Indigenous Artwork in London, Ontario. shared ‘worldviews and experiences’ – London


Local Indigenous art was on display at City Hall in London, Ontario throughout the month of September in anticipation of the second National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on Friday.

Led by the London Arts Council and Indigenous London Arts, each piece “depicts different themes that speak to Indigenous worldviews and experiences”.

“The meaning and purpose of this project was that we made a commitment that the city needed to be really serious about building relationships with Indigenous communities,” said Eunji Yi, Executive Director of the London Arts Council.

“By bringing the indigenous artworks created by indigenous artists, we will pay tribute to the indigenous culture in September, which was the reason for the project,” she added.

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  • London, Ont. unveils plans to honor 2nd Annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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The exhibition features a traditional Métis ceremonial smoking hat by Annette Sullivan, an item traditionally worn at gatherings, festivals and ceremonial events of the Métis community.

Traditional Ceremonial Métis Smoking Hat by Annette Sullivan.

Indigenous London Art

Giishik [cedar] Medicine earrings created by Chandra Nolan were also on display and are believed to be sacred medicines of the indigenous peoples, “with healing properties used during fasting and sweat lodge ceremonies as a form of protection and purification, and as a medicinal tea”.

Giishik [cedar] Medicine earrings by Chandra Nolan.

Indigenous London Art The exhibition also features The Medicine Wheel, created by Brenda Collins, a 69-year-old Metis artist who also identifies with her mother’s culture from Odawa of the Shuguang First Nation Reservation on Manitoulin Island.

According to Collins, the inner circle of her piece represents the cycle of life, including all of humanity, the four seasons and the four human needs; “physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually”.

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Also known as “The Healing Circle,” Collins said her play is “an Anishinaabe cultural icon.”

“It encompasses everything I think is important, which is inclusion of everyone,” she said.

“No matter who you are, what culture you belong to, how old you are, everything and everything about you is contained in this medicine wheel. So I particularly like it because I feel like it reaches all cultures around the world.”

The medicine wheel created by Brenda Collins.

The medicine wheel created by Brenda Collins.

Indigenous London Art

Collins explained that her mosaic also represents seven directions: east, south, west, north, “all above, all below, and the mirrors that show your innermost thoughts and feelings,” as the small squares represent people interacting with the environment .

Collins has commissioned over 100 medicine wheels in Southwest Ontario made from glass bricks, wood, glue and mortar, the one at City Hall numbered 99.

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“I think it’s imperative for all of us to be aware of the past and the truth of the past so that it never repeats itself, and that goes for different cultures too,” she said. “Knowledge is in all directions of the medicine wheel, so I think the community needs to understand that once you step into that sacred circle, release as much trauma as possible and allow yourself to begin healing.

“Open your heart and mind to all the valuable knowledge that different cultures can offer you,” Collins added.

From its current location at City Hall, The Medicine Wheel will be relocated to the offices of the London Arts Council.

The traditional ceremonial Métis smoking hat and Giizhik medicinal earrings are later displayed at Tourism London’s Welcome Center on Wellington Road South.

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However, to create a more permanent exhibition, the N’Amerind Friendship Center and the London Arts Council have worked together with the city to develop a two storey, seven panel Indigenous mural to honor the legacy of the Residential School survivors and the children, who never returned home.

The mural, titled “We Are Still Here,” directed by Mike Cywink, an Ojibwe educator and visual artist, is scheduled to be unveiled Friday at 2 p.m. at the N’Amerind Friendship Center

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September 30 #NationalDayforTruthhandReconciliation is a few days away. Join us at The Green in Wortley Village as we gather to honor our loved ones, past and present. The gathering will include singing, dancing, prayer, information booths and more. #LdnOnt

— Atlohsa (@atlohsa) September 27, 2022

To mark the second National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, the Atlohsa Family Healing Services is hosting a gathering on the green in the village of Wortley to honor Indigenous culture as well as past and present relatives with drumming, jingle dress dancing and smoke dancing, language workshops and more.

The event began with a community bonfire at 7:00 am and the gathering will take place on Friday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

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