joseph Angelique as a symbol of freedom and resistance. Through the use of sound, light, natural materials and the landscape of the site itself, Myre grounds this crucial historic event.
In her practice, Skawennati explores the slippages of time and space. She employs on-line virtual environments to create machinimas, or digital movies, that address history and raise questions about authenticity and tradition while projecting powerful representations of Indigenous people in the future/now. Working in the digital realm offers her freedom and control to riff on her imaginings of what a world could be. The Celestial Tree is taken directly from one of her most recent machinimas, She Falls for Ages, a sci-fi feminist retelling of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) creation story that takes place in a post-race, post-capitalist world. Designed and fabricated in the materials and construction of a city traffic sign, The Celestial Tree commands our attention. As a beacon towards the pathway up the mountain, this work invites us to climb up, to gaze into the heavens and to imagine what our utopia could be.
Each work on The Path of Resilience proposes the activation of a temporal mode. Maria Hupfield’s KA-POW! exuberantly summons us into being actively here, now. Nadia Myre’s histoire revenue returns us to a difficult and controversial part of our past. Skawennati’s The Celestial Tree compels us to always dream beyond. What we are offered is an invitation to connect, enlivening an interaction between ourselves, the history of our city, the land it inhabits and our desires for its evolution. Playful and contemplative, these works are a manifestation of living and presence.
Where and how to get there
People of all ages are welcome to view the works along Path of Resilience free of charge.
– KA-POW! by Maria Hupfield: Victoria Square, south of Saint-Antoine St. West
– histoire revenue, by Nadia Myre: in the garden of Saint Patrick’s Basilica
– The Celestial Tree, by Skawennati: at Pine Avenue West and McTavish St.
Currently based in Brooklyn New York, Maria Hupfield is from Canada, and a member of the Anishinaabe Nation at Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario. Selected for the SITELines Biennial SITE Santa Fe 2016, she received national recognition in the USA from the Joan Mitchell Foundation for her artist-sewn industrial felt sculptures earning a Painting and Sculpture Grant. Hupfield’s work traveled across Canada for the exhibit Beat Nation: Aboriginal Art and Hip Hop and has shown at the Museum of Arts and Design New York, Toronto Power Plant, and 7a*11d International Performance Festival. Her project Artist Tour Guide was commissioned by The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, New York with an iteration at The McCord, Montreal Quebec Canada. In 2015 Hupfield designed a nine foot birchbark style hunting canoe out of industrial felt to be assembled and performed in Venice Italy over three consecutive evenings for the premiere of Jiimaan. Her recent traveling solo exhibition, The One Who Keeps on Giving, opened the 30th Anniversary season of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto in partnership with Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal; Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax; and Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris.
Nadia Myre is an Algonquin member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation whose practice is rooted in collaborative processes as a strategy for engaging in conversations about identity, resilience and politics of belonging. Recent accomplishments include an artist-in-residency at the McCord Museum culminating in her exhibition Decolonial Gestures or Doing it Wrong? Refaire le chemin (2016), winning the 2014 Sobey Art Award, and commissions for new work: Oraison/Orison (galerie Oboro, Montreal, 2014), Formes et Paroles (Musée Dapper, Senegal, 2014), and Sakahàn (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 2013). As well as having participated in international biennales (Shanghai 2014, Sydney 2012, and Montreal 2011), Myre’s work is held by corporate and public collections and may be found on permanent exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Canadian Museum of History, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and the National Gallery of Canada.
Born in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, Skawennati holds a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she is based. Her pioneering new media projects address history, the future, and change and include the online gallery/chat-space and mixed-reality event, CyberPowWow (1997-2004); a paper doll/time-travel journal, Imagining Indians in the 25th Century (2001); and TimeTraveller™ (2008-2013), a multi-platform project featuring nine machinima episodes. These have been presented in Venice, New Zealand, Hawaii, Ireland and across North America in major exhibitions such as Now? Now! at the Biennale of the Americas; and Looking Forward (L’Avenir) at the Montreal Biennale. She has been honored to win imagineNative’s 2009 Best New Media Award as well as a 2011 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. She is Co-Director, with Jason E. Lewis, of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), a research network of artists, academics and technologists investigating, creating and critiquing Indigenous virtual environments. She also co-directs their Skins workshops in Aboriginal Storytelling and Digital Media. Her work in is included in both public and private collections.
Cheryl Sim is Curator and Managing Director at DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art as well as an artist, musician and academic researcher. Stimulated by politically and conceptually engaged works across a variety of forms and genres, her current curatorial research interests include the diaspora condition, screen theory, political economy, clothing as a marker of identity and the use of music in contemporary art. Recent exhibitions include Pièces de résistance by Yinka Shonibare MBE and Modern Piano Music by Ed Atkins. Cheryl completed a PhD in the études et pratiques des arts program at the Université du Québec à Montréal in 2015.
Promenade Fleuve-Montagne is a 375th anniversary legacy project linking two of the city’s most iconic features: the St. Lawrence River to the south and Mont Royal to the north. Both a guideway and a unique invitation to explore, this 3.8 km pedestrian walkway offers up a succession of distinctive experiences that reveal the emblematic heart of Montreal. The Promenade not only boasts new greenery and safe, pedestrian-friendly rest areas and amenities, it also features an ongoing program of cultural and community activities presented in cooperation with Promenade collaborators. Check out the urban action and join in the summer activities!
Dedicated to art in all its forms, Phi is a multidisciplinary arts and culture organization that cultivates all aspects of creation, development, production and dissemination. Phi is at the intersection of art, film, music, design and technology. Through eclectic programming and a strong emphasis on content creation, Phi fosters unexpected encounters between artists and audiences. Headquartered at the Phi Centre in Montreal Canada, Phi was created by Director and Founder Phoebe Greenberg.
Photo: Sébastien Roy