My Daily Art

Joi T. Arcand. ᓂᓄᐦᑌ ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐘᐣ (ninohtē-nēhiyawān), 2017.⁠ Neon. Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2018-11.⁠

Participating in the WAG’s INSURGENCE/RESURGENCE exhibition in 2017, Joi T. Arcand chose Cree syllabics in neon and other materials to explore the revitalization of the Cree language.

The artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in central Saskatchewan addresses the consequences of the interruption of intergenerational language-learning as a result of the residential school system and other colonial actions in Canada. Rendering her language hyper visible in locations throughout the WAG (on the stone steps, gallery walls, and in the elevators), the works underlined how the public presence of language connects to acknowledging Indigenous peoples.

Powering up the blue neon sign, Ninohte-nehiyawan filled the gallery space, creating light, shadows, and reflections in adjacent walls and spaces. Visitors could not escape the glow of Arcand’s message declaring her desire to speak Cree.

Hear from the artist in this video created by CBC Arts and CBC Indigenous.

While the WAG is temporarily closed, your collection is still here for you. Stay connected with the art through this series of daily posts from our Director & CEO, Dr. Stephen Borys, continuing until the Gallery reopens. Follow along on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter, or visit our stories section.

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