Our Origin Story

Indigenous artists have been dreaming of their own  artist-run centre in Montreal for a long time.  At first, we needed such a space because Indigenous arts were not being shown at artist-run centres. Happily this has begun to change. However, while we have been welcomed, as exhibiting artists and board members,  to the nearly 60 artist-run exhibition centres in the province of Quebec (at least 12 in Montreal), there remains a need for a space that is determined by Indigenous artists and their values; a place that creates a safe and generative context to present our work as well as discuss our issues, strengthen our relations, and share our cultures

daphne was founded on April 1, 2019 by Hannah Claus, Nadia Myre, Caroline Monnet and Skawennati, four Anishnaabe and Kanienkhá:ka artists based in this city and connected to its urban Indigenous communities as well as to their own families and territories, and national and international art communities.

Our name was inspired by the revered Anishinaabe artist, Daphne Odjig (1919- 2016), who also created an Indigenous artist-run space, in Winnipeg in 1971. Like her, we are making a place for ourselves and our peers to exhibit our work, to gather to take part and contribute to the important conversations that are taking place across Turtle Island.

daphne’s Mandate:
The mandate of daphne as an Indigenous artist-run centre in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/ Montreal is to promote contemporary Indigenous art and artists through exhibitions and related programming. We favour critical, respectful exchange with our various communities, peers and audiences to advance a culture of peace.


Hannah Claus
Photo credit : Elias Touil

Hannah Claus is a Kanien’kehá:ka / English transdisciplinary artist whose practice-based research engages with the idea of space shaped by language, material culture and place as transversal living concepts. She employs Onkwehonwenéha [Indigenous methodology] to critique dominant colonial narratives. A 2019 Eiteljorg Fellow and 2020 Prix Giverny recipient, Claus’ installations belong to various public collections, such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Eiteljorg Museum, the North American Native Museum (Zurich, CH), the Musée des beaux arts de Montréal, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and the City of Montreal. Claus currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Conseil des arts de Montréal (2018 –) and has worked in varying capacities on the boards for the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective (2013 – 2018), Centre d’artistes Optica (Montreal, 2004 – 2007) and A-Space (Toronto, 1998-2001). She was hired full-time as an Assistant Professor at Concordia University in Tiohtià:ke [Montreal] in 2020. Claus was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick and has lived in New Brunswick and Ontario. Since 2001, she lives and works in Tiohtià:ke. She is a member of the Tyendinaga Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.

Caroline Monnet
Photo Credit : Sébastien Aubin

Caroline Monnet is a multidisciplinary artist from Outaouais, Quebec. She studied Sociology and Communication at the University of Ottawa (Canada) and the University of Granada (Spain) before pursuing a career in visual arts and films. Her work has been programmed internationally at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), TIFF (CAN), Sundance (US), Aesthetica (UK), Cannes Film Festival (FR), Museum of Contemporary Art (Montréal), Division Gallery (Montréal, National Art Gallery (Ottawa), Whitney Biennial (NYC) and Toronto Biennial 2019. In 2016, she was selected for the prestigious Cinéfondation residency in Paris. Her work is included in numerous collections including Quebec Museum of Fine Arts, National Art Gallery, RBC Royal Bank, and Museum of Contemporary Art Montréal. She is based in Montréal and represented by Division Gallery.

Nadia Myre
Photo credit : Elias Touil

Nadia Myre is an Algonquin  member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinaabeg First Nation. Her multi-disciplinary practice has been inspired by participant involvement as well as recurring themes of identity, language, longing and loss. She is known for work that weaves together complex histories of Aboriginal identity, nationhood, memory and handicraft.

©Concordia University, photo by Lisa Graves

Skawennati makes art that addresses history, the future, and change from her perspective as an urban Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) woman and as a cyberpunk avatar. Her early adoption of cyberspace as both a location and a medium for her practice has led to groundbreaking projects such as CyberPowWow and TimeTraveller™.  She is best known for her machinimas—movies made in virtual environments—but also produces still images, textiles and sculpture.

Her works have been presented in Europe, Oceania, Hawaiʻi, China and across North America in exhibitions such as “Uchronia I What if?”, in the HyperPavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale; “Now? Now!” at the Biennale of the Americas; and “Looking Forward (L’Avenir)” at the Montreal Biennale. They are included in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the National Bank of Canada and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, among others. Skawennati is represented by ELLEPHANT.

Skawennati has been active in various communities. In the 80s she joined SAGE (Students Against Global Extermination) and the Quebec Native Women’s Association. In the 90s she co-founded Nation to Nation, a First Nations artist collective, while working in and with various Indigenous organizations and artist-run centres, including the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal and Oboro. In 2005, she co-founded Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), a research-creation network whose projects include the Skins workshops on Aboriginal Storytelling and Digital Media as well as the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. Throughout most of the teens, she volunteered extensively for her children’s elementary school, where she also initiated an Indigenous Awareness programme. In 2019, she co-founded centre d’art daphne, Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal’s first Indigenous artist-run centre.

Born in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory, Skawennati belongs to the Turtle clan. She holds a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she resides.

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.


site design by Sébastien Aubin