Isaac’s work is the final piece in a collection of public art installations at The Forks supported by The Winnipeg Foundation
For immediate release: Jaimie Isaac’s new art installation, The Eighth and Final Fire, was officially unveiled today at The Forks. The piece interprets an Anishinaabe prophecy foretelling past and present experiences and posits futurisms on Turtle Island. It is located on the river side of Oodena, near the MMIWG monument.
“I worked on visually transcribing and interpreting a concept and prophecy that was discussed and shared with my grandmother, Dr. Elder Mary Courchene,” Isaac says. “Through geometric triangular symmetry and repetition, I express a vision of the prophecy in representing each of the eight fires, elemental power, generations, time and relationships. I’m so honoured to have the opportunity to share this in such a significant place on Treaty 1 territory.”
According to Elders, the prophecy warned of a time when humanity will come to a crossroads. Having respect and the will to make significant change for all peoples, plants and beings co-habituating, the seventh fire will lignite the eighth and final fire; the eternal fire of peace, love and survival.
The installation is constructed out of corten, grinded and brushed steel, and is various sizes ranging from three to 10 feet.
“We at The Forks are honoured to facilitate and showcase a collection of public art, curated and created by Indigenous women that reflects our history and connects us to our future. The Eighth and Final Fire from Jaimie Isaac is a strong reminder that we must continue along this road of healing and reconciliation,” says Sara Stasiuk, CEO, The Forks North Portage. “We’re grateful to The Winnipeg Foundation for supporting this four-piece art installation that celebrates local artists, creates discussion, and encourages reflection and growth.”
This is the fourth public art installation commissioned by The Winnipeg Foundation for The Forks. The other installations are by Val Vint and KC Adams and were supported by project curator Dr. Julie Nagam.
“If we are to create an equitable community, we must educate ourselves about our history and make space for all voices,” says Sky Bridges, CEO of The Winnipeg Foundation. “Learning about truth and reconciliation and the relationships between Indigenous and settler communities is an integral part of this process. We are excited to support public art installations that promote this learning journey.”
The first public art installation commission by The Foundation was Niimaamaa, which is a word recognized by Cree, Ojibwe, and Métis speakers as “My mother.” Cocreated by Isaac, Vint and Adams, Niimaamaa is 30-foot stylized sculpture of a pregnant woman that represents motherhood, Mother Earth and new beginnings. It is located at Niizhoziibean (formerly South Point).
The next public art installation was Chi-kishkayhitamihk si te li neu Biizon (Education is the New Bison) by artist Val Vint, which opened in June 2020. A 12-foot bison constructed out of steel replicas of books, it recognizes the importance education, truth and reconciliation play in our cultural conversation. It is also located on Niizhoziibean.
The third installation, Tanisi keke totamak …. Ka cis teneme toyak (What can we do, to respect each other), officially opened in August. It examines reconciliation by highlighting the opportunity for harmony between Indigenous and settler communities. The 11-foot-tall installation is fabricated out of steel and concrete, with internally lighted flames. It is located at the Peace Meeting Site, close to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
The investment for the works of art comes as part of The Winnipeg Foundation’s ongoing Green Spaces Strategy, which has seen the revitalization of parks and other public spaces throughout the downtown, including the Saint-Boniface Belvédère.
LuAnn Lovlin, CFRE
Director of Communications & Marketing, The Winnipeg Foundation
The Winnipeg Foundation is For Good. Forever. We help people give back to our shared community by connecting generous donors with Causes they care about For Good. We’re are an endowment-based public foundation, so gifts are pooled and invested, and the annual earnings are distributed back to the community Forever. Formed in 1921, we are proud to be the first community foundation in Canada.