Past Exhibitions

Ludovic Boney
Constructive Interference

Curated by Hannah Claus & Nadia Myre
presented by daphne with imagineNATIVE at A Space Gallery, Toronto
September 24, 2019 - November 2, 2019

The term “constructive interference” describes the effect of a source sending out pulses of energy that results in the amplification of waves or ripples, whether water or sound. In the exhibition Constructive Interference, Ludovic Boney’s installations amplify the effect of our bodies in the spaces he has created. By extension, we can think about the affect of our actions and reactions, and how these play out both individually and across our society. He directs our attention, our movement and our bodies through his installations to highlight how momentary fragments connect to constructed symphonies of experiential ephemera.

Grounded in memory, the installation Why So Many Ties? is inspired by interactions between the artist and his mother, who each time she gives something to her son, regularly re-uses one of the cheap plastic bags she has on hand, but always finalizes the act by tying the bag using a double knot. These plastic shopping bags are tied so tight, that Ludovic then has to rip them apart to retrieve what is inside. This ritual between mother and son speaks to the preciousness of gifting and goods; the pleasure to give and receive, yet also the mild frustration of having to accept the idiosyncrasies of what is. The artist has purposefully repurposed and translated these ties, these bundles, these bags for this installation, neatly and cleanly cutting out and cutting away, reducing and elevating the ubiquitous plastic skin both physically and aesthetically.

A slice of fabricated landscape: thirty to fifty pine planks elevated from the floor, are laid out in a path that fills the gallery but begins at nothing and leads to nowhere. The interest is not in the destination but in the experience. On either side of the path, integrated to the planks, are thousands of thin rods, six feet high, each crowned with remnants of plastic shopping bags, their coloured logos like the blooms of strange flowers, bulrush-like reeds or the nautical flags of a regatta.

The installation exists as a sculpture in its materiality. The thick pine planks speak of history and civilization as it visually transitions through material hierarchies of wood, metal and plastic. However, it truly comes alive when the viewer engages with the path the artist has prepared for them. As one steps on to the path, the planks creak and bend beneath the body’s weight. The field of rods and plastic forms shift and shiver with each step to trace out the movement from the source. Boney destabilizes the viewer, as his installation literally lifts them out of their physical groundedness and into a place surrounded by sound and stimuli. Once into the middle of the landscape, a recorded soundscape begins, mixing into the immediate physical experience. This audio component, created by distorting and enhancing actual sounds from the installation, both amplifies and frames reality, reminding us of the chaos that can result from just one step.

Under the Catkins, which won the Quebec Arts Council’s 2018 Artwork of the Year Award for the Chaudiere-Appalaches region of Quebec, is comprised of nearly 5000 brightly glazed elongated ceramic slip-cast birch seed pods (also known as catkins), suspend from drop ceiling tiles, like the ones commonly found in office spaces. Placed on the floor, in the centre of the room, is an evergreen wreath, its fresh pine smell permeating the air. Beyond the dizzying optical effect created by the vibrant feast of colour, which, from a distance, might appear to be a swarm of insects in stasis, a topology of clouds, or a floating reverse topography, these dancing ceramic seed pods attached to an office ceiling are at once appeasing, mesmerizing and ridiculous. Seductively playful, materially rich, and evocative of multiple readings, one might wonder how this art gallery/white cube grew such a fascinating tree, or whether we are living in a birchless future, and have imagined what its fruits might be. Or is it simply a celebratory occasion of our enduring adaptive intelligence? These pods, spinning to celestial rhymes, like whirling silk ribbons, like fancy dancing, speaking to our survivance as Indigenous people, and the wreath, a pillow to comfort our heads, a space to gather around, pointing to the continuance of life.

Boney likes to take disparate experiences and mash them together. His interest lies in creating absurd yet transcendent moments in which we might experience alterity; a hyper consciousness of the ways in which we have built our world (both physically and intellectually) as we are forced, with our bodies, to navigate his spatial constructs. In tandem, is an interest in replication and substitution, in the altering and shifting of materials to create meaning. His drive sits in the transformative magic of pragmatism, in the here and now, as we have always done, as people, nations and cultures that survive. Above all, Boney places the awe of the human experience in this world, as a pivotal point. He is motivated by the wonder and amazement of the natural world and takes joy in watching these things: bulrushes swaying in the wind, catkins dancing in the trees. However, in replacing the natural for the fabricated, Constructive Interference conflates the world that we have made against the one that was made for us, jamming our insecurities of futurity into a joyous celebration and leaving us to wonder if our two worlds can, in fact, be reconciled.

Wendat sculptor Ludovic Boney has completed over 20 architectural integration projects in Quebec, including several large-scale public art projects. In 2017, he was long-listed for the Sobey Art Award and won a REVEAL Indigenous Art Award. Currently living in Saint-Romuald, Boney continues to devote his time to his studio practice and public art proposals, exhibiting his work in artist-run centres, galleries, and museums in Quebec and Canada, as well as teaching sculpture at the Maison des Métiers d'Art in Quebec City. This is Boney’s first solo exhibition outside of Quebec.


Hannah Claus and Nadia Myre are professional artists and occasional curators based in Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyang / Montreal. Along with fellow artists-curators Caroline Monnet and Skawennati, they co-founded daphne in 2019 with the mandate to increase the visibility and understanding of contemporary Indigenous within Quebec. This includes increasing the visibility of Quebec-based Indigenous artists within and outside of that province. Constructive Interference is daphne's inaugural curatorial project.

Teharihulen Michel Savard

Parure  - Ontatia’tahchondia’tha

Curated by Hannah Claus

May 8, 2021 - June 26, 2021

Watch the exhibition walkthrough here

Watch the artist-curator conversation here

The objects are delicate, finely crafted, and are a mix of old and new. Copper and silver metals come together in varying shapes; metal marks meet organic forms to construct lines and patterns.  The disparate components mingle fluidly one into the other to offer an alternate way of seeing and understanding - as they always have, and as they always will. They speak to the continuance of culture outside of western categorical norms. What is art? What is beauty? At first we had shells, bones, hair and quills, and then beads, tin and silver. Now motherboards, circuitry and cables. As cultures collide, they leave a miscible residue of the impact, which adds itself to the whole. Let us assimilate all that is shiny and new, so that we may present ourselves in our finery to the world and so honour the worlds around us.

The idea behind the concept of adornment is to both augment the visual finishing of the outfit and display the value of one’s worth. Sartorial decoration and ornament for Indigenous peoples transmit the mastery of technique and ideals of beauty in order to honour the object itself. However, these are also meant to communicate. Compositional elements signify ontology, specificity of place, kinships with the two-legged and four-legged. The turtle, an eponymous symbol for Eastern woodlands nations, indicates clan and worldview all at once. We live and walk on the back of the great turtle, which organizes the footsteps and rhythms of our lives. This image displays our connection to the ground and the memory beneath our feet. Other symbols originally of European origin are anchored in the Wendat visual language: Scottish hearts become owls and circular gorgets are the stars and sun. These adornments come together to elevate the wearer and speak of where we are from and where we are going.  Teharihulan integrates the culture and the experience of the Wendat into each of the pieces. The assemblage of various materials evoke an additional aspect of a spatial fluidity. Worlds of nature, of minerals, of plastic, from the Lower World to the Upper World, come together to bring the past and future into the present. Collectively they shine like a constellation, showing us the path to follow. This is how it has always been. This is how it continues.

The process of making connects us to the ancestors, family histories and time.

Teharihulen is Wendat from Wendake who draws on the past to bring it into the present and from there, imagines the future. He is the first to carry this name in 150 years since the last Teharihulen bore it. This ancestor was an artist, a jewellery-maker, a snowshoe maker, a war chief and a painter. Through his self-portraits, he took back his image from Western romantic clichés and “the Last of” to show his people and his culture in power and autonomy to the Western world, utilizing the tools and visual language of the European arts. In the exhibition, Parure, the painted portraits become a means of dialogue between the two Teharihulan, both artists, warriors and Wendat. Through his artistic practice, Teharihulen carries the mantle of his predecessor, continuing to communicate the presence and self-determination of the Wendat. It is both a responsibility and a legacy.


Hannah Claus is a Kanienkehá:ka and English visual artist who explores Onkwehonwe epistemologies as living transversal relationships. A 2019 Eiteljorg fellow and 2020 Prix Giverny recipient, she sits on the board of the Conseil des arts de Montréal (2018 - ) and is a co-founder of daphne, a new Indigenous artist-run centre in Montreal. In 2017 Claus curated Tehatikonhsatatie, an exhibition of Kahnawakeró:non visual artists Babe and Carla Hemlock. As a member of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, Claus contributed to the conceptualization and production of the Tiohtià:ke Project (2018): a year-long series of Indigenous curatorial initiatives in and around Montreal.  Claus is a member of Kenhtè:ke - Tyendinaga Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. Having grown up away from her grandfather’s community, she is privileged to live and work in Kanien’kehá:ka territory, in Tiohtià:ke [Montreal].

Sonia Robertson

Manitushiu-puamuna - Between the two worlds

Curated by Logan MacDonald

July 17, 2021 - September 11, 2021

Manitushiu-puamuna is a new installation work by artist Sonia Robertson (Innu/Scottish) presented as the sophomore art exhibition for the newly established non-profit Indigenous artist-run centre, daphne.

I first learned of Sonia’s work in 2002, when she presented Dialogue entre elle et moi à propos de l’esprit des animaux at Skol Gallery. A tour de force exhibition, created to honour the memory of her recently deceased sister, Diane. She did this lyrically, by suspending beaver skin pelts from the ceiling, creating an all-encompassing gallery installation, where furs collectively appeared to float up and outwards, directed towards the west. This gesture drew connections to her Ilnu ways of knowing, specifically concerning the spirits of animals and the directions their spirits take when released. Moreover, the pelts she incorporated were repurposed from fur coats, a significant conceptual gesture connected to the industrial history of the exhibition space, with being situated inside what was once a fur coat factory. I draw attention to Sonia’s earlier work here, as I feel in certain respects Manitushiu-puamuna is a complimentary exhibition, extending values and ideas, weaving together both the personal and the spiritual, in ways that are reflexively nuanced and exciting.

Manitushiu-puamuna is immersive, having filled the gallery with imagery and textiles. Yet, simultaneously the exhibition is simplistic and welcoming – with Sonia having created pathways by draping long pillars of white muslin linen  -  that hangs from ceiling to floor, creating trunk like shapes, intentionally meant to reference a forest of trees. Cast upon these soft sculpture columns are a series of multi-directional videos, featuring bright imagery of poplar tree leaves shaking in the wind. The looped videos permeate, echoing on each layer of linen, which are accompanied by the audio of rustling leaves. The illusion of being in a forest is both effective and broken, as the space allows for viewers to walk freely throughout the gallery, staged in a spatial arrangement where one’s own shadow can at times interrupt the video projections. In addition, Sonia has mounted two large-scale hyper-coloured digital prints of magnified poplar leaves in both the large public-facing gallery windows. The prints are mounted to function like lightboxes at night when viewed from outside the gallery. Sonia was very intentional about all these elements for an array of reasons, each being distinctly purposeful, layered with meaning, and significant to her understanding of the world.

At the onset of developing this exhibition, Sonia was intent on creating an installation that could draw viewers into thinking about the unconscious realities that connect us to dream-worlds and the afterlife. The poplar tree is a significant symbol in making this connection for Sonia: their leaves when blowing in the wind have an almost visual and audio dreamlike effect, but also this pre-colonial native species of tree to North America holds significance to the Ilnu in the ways it is harvested, and in its importance within nature, particularly as a favorite food for beavers. Importantly, both poplar trees and beavers are plentiful along the beaches in Mashteuiatsh, where Sonia is from. All these connections have been intentionally drawn together by Sonia, who values how materials and imagery can echo layers of meaning.

As viewers move through the main gallery, which visually evokes an almost ghostly forest as the white      at times beams in a haunting manner. There is a reference being made here as well, with how trees are a lifeforce that have purpose, and with life comes death and the release of a spirit. Sonia could be asking us to reflect: do you connect with the spirits of the trees that were once here before us? What can we learn from them? The path way inevitably leads to a smaller space. In this space are two intimate video projection pieces, which in relation to the video projections of the poplar leaves in the main room are intended to symbolically reference the four natural elements: earth, air, water, and fire. In one video we see sand and waves lapping continuously. The videos are projected below our eye level and are small in scale. They each have their own dedicated wall and are each projected through a cluster of lenses that are connected by wires extending out from the walls, to resemble a cutting of branches with leaves. Having the videos projected through the lenses creates a stirring effect where the videos appear distorted, hazy and skewed, there’s a dreamlike cinematic effect. To witness this installation is like looking through the eyes of someone’s dreaming.

Throughout our time discussing this work, as Sonia developed ideas, I was frequently inspired by how thoughtfully she would incorporate materials, imagery, and ideas, always very purposeful in ways that were meant to support the specific context of the ideas she was trying to illuminate. At certain points throughout this process, even without our wonderful translators present, I felt we were able to converse beyond our colonial language barriers, with being able to communicate and share through our energy, expressions, simple gestures, and material references. I bring this up, because it’s a strength that belongs primarily to Sonia, in being able to communicate by harnessing energy, something she has translated into her practice. It’s something she’s quite      intentional about, perhaps it comes intuitively to her, where she is able to instinctually connect materials and images in ways that conceptually support spiritual meaning, where she’s able to push past colonial rhetoric to present work that is meaningful at the animal and natural level. Manitushiu-puamuna is an example of this mastery.

Early in the planning of this exhibition, Sonia outlined a strong desire to use this exhibition as a platform to engage with community, in ways that could nurture and support Indigenous community members to connect with their dreams. With this work, I believe Sonia wanted to draw attention to how so many Indigenous communities have cultural legacies where traditionally sharing the significance of dreams and connections to afterlife was once highly valued, but through ongoing colonization and cultural oppression, sharing and analysing dreams has become taboo. Sonia pushes against this, asking us all to open our minds and souls to this important part of who we are and where we come from—let us consider the value of looking at this part of ourselves. What can we learn? How can we be better? How do we connect beyond our own realities? In learning more about Sonia’s work as we developed this exhibition, I came to realize how central servicing, working within, and supporting the community is to Sonia. Knowing this helps with understanding what I have come to understand as core to Sonia’s overall artistic intentions and motivations –  which I believe are indistinguishable from her values in life, with being anchored to respecting and honouring land, nature, ourselves, our souls, and community. Which is why it was unfortunate that due to the social distancing restrictions of the pandemic, the project could not easily include active community engagement—but was nonetheless a core intention that moved the project forward. This exhibition has become somewhat of a letter from Sonia that invites everyone to dream.

Sonia Robertson is an artist, art therapist, curator and entrepreneur from Mashteuiatsh where she currently lives. She received her Bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary art from the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi in 1996 and has participated in numerous artistic events in Canada, France, Haiti, Mexico and Japan. She has developed an in situ and increasingly participatory approach. Art is for her a great means of expression and healing. She also completed a master's degree in art therapy at UQAT during which she created an approach linked to the imaginary of hunter-gatherer peoples.

Involved in her community, she has worked to promote art as a means of empowerment and expression for people in her community. She has co-founded various organizations and events, including the Diane Robertson Foundation, now Kamishkak'Arts, which supports artists at all levels and uses art as a social lever through various projects; the TouT-TouT artists' workshops in Chicoutimi in 1995; Kanatukulieutsh uapikun in 2001, which works to safeguard and promote the Pekuakamiulnuatsh's knowledge of plants; and the Atalukan Storytelling and Legends Festival in 2011.


Logan MacDonald is a Canadian-based interdisciplinary artist, curator, and educator and activist who focuses on queer, disability and Indigenous perspectives. He is of European and Mi’kmaq ancestry, who identifies with both his settler and Indigenous roots. Born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, his Mi’kmaq ancestry is connected maternally to Elmastukwek, Ktaqamkuk in belonging to the Qalipu First Nation. His artwork has exhibited across North America, notably with exhibitions at L.A.C.E. (Los Angeles) John Connelly Presents (New York), Ace Art Inc. (Winnipeg), The Rooms (St. John’s), Articule (Montréal), and the Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin). He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Indigenous Curatorial Collective (ICCA), and is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Art at the University of Waterloo.

Kaia’tanó:ron Dumoulin Bush

Iakoterihwatié:ni / Moulin à paroles / Chatterbox

Curated by Sherry Farrell-Racette

October 30, 2021 - December 18, 2021

Listen to Chatting Boxes/ Bavardages: A conversation with the artist and curator Zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/s5A4IXGnJqlcVHLYHb4cxBcLZugvWi2Gz2w0HGwwGhh3utTrczGB5yt58qUr1t2y.mDbf4jSb3x1Kj7S5

Kaia’tanó:ron Dumoulin Bush: The Visual Chatter of a Busy Mind
by Sherry Farrell Racette (curator)

Chatterbox: an excessively talkative person.

The term chatterbox has negative connotations often applied to chatty women (never men – why is that?). The stereotype of a women NOT being silent. Is she talking to drown out unwanted thoughts? To be seen? To be heard? What if chatter is a state of mind?

Kaia’tanó:ron Dumoulin Bush is quiet and soft-spoken. She is a storyteller and a dreamer, whose illustrative work includes paintings, sculpture, graphic novels, and commissioned art works related to language, youth and critical Indigenous issues. Her chatter is the frenetic thoughts that lie beneath a calm surface.

A group of well-worn sketchbooks hold her visual chatter- a dynamic inner dialogue of flowing lines, intense colour, and screaming faces. They are diaries, confessionals, and experiments. Everything flows from the sketchbooks. Ideas take form, shapes repeat, multiple versions are tested in small scale before they leap out to become three-dimensional objects, paintings, or graphic narratives. And all that pink. Kaia’tanó:ron gives us a literal explanation: Quebeçois mother (white) + Mohawk father (red) = Kaia’tanó:ron (pink). But this is not Toys ‘r Us pink, not Barbie pink, ballet pink, or candy pink. This pink is both violent and celebratory. It explodes off the surface. Wide-eyed pink women with shrieking mouths and multiple arms are recurring images. They are naked and vulnerable. Interspersed among the pages are quiet pencil drawings, delicate renderings of hands, and natural forms.

There are many influences at play here, not the least is a strong foundation of illustrative drawing from her time at Montreal’s Dawson College. While pursuing her BFA in the Indigenous Visual Culture Program at OCADU, Dumoulin-Bush participated in Toronto’s Nuit Blanche (2017) and initiated several curatorial projects. Her influences are primarily narrative artists whose works have a twist of ironic darkness: Joseph Sanchez, John Cuneo, Mu Pan, Lauren Marx, and Ruben Anton Komangapik. There is an aesthetic kinship with the growing number of Indigenous graphic artists: Walter Scott, Dianne Obomsawin, and particularly, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, the originator of Haida manga. 

Kaia’tanó:ron’s personal narratives examine a life lived at intersections: Chateauguay/Kahnawake, French/Mohawk, and the tri-lingual complexities of Quebec. Her images are honest, raw and profoundly unromantic. They are saved from despair by vibrant colour, wry humour and a comic book aesthetic. There are recurring characters and motifs: the resilient pink woman (our hero), imps wreak havoc in her life, intestines become ribbons, circles of sweetgrass braids transform into hair, leaves and ropes alternately protecting and confining.

Beyond personal narrative, Dumoulin Bush responds to community events and historic trauma. In Doom Scrolling an anxious woman is overwhelmed by waves of bad news coming from the tiny phone in her hand. Obey! and God? speak back to the imposition of Christianity and challenge heroic colonial narratives that have been interwoven into our daily lives since childhood. John A. MacDonald’s Head recalls the toppling of a statue in the summer of 2020, and the artist encourages us to join in consuming his downfall. School Deskacknowledges the growing number of unmarked graves found at residential school sites across the country and honours acts of resistance.

For a quiet woman, Dumoulin Bush has a lot to say, and she will not be silenced. This is personal chatter responding to her world, but we can see ourselves in these images. The narratives are not closed. There are spaces for our stories, our experiences, our reactions. We see ourselves holding on in the midst of chaos, as we struggle to process the craziness of the present and the trauma of the past. And ultimately, share in the celebration of our collective resilience.

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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