Truth, reconciliation and art

Arts, Culture & Heritage

Three indigenous women create dialog through art.
Education is the New Bison, by Val Vint

KC Adams, Jaimie Isaac and Val Vint – with the help of project curator Dr. Julie Nagam – are bringing their unlocked creative visions to The Forks. They’re using public art to recognize the integral role truth and reconciliation plays in our cultural conversation.

Vint, whose piece is called Education is the New Bison, believes art plays a key role in the process of truth and reconciliation in our communities.

“Unless you understand what happened, unless you understand the history, it’s difficult to understand what is going on in our society right now. When we think about murdered and missing Indigenous women, or Indigenous people living in poverty, there’s a reason for that,” Vint says.

Education is the New Bison will look like a Bison, which is a significant animal to Indigenous cultures, and it will look as if it’s constructed from books.

Friendship, by KC Adams

“Bison, at one time, was the animal that provided everything: food, shelter and tools. Now education is what does that,” Vint says.

Adams, whose project is called Friendship, tackles the historical relationship between Indigenous communities and settlers.

“My piece will really be talking about the past. There were good moments, and there were definitely bad moments. It should get people thinking about that dialogue and relationship. It asks the question of ‘How do we move forward?’” Adams says.

Isaac, whose piece will be called The Eighth and Final Fire, hopes these three art pieces contribute to a larger societal change.

“Public art is really important in so many different ways. What I hope happens with this work is that people will learn a little bit about our history and think about their own responsibility and their own stake in the future,” Isaac says.

The Eighth and Final Fire, by Jaimie Isaac

The $500,000 investment 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. The three artists are the co-creators of Niimaamaa, which was also supported in part by The Foundation and is located at Niizhoziibean (formerly South Point) at The Forks.

The artist’s pieces are set to unveil at The Forks in 2020 and 2021.

This story is featured in the Summer 2019 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

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