December 10, 2020 - February 27, 2021
Kamotaan is an installation of new works by artist Faye HeavyShield. A member of the Kainai Nation and fluent speaker of the Blackfoot language, HeavyShield has created an installation of sculptural, photo based objects inspired by time spent in the Esplanade’s Burkitt Collection of Indigenous artifacts from the Kainai, Piikani, and Amskapi Nations. The pieces in this exhibition are not direct references to the objects in the collection. Rather, they are a reflective response to her experience visiting with these ancestral items.
During her visits with the collection, HeavyShield felt as though she were visiting kin, even though she had not met these family members as they physically existed two generations ago. She explains, “There remains a connection and an obligation strongly felt, that I greet and pay my respects while visiting with these objects.” For the artist these are sacred objects, part of paying her respects meant not using any imagery from the Burkett collection directly. Instead, she worked with imagery of land from her home, a decision inspired by nostalgic thoughts of kin that surfaced during her creative process.
For HeavyShield, this project does not end with the completion of these works or the exhibition. It has inspired a family homecoming. She explains, “This project will continue in a proposed gathering to take place next summer. My granddaughter will lead our family in a hide-tanning workshop. Word of this has already grown and friends made through the Burkitt collection and through art have expressed interest in attending and/or donating hides for this homecoming workshop.”