Queen's Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

Proposals for reconciliation

Three Indigenous artists presented their art proposals Monday as part of a project that will bring First Nations art into the Queen's Law atrium.

(March 13, 2018)

  • Hannah Claus with art proposal

    Hannah Claus showcases her proposal at Monday's open house. It consists of wampum belts made of translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets and hung vertically from the ceiling. (University Communications)

  • Hannah Claus explains her art proposal

    Hannah Claus' proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (University Communications)

  • Rebecca Baird with her art proposal

    Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (University Communications)

  • Rebecca Baird explains her art proposal

    Rebecca Baird speaks to visitors at Monday's open house. If her proposal is successful, the feather she has designed would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (University Communications)

  • Wally Dion with his art proposal

    Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.” The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (University Communications)

  • Wally Dion explains his art proposal

    Wally Dion speaks to Norman Vorano, Curator of Indigenous Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, about his proposal at an afternoon reception. (University Communications)

  • Dean Flanagan and Douglas Cardinal examine the art proposals

    Bill Flanagan, Dean of the Faculty of Law, and Douglas Cardinal, renowned architect and member of the Queen's Faculty of Law Indigenous Art Commission, examine the proposals. (University Communications)

When visitors pass through the Queen’s Law atrium this fall, they will see the Faculty’s commitment to reconciliation writ large. A piece of art will be installed to help increase the visibility of Indigenous art and culture, promote the recognition of Indigenous territory on campus, and create a welcoming space for Indigenous Peoples.

The question remains: will the art take the form of an eagle feather, or of wampum belts?

As a committee evaluates the three options they have received in response to their recent request for proposals, the artists had a chance Monday to make their case directly to the Queen’s community.

Artists Wally Dion, Rebecca Baird, and Hannah Claus were on campus to demonstrate their ideas during an open house and a public reception. Dion’s and Claus’ ideas involve installing large vertical wampum belts in the Gowling WLG Atrium, while Baird has suggested suspending a large feather from the rafters.

The purpose of Monday’s events was to solicit comments from the Queen’s community regarding the proposals via an online survey. The comments will inform the committee’s final decision, which will be revealed later this month.

“Thank you to everyone who came out to our two public events, and to those who have taken the time to register their comments,” says Dean Bill Flanagan, chair of the committee. “This project will help our Faculty contribute to the important cause of reconciliation in Canada, with the inclusion of a prominent work of Indigenous art that reflects historical and contemporary issues relevant to Indigenous Peoples and law.”

The goal is to complete the art installation this fall. For more information, visit the Queen’s Law Indigenous Art Commission webpage.

By Phil Gaudreau

The Story So Far