Where Beavers, Deers, Elks, and Such Beasts Keep
The piece centers around the idea of the Wampum belt as a record of indigenous histories and the concept of “A Dish with One Spoon,” which is a saying that the indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes region/North-Eastern Canada have lived by for many hundreds of years - the expression is used to describe how the land can be shared to the mutual benefit of all its inhabitants - moreover how the sharing/exchange of wampum belts between indigenous communities/with European settlers acted as a record of a diplomatic agreement and a mutual recognition of sharing land, resources and overall cooperating as a larger community. These agreements of peace were encoded on wampum belts. This practice of continually forming or renewing peace treaties is a commendable and strategic action to ensure good relations. It also imparts a global message for people who continue to fight over territory with no end. It proves that peace is achievable but must be continually reavowed. The idea is that the “dish” represents the shared land, and the “spoon” symbolizes the individuals living on and using the resources from the land in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation. The artwork employs indigenous themes and aesthetics combined with a non-traditional storytelling modality to impart this knowledge. The work is an act of cultural re-appropriation. Here, Nadia calls attention and give agency to indigenous art forms and styles while demonstrating gratitude for the foundations of this wisdom, the immense depth of knowledge, cultural importance, and vast histories which are expressed in and through the art forms which has served as core modes of expression for indigenous communities since time immemorial. The work is truly handmade labour of love and dedication to her craft. Here, more than twelve thousand ceramic beads have been painstakingly shaped by hand, with over 60 unique, custom formulated glazes producing a range of tones, textures, and colours. Together they form the vast expanse of beadwork that includes this unique, site-specific wampum. Each bead is hand-stitched with a combination of synthetic and metal beading wire - combinations of beads form single tiles, which are then arrayed in sequence to create the final pattern seen by hotel guests. With the full array of beaded tiles assembled, the entire composition is mounted to a felt backing which, like a canvas, has been stretched over a rigid wooden framework with a mesh grid superimposed. Using the same synthetic wire, the beaded composition was carefully stitched and affixed to this mesh grid for long-term stability while allowing the beads the flexibility to undulate under the weight of the piece and provide the work an additional depth in three dimensions. Altogether, the assembly of twelve-thousand-plus handmade beads stands nearly 100 inches tall and occupies a significant presence within the Hotel’s three-meal dining space.
Nadia Myre (born 1974) is a contemporary visual artist from Québec and an Algonquin member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinaabeg First Nation, who lives and works in Montréal. For over a decade, her multi-disciplinary practice has been inspired by participant involvement as well as recurring themes of identity, language, longing and loss.View Bio