The Faculty of Law is in the second phase of a public art call for an Indigenous artist to design, fabricate and install a permanent artwork for the Gowling WLG Atrium of the Faculty of Law, Queen’s University. The Indigenous Art Commission is part of the Queen’s Law response to the need to further the cause of Reconciliation by increasing the visibility of Indigenous art and culture and the recognition of Indigenous territory on campus. The aim of this commission is to create a welcoming space for Indigenous peoples in the Faculty of Law, and to help promote awareness around historical/contemporary issues relevant to Indigenous peoples and law.
The Project Committee has shortlisted three artists: Rebecca Baird, Hannah Claus, and Wally Dion.
The artists presented their proposals at the Faculty of Law on March 12 at a public open house, followed by a reception. Comments were solicited through an online survey, and were passed on the Project Committee, who will make the decision on the project that will be installed in the atrium. The selected proposal will be announced in late spring.
A summary of each project proposal is below.
Project Title: + kihewataniy (Eagle Feather, Cree language)
+ kihewataniy, honored by Indigenous peoples, is a symbol of truth, power and freedom, included as part of the reconciliation initiative has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada.
+ kihewataniy constructed of durable styrene, the eagle feather image details will be digitally printed upon both sides of the styrene construct.
+ kihewataniy provides a compelling focus point central to the Faculty of Law’s lobby both day and night. This enduring image will establish a connective pride of place within both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities served by the faculty and broader community.
Project Title: words that are lasting
I propose to create a suspended installation based on wampum belts that will hang vertically from the ceiling. Made from translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets, the laser cut forms will engage with the natural light in the atrium. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. They represent legal documents as reflected in this distinct worldview. It seems a fitting acknowledgement, as Queen’s University is located on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.
Project Title: It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.
This project is rooted in the traditions of the wampum belt and its cultural and historical importance in law making/ treaty keeping for the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples with settler groups of North America. The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. All six wampum belts are constructed using recycled computer circuit boards that are painted with acrylic enamel paint (auto paint) then sewn together with steel wire. The piece is just over 23 feet in length.