In anticipation of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, 2022, Londoners are encouraged to visit the second floor of City Hall to view a collection of local Indigenous art on display throughout the month of September.
Each piece represents various themes that speak to Indigenous worldviews and experiences. These pieces include:
The Medicine Wheel created by Brenda Collins
The Medicine Wheel, or Healing Circle, is an Anishinaabe cultural icon. The inner circle of this piece represents the circle of life, including all of humanity, the four seasons, and the four human needs (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual).
This mosaic also illustrates the seven directions: east, south, west, north, everything above, everything below, and the mirrors which show your innermost thoughts and feelings. The small squares represent people interacting with the environment.
All parts of the wheel are dependent on each other, and together they represent respect, harmony, and balance. The coloured tiles that border this piece represent the four sacred smudging medicines: tobacco, cedar, sage, and sweetgrass.
The concept artist Brenda Collins likes most about The Medicine Wheel is when you look at it, or touch it, you know that you belong. All cultures, all ages, all creatures, all plants are one and no one culture, age, creature, or plant is more important than another. We are one.
This piece was created using glass tessera, wood, glue, and grout. Brenda was born in Blind River, Ontario. Her grandmother and mother are Sheshegwaning First Nation.
Following its display at City Hall, The Medicine Wheel will be on display at the London Arts Council office.
Traditional Métis Ceremonial Smoking Hat by Annette Sullivan
The Traditional Métis Ceremonial Smoking Hat is an item traditionally worn during Métis community gatherings, feasts and ceremonial events. Métis ceremonies involve sacred fires where smoking hats are worn by delegates and spokespeople. While these hats were traditionally worn by men, that aspect is no longer applicable. The Traditional Métis Ceremonial Smoking Hat was created using woollen felt, beads, mother of pearl and fabric materials.
The artist behind this piece, Annette Sullivan, is Métis and additionally carries First Nation and Inuit blood and heritages. Annette belongs to the Muskrat Métis of the St. Clair River community. Annette's native name is maaskowishiiw fleur.
As a self-taught bead artist, for over a decade Annette has researched beadwork styles of the native community that Annette belongs to. The images on Anette’s art come during dream-states and are then put down on canvas or beaded into wearable regalia. It is Annette’s belief that in carrying forward Indigenous traditions, Indigenous youth can be proud of their heritage.
Following its display at City Hall, the Traditional Métis Ceremonial Smoking Hat will be on display at the Tourism London Welcome Centre on Wellington Road South.
Giizhik Medicine Earrings created by Chandra Nolan
Giizhik, or cedar, is considered a sacred medicine to Indigenous people, with healing properties used during fasting and sweat lodge ceremonies as a form of protection and cleansing, and as a medicinal tea. Artist Chandra Nolan feels a sense of connection to her Indigenous roots when creating traditional crafts, harvesting materials, and doing beadwork. In creating wearable pieces, Chandra hopes to promote meaningful connections to Indigenous culture. The first pair of earrings were created using cedar, porcupine quills, deerskin, glass beads and crystal elements, and the second pair using horsehair, cedar, glass beads, deerskin and crystal elements.
Following its display at City Hall, the Giizhik Medicine Earrings will be on display at the Tourism London Welcome Centre on Wellington Road South.
The public is welcome to visit the second floor of City Hall to view the collection, which will be on display until September 30, 2022. This public display was created by the City of London, the London Arts Council and Tourism London. Londoners are also encouraged to visit the Tourism London Welcome Centre on Wellington Road South to view a larger, permanent collection of local Indigenous artwork.