Skawennati. Teiakwanahstahsontéhrha’
We Extend the Rafters. Children’s exhibition.

Skawennati, Becoming the Peacemaker (Iotetshèn:’en), machinimagraph from The Peacemaker Returns, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Skawennati, Becoming the Peacemaker (Tekanawí:ta), machinimagraph from The Peacemaker Returns, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Skawennati, The Peacemaker Returns, still, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Skawennati, The Peacemaker Returns, still, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Skawennati, The Peacemaker Returns, still, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Skawennati, The Peacemaker Returns, still, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Skawennati, The Peacemaker Returns, still, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Skawennati, Kahentéhshon Meets Trump, machinimagraph from The Peacemaker Returns, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Skawennati, The Peacemaker Returns, still, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

2017.10.28 - 2018.01.20

Skawennati

Family opening on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 1:00 pm

My name is Iotetshèn:’en, and I live on Earth—usually. Our planet is united under the Great Law of Peace. […] Earth has been attacked by more than one visitor from outerspace, and our harmonious way of life is being threatened. So for now, my home is this spaceship. We are travelling to the first meeting of the five nearest, friendliest planets in our galaxy. The goal of our mission is to create a union that will protect us from attacks and also help us share our very different knowledges. I have been invited on this historic voyage because I have a special power…

Thus begins The Peacemaker Returns, a futuristic saga set in 3025 yet firmly rooted in the ancestral Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) confederation story and featuring historical figures such as Tekanawí:ta, Jacques Cartier, and a president addicted to Twitter! This new machinima—an animation-style movie produced on the virtual reality platform Second Life—is the core of the children’s exhibition Teiakwanahstahsontéhrha’ | We Extend the Rafters, designed specifically for kids aged 5 to 11 by Skawennati. Audiences of all ages are invited to (re)discover some traditions in the artist’s “museum of the future,” an original installation. A guided tour and a collective workshop in the form of an innovative board game will encourage young and mature viewers alike to (re)learn history from an Indigenous perspective and imagine how all people can contribute to the world of tomorrow, reminding us how History, like any other narrative, is a construction defined by those who tell it.

Produced in partnership with Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC) and Obx Labs, this exhibition benefits from the financial support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications and the City of Montreal under the Agreement on the Cultural Development of Montreal, as well as the Caisse de la Culture of the Mouvement Desjardins. This initiative is also made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between Canada’s community foundations, Foundation of Greater Montréal, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.

Youth and contemporary art

While children’s literature and theatre have been well established for decades, contemporary art exhibitions aimed at youth audiences remain rare.

VOX’s 2013 foray into this new genre, Jonathan Plante’s One-Eyed-Rabbit, was a huge success. Two years later, Clément de Gaulejac’s Siren Songs was another great experience. That favourable reception speaks to a real need for children, but also to the importance of getting them used to visiting visual-arts presentation venues. Seeking to better serve the next generation of audiences, VOX is back with a third youth-oriented project with Mohawk artist Skawennati.

VOX’s youth exhibitions are designed by well-known artists wishing to try their hands at creating works aimed at a specific age group. They are produced as collaborations between VOX, the artist and an expert mediator. As stand-alone projects, the exhibitions are also meant to be of interest to a broader audience encompassing all ages.

Cultural mediation

The exhibition Teiakwanahstahsontéhrha’ | We Extend the Rafters provides VOX with an opportunity for experimentation and innovation, as we introduce new forms of cultural mediation activities aimed at, among others, school groups, families and recent immigrants.

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Extending the rafters

The bilingual title of the exhibition—in Kanien’kéha (Mohawk) and in English—refers to the action of “extending the rafters” of a longhouse. These traditional Indigenous structures would be lengthened to make room for new generations or even other families. The title chosen by the artist therefore encompasses the broader notion of acceptance and inclusion of differences, in the spirit of Respect, Unity and Peace.

Touring

This exhibition will be available for touring as of March 2018.

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Biography

Skawennati

Skawennati makes art that addresses history, the future, and change from an Indigenous perspective. Born in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory, she holds a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she is based. She is Co-Director of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC)…

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