*UPDATED – March 20, 2023 with photos from the event.
On March 20, we held the unveiling ceremony for the new ‘Conversations and Stories’ sculpture, by Indigenous artist David General, outside of Joseph Brant Museum, as well as took an art walk through Spencer Smith Park to tour the nine Indigenous art pieces and the Orange Crosswalk part of the Bimose Agaming — Walking Along the Lake Event and Spring Equinox Celebration.
Thank you to everyone who came out to participate, to talk about Indigenous artwork and storytelling, and thank you to the dedicated city staff and urban Indigenous residents who helped make this happen.
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*Please see below a news release issued by the City of Burlington.
Burlington, Ont. — March 15, 2023 — The City of Burlington’s public art program, in collaboration with local Indigenous Peoples, is inviting residents to join an Indigenous Art Walk and Spring Equinox Celebration. The event will be held on Monday, March 20, 2023, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Gazebo in Spencer Smith Park.
Residents are invited to discover the Orange Crosswalk at Lakeshore Road and Nelson Avenue and nine Indigenous artists’ creations throughout Spencer Smith Park. The final piece, Conversations and Stories by David General, will be unveiled at Joseph Brant Museum.
“These 11 Indigenous commissions honour and celebrate the work of local First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. I encourage everyone to join us on March 20 to learn about the artists, their culture and ceremonies as WhiteEagle guides us in an opening prayer and walk along the lake in Spencer Smith Park to Joseph Brant Museum.
“This meaningful collection of Indigenous art for Spencer Smith Park is very important: It creates a more beautiful and meaningful space for everyone and helps to remind us of the land we’re on. I’m grateful to the work of these artists and the collaboration with local Indigenous peoples in helping us with this project and important celebration.” — Angela Paparizo, Manager of Arts & Culture, City of Burlington
11:30 a.m. – Indigenous Art Walk, Spencer Smith Park Gazebo
Gather at the Gazebo in Spencer Smith Park for an Opening Prayer with WhiteEagle, followed by the Art Walk of the nine Indigenous pieces, crosswalk and ceremonial fire. Arrive at Joseph Brant Museum for noon.
Noon to 1 p.m. – Conversations and Stories Sculpture Celebration, Joseph Brant Museum
Join local Indigenous Peoples including Chief Laforme for a Smudging Ceremony, Opening Prayer and music to celebrate Bimose Agaming and the sculpture Conversations and Stories by David General. Sample traditional Indigenous cuisine as the celebration event wraps up with a travelling song.
About Walking along the Lake
The City of Burlington received a non-repayable contribution of $100,000 from the Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association (HHBRTA) to create an Indigenous Art Walk in Spencer Smith Park, designed to celebrate and honour the work of First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. This funding was part of the Government of Canada’s Tourism Relief Fund, delivered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). HHBRTA received $5 million from FedDev Ontario to help local tourism organizations and businesses safely welcome back visitors, recover from the impacts of the pandemic, and prepare for future growth. A granite sculpture, Conversations and Stories, by David General, also received support through a donation from Dan Lawrie.
“Reconciliation is a journey walked by all Canadians. Highlighting Indigenous Peoples through art installations roots communities and helps them grow as they learn their shared history together. Our Government is happy to support the Indigenous Art Walk in Spencer Smith Park as it showcases local artists and attracts visitors to learn more about one another.” — the Hon. Filomena Tassi, Minister Responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
“Honouring Indigenous artists, the City of Burlington’s Bimose Agaming | Walking along the Lake project provides residents and visitors with the opportunity to appreciate, learn and reflect. Our Government recognizes the importance of supporting opportunities for people to connect with nature and gain a deeper understanding of our country’s history.” — the Hon. Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children & Social Development & Burlington MP
Innovative New Experience and Product Development Award Nomination
The City of Burlington’s Walking Along the Lake was nominated for the Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association’s (HHBRTA) Innovative New Experience and Product Development Award. The award recognizes a tourism business/organization within the Hamilton Halton Brant Region that enhanced their business during pandemic times by developing a new or enhanced tourism product or visitor experience to appeal to the local tourism audience in pandemic times.
Last summer, First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists were invited to propose artwork that has now been installed as vinyl wraps on a series of nine large electrical boxes located in Spencer Smith Park on Lake Ontario in Burlington. Nine commissions of $2,000 each were available.
This project links Spencer Smith Park with other key downtown arts and cultural destinations including Joseph Brant Museum and the Art Gallery of Burlington.
The Art Walk begins with an Indigenous themed crosswalk: this Orange Crosswalk was installed to serve as a permanent reminder of Burlington’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. This prominent location at the intersection of Lakeshore Road and Nelson Avenue is an entrance to Spencer Smith Park, with direct connections to the Art Gallery of Burlington and Spencer’s at the Waterfront.
From here, visitors may travel east or west along the waterfront promenade. The electrical boxes are located along the main path and in the park. Heading west, the art walk will end at Joseph Brant Museum, where artist David General has created a large-scale sculpture, Conversations and Stories.
About the Artists
Bronson Jacque – Halifax, N.S.
Bronson Jacque (he/him) is an Inuit painter from Postville, Nunatsiavut, NL, recognized for his highly detailed oil portraits. Jacque began pursuing art seriously at age 16 and is proud to be part of Labrador’s art scene, alongside his artistic family. Jacque’s works are known for their dreamy quality; a loose, hazy naturalism that is born of his own experience as a nearsighted child. Jacque’s work has been featured in numerous publications including Nunatsiaq News, the CBC and the Inuit Art Quarterly.
Candace Lipischak – Otterburne, Man.
Candace Lipischak (they/them) is a multidisciplinary artist and Métis workshop facilitator. Born and raised on Treaty1 territory, they are inspired by nature and their French Red River Métis-Polish background. Lipischak is an avid hunter/gatherer. Their company, Fat Daug (short for Father/Daughter), offers unique and organic antler jewelry, available online and at the Winnipeg Art Gallery Quamajuk.
Self-taught, their visual artwork is connected to outsider art, illustrating unconventional ideas and materials such as antler, recycled tin and miscellaneous parts, Lipischak connects art with environmental and social issues, consumerism, the land, truth and reconciliation, and nature’s powerful force. Recycling, reducing their carbon footprint, and applying the phrase ‘what can I do with this?’ has expanded their mind in creating art using items that co-existed with nature.
Since 2015, Lipischak has had both solo and group exhibitions. Their work is part of various collections, private and corporate, such as TDS Law, Ceridian, as well as the Niverville Community Resource and Recreation Centre
Cody James Houle – Brantford, ON.
Cody James Houle (he/him), also recognized as Stalking Heron, is an Anishinaabe artist. Raised in an unsafe home in the small military city of North Bay, Ontario, Houle had to generate his own sense of security and sustain his survival through a deeply intimate connection to nature. Being an artist is his calling and passion but being a father to daughter, Phoenix Raine, and showing her what it means to be an Anishnaabe’kwe is his ultimate priority in life. Growing up with intergenerational trauma and colonialism, Houle felt shame and guilt about being Native; now, his art allows him to show pride and strength in being an Indigenous man.
A self-taught painter, Houle is drawn to abstract visualizations and animate florals. It is the woodland paintings that resonate most for Houle and his sense of his culture. Houle believes it is important to share art to inspire hope and encourages anyone (especially youth!) to create for the sake of creating.
Douglas Fox – London, ON.
Doug Fox (he/him) is an Ojibway painter using the Woodland School traditions. He cites Benjamin Chi-Chi, Richard Bedwas and Norval Morrisseau as his influences. Fox is from the Wikwemikong Indian Reserve in the north-eastern section of Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Canada. The Woodland Style of Ojibwe native painting originated from Manitoulin Island. Its most famous member is Norval Morrisseau.
Fox became a full-time commission artist for worldwide native art collectors such as Proctors and Gamble, Castle Entertainment and private individual collectors.
He has exhibited as Royal Bank of Canada BCE Place, Miami Art International and other prestigious shows.
Jerri Ellis-MacDonald – Hamilton, ON.
Jerri Ellis-MacDonald (she/her) is a Sayisi Dene First Nations Freelance Artist, Tattooist, Musician, and proud Mother. Self-taught to do realism portraits using graphite pencils at the age of 16 and completing a tattoo apprenticeship at the age of 19, Ellis-MacDonald has always strived to reinvent herself and grow as an artist. Over the past 12 years, Ellis-MacDonald has worked with various mediums, such as acrylic, graphite, digital painting and professional tattooing. She has had her artwork featured in Xalt magazine (2012) and on Bleeding Edge Tattoo Supply cartridge boxes (2022).
Having grown up in the 90s during a time of radical change in feminism, it is not unusual to see that the strong female role model has become a common theme embedded in her artwork. But whether it be nature, psychology, films, music, family or the human expression, Ellis-MacDonald is always finding beauty and inspiration within the world around her.
Mark Nadjiwan – Lions Head, ON.
Mark Nadjiwan (he-him), a self-taught artist working primarily in pen and ink, is inspired by his First Nation heritage. His unique style fuses Woodland and Northwest Coast Native art traditions. In his work, the Woodland’s characteristic x-ray and wavy line motifs are interwoven with the clean form lines and geometry that typify Northwest Coast art. Nadjiwan’s First Nation roots are grounded in the Georgian Bay and Lake Superior regions. He and his artist wife, Patricia Gray, continue to live in the traditional territories of the Anishinabek Nation on the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula, and he is a member of Neyaashiinigmiing Unceded First Nation.
Nadjiwan’s work addresses the environmental and political challenges facing our modern times. He has been pleased to be the Indigenous member of a small national team of academics, writers and artists lobbying to have the whiskyjack (Canada Jay) named as the National Bird of Canada. Nadjiwan’s work can be found in venues and private collections across Canada, the United States and Europe.
Marvin Terry – Oakville, ON.
Marvin Terry (he/him), an Oakville-based artist, is known for his past work as an editorial cartoonist working for several Canadian newspapers, magazine and websites over the years. He now focuses a majority of his time exploring his Indigenous (Ojibwe) roots through art.
Moses Lunham – Forest, ON.
Moses Lunham (he/him) (Anishnaabe) is a First Nations artist from the community of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. Realizing his “gift” at a young age, Lunham loved to create and make art. “In my youth, my parents would teach me how to create many traditional crafts. They would take me to Pow Wows where I was inspired by what was taking place there. I’d leave a Pow Wow feeling the need to create art for the next one. My parents were my first teachers and they always made sure I had resources at hand for me to explore my creativity, to connect to nature and my culture.”
Lunham studied graphic art and design at Fanshawe College and exhibits his work throughout southwestern Ontario and on the Pow Wow trail throughout the summer months. In 2015, Lunham was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for his art from the Anishnaabek Nation. “My work is a reflection of my people (Anishnaabe), their spirituality and ideology.”
Conversations and Stories, 2022 Granite Sculpture with etched text and symbols
David General – Six Nations of the Grand River, ON.
I was born on Six Nations of the Grand River and raised on Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. I’ve often mentioned my dual citizenship. Conversations and Stories is my homage to our similar history, development and resilience. We owe immense gratitude to past and present generations of speakers whose time, energy and commitment have retained, protected and revitalized our respective languages.
Conversations and Stories poses two female figures walking to an event where they will share lessons their garments bear and answer questions the gathering put forward.
Our traditional knowledge, ceremonies, teachings, governance and worldviews provide much for us to talk about – much to share. We celebrate the Thanksgiving Address, Seven Grandfather Teachings and the Medicine Wheel as gifts of guidance. Onkwehón:we and Anishinaabe Peoples are taking voices once considered in crisis and setting them on a path as timeless and as enduring as granite.
I am fortunate to have daughters and grandchildren committed to learning and teaching Kanyen’kéha (Mohawk language). Fortunate to have created several outdoor works of art that carry Onkwehón:we and Anishinaabe languages future generations recognize and be inspired learn and express.
Niá:wen Kowa. Chi Migwetch.
David General has past experiences as a Journeyman Ironworker, Elementary School Teacher, Arts and Cultural Officer with the federal government, Co-Chair Society of Canadian Artist of Native Ancestry, Elected Chief of the largest First Nation in Canada (by population), Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame Inductee and Indigenous Mentor/Advisor, OCAD University, Toronto. Combining Indigenous themes, classic materials (marble, bronze, granite) and modernist presentations, General has developed a distinctive style well-suited to large outdoor artworks.
This sculpture was made possible in part by the generous donation of Dan Lawrie
Orange Crosswalk, 2022 – Site of Burlington’s First Orange Crosswalk, Unveiled Sept. 30, 2022
Burlington’s first Orange Crosswalk was created in consultation with Indigenous residents and local communities to serve as a permanent reminder of Burlington’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. This crosswalk has been painted orange to acknowledge the strength and resilience of residential school survivors and honours the children, their families and their communities.
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