daphne Co-founders

Hannah Claus Skawennati Caroline Monnet Nadia Myre

21.06.2023 - 19.08.2023

Commissaire / Curator
Michelle McGeough

And Now Our Minds Are One brings together for the first time the artistic visions of the four founding members of daphne; Hannah Claus, Caroline Monnet, Nadia Myre, and Skawennati. The range of material, mediums, and artistic visions expressed in these works speak to the notion of place and our relationships and responsibilities as Indigenous people to the natural world and each other. These works celebrate and mourn these relationships. There is a recognition of shared history and lived experiences within settler colonialism, but it is not a story of victimry. These works stand as a testament to how Indigenous women are and continue to be the centre of our communities. 

The Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen (Words Before All Else) is a protocol that is a reminder of the relationship human beings are meant to have with all of creation and our responsibilities to uphold these relationships with respect and humility. [1]  For the Onkwehón:we, this relationship was formed when Skywoman fell from the heavens and brought this land, that we know as Turtle Island, into being. The creation of our world was accomplished through the cooperation and help of all creation. The recitation of Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen is a reminder of the obligations that we have to all living beings and a recognition that our survival is dependent upon these relationships. The words “and now our minds are one,” spoken following each greeting and acknowledgement in the protocol, is a recognition that we are a part of this covenant, and all our actions should reflect this.

Skawennati’s futuristic rendering of the Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen is spoken by the artist’s avatar xox, inKanien’kéha and the two languages of colonization: English and French. In cyberspace, new worlds are possible, as Skawennati asserts the primacy of the Kanien’kéha language, and the other languages become silent by the end of the address. Her use of a female avatar xox reminds the viewer of women’s central role in Indigenous societies before colonization and asserts women’s continued presence and power in new worlds.

Recognizing that we are on the threshold of a new world is the subject of Echo of a Near Future. Caroline Monnet’s monumental photograph presents a compelling intergenerational portrait of Indigenous women. Each woman in the image has a presence that defies a voyeuristic gaze. The regalia they wear is fashioned from construction material, suggesting a narrative that expresses an idea of home and the making of a home. The photograph speaks not only to the future but to an empowered manifestation of the present and past as the intricate laser cut designs on these futuristic garments are beadwork patterns passed down to current generations from the Anishinaabe matriarchs of Monnet’s family. 

Through our matriarchs, we trace the continuous lines that connect one generation to another. Continuous lines are reinforced by the memories and stories shared; through these communal histories, the connections from one generation to another are solidified. Nadia Myre’s sculpture entitled Rita connects two Indigenous women: Myre’s grandmother, Rita, and late Algonquin artist Rita Letendre. While Myre states that this is not a homage to these two women, it is a recognition of their influence on her life and artistic practice. Rita is part of an ongoing series of works that Myre refers to as experiments in painting with clay. Based on photographs taken by Myre of sunrises and sunsets, she shares that these clay abstractions are like vessels and, as such, are capable of holding memories and desires. 

Hannah Claus’s installation teyoweratà:se (twisting winds) evokes nature’s beauty and power. Here Claus captures the energy and tension created when opposing forces converge. Claus manifests the invisible in a very tangible and powerful way, capturing the tension created by the anticipation of the moment. It is terrifyingly beautiful. While we may not understand the science, we are all too familiar with the aftermath that is left in the wake of this meteorological phenomenon. teyoweratà:se is one of the many manifestations of the air we breathe; when we enter this world, our first act is breathing in this life force, and it is our last act when we transition into the next.

The Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen reminds us of our responsibilities and place within the creation. Settler colonialism has attempted to disrupt these connections, whether our relationship with the natural world or with each other. However tenuous these connections are, we know that our survival as a people is dependent on these relationships.   

  [1] Words that come before all else: Environmental philosophies of the Haudenosaunee. Cornwall Island, Ont.: Native North American Travelling College, 2000.  page 8


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daphne operates on unceded lands. We are proud to be a part of this urban island territory, known as Tiohtià:ke by the Kanien’kehá:ka and as Mooniyang by the Anishinaabe, as it continues to be a rich gathering place for both Indigenous and other peoples.


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