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Indigenous Art on Campus

(Source: Hannah Kiviranta)

The Ring

A large-scale public artwork colloquially known as the “Ring,” was installed on campus in September 2021, honouring the Dish With One Spoon Territory, the land on which the university is built. Designed by Matthew Hickey and Jacqueline Daniel of Two Row Architect (external link) , the three-metre tall steel sculpture is located east of the Gould Street and Nelson Mandela Walk intersection. The sculpture emerged from the thoughtful and ongoing work of the university’s Truth and Reconciliation Strategic Working Group in collaboration with members of TMU’s Indigenous community.

The Ring’s graphics, made by small perforations, incorporate the Seven Grandparent teachings and their animal symbols: Humility, Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, Truth, Respect and Love. Surrounded by stars and the constellation Pleiades, these pictographs also depict the lunar moon phases. The Ring is oriented with the cardinal directions (North, South, East and West) so that the pathway through its opening faces east, representing creation and new beginnings; and west, representing knowledge and wisdom.

Manufactured by Mariani Metal Fabricators (external link) , the Ring is made of Corten weathering steel, a type of material that is less processed and more likely to change with its environmental conditions; its exterior has been left untreated deliberately to allow the weathering process to continue. The installation of such a prominent and permanent art piece on campus is one of many ways the university is working to implement recommendations from its  (PDF file) 2018 Truth and Reconciliation Report, which includes the important practice of acknowledging the traditional territory and presence of Indigenous peoples on this land.

Paisajes de Nosotros (Landscapes of Us) Mural

A large-scale mural entitled Paisajes de Nosotros (Landscapes of Us) was installed on campus in October 2022 to celebrate Indigenous placemaking. Located on the west-facing wall of Kerr Hall West at Gould St. and Nelson Mandela Walk, the mural was commissioned by the university as part of Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity (external link) , an expansive curatorial program led by the Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge (external link)  at OCAD University. Curated by Gerald McMaster, the mural is a collaboration between Indigenous artists Niap (Nancy Saunders), and Olinda Reshijabe Silvano who respectively hail from these two regions. The creation and commission of the mural has been a multi-year process in collaboration with the university’s public art committee and the Indigenous Space Sub-Working Group.

The 12 x 8 metre mural merges traditions, cultural legacies and insights from the Arctic and Amazon regions through the exploration of Indigenous ways of being, seeing, and the shared values that inform each artist’s work. The colour scheme of the mural embodies the ice, northern lights, Inuit cosmologies and symbolism of the North; while the bold graphics of ancient kené designs symbolize woven visualizations of plant songs that serve as a musical score for Shipibo-Konibo peoples of the Amazon.

Paisajes de Nosotros (Landscapes of Us) is the third public art piece recently installed on campus as part of TMU’s commitment to increase Indigenous placemaking within its  (PDF file) Campus Master Plan. Located on one of the most visible and central corners of TMU’s campus, the mural is one of many ways the university is working to implement recommendations from its  (PDF file) 2018 Truth and Reconciliation Report, which includes increasing Indigenous visibility at the university and honouring Indigenous history and cultures through symbolic gestures.