Always Vessels

September 11 - November 12, 2017

Today, many contemporary Indigenous artists are investigating and incorporating traditional modes of making in their practices.

This exhibition explores processes of learning, making and the transfer and continuity of knowledge. By acknowledging artists’ desire and need to learn customary skills and techniques that in the past were met with resistance or repressed, this exhibition explores the different ways makers are seeking out and uniquely applying this knowledge.

This exhibition features nine contemporary Anishinaabek and Haudenosaunee artists who draw from multiple forms of training, and whose media and subjects range widely – from glass beads to photography, and from language to land. Yet their processes remain primarily informed by the contemporary translation of traditional knowledge as material and embodied practice.

Their works offer insights into the tremendous range of skills and techniques unique to the Anishinaabek and the Haudenosaunee and the ways that knowledge, in its tangible and intangible forms, can at once embody, carry and hold meaning.

As Native people, when we think about our belongings—things made by our hands, minds and voices—whether they are found in an exhibition, a book, in museum storage, out on the land or in a family member’s living room, we’re never really just thinking about them as things.

They are, rather, meaningful objects, songs and stories that have the ability to carry, hold and transmit memory across time and space. Metaphorically, they are always vessels.

Curated by

Alexandra Kahsenni:io Nahwegahbow

Artists in the exhibition

Barry Ace, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Carrie Hill, Nadya Kwandibens, Jean Marshall, Pinock Smith, Natasha Smoke Santiago, Samuel Thomas, Olivia Whetung


Supported by an Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Curatorial Projects grant


Always Vessels

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This is a touring exhibition

Rodman Hall Art Centre, Brock University, St. Catharines

20 January – 11 March 2018