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Canada Gallery
Skawennati: Avatars Aliens Ancestors

Kaia’tonnihseronniá:nion Ratironhia’kehshón:’a Kahsotshera’okon’kénhen

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The High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom
Canada House, Trafalgar Square, SW1Y 5BJ
Pall Mall Entrance, free admission (security screening in place)

November 14, 2019 – March, 2020
Monday to Saturday
11:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

I fear that if Indigenous people cannot envision ourselves in The Future, we will not be there. We need to visualize ourselves as full participants in the multimediatized world of today and tomorrow to help ourselves become active agents in the shaping of new mediums and new societies. – Skawennati

Skawennati - Avatars Aliens Ancestors

L-R: She gathers the Rain, 2018 | Birth of an Avatar (Homage to Mariko Mori), 2017

Skawennati makes art that addresses history, the future, and change from her perspective as an urban 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 the Skins workshops on Aboriginal Storytelling and Digital Media. Renowned for her machinimas (movies made in virtual environments), and her machinimagraphs (photographs taken in virtual environments by her avatar), she also produces beadwork, clothing and sculptures. Active since the late 1990s, she has used cyberspace – websites, video games and virtual environments – as both a metaphor for the future and a tool to create representations of Indigenous people in a revised history, a contemporary present and an anticipated tomorrow.

Avatars Aliens Ancestors presents a selection of the characters that populate Skawennati’s artistic universe. In addition to her own regalia-rocking avatar (who she has named “xox”), you will see a circle of elders from Skyworld, the planet our ancestors are said to have come from, and, in the TimeTraveller™ Portraits, a range of Indigenous people from the 15th to the 23rd century.

Born in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory, Skawennati is Kanien'kehá:ka of the turtle clan

Curator: Christine Redfern

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The exhibition Avatars Aliens Ancestors is curated by Christine Redfern, Director and Chief Curator at ELLEPHANT, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This project is a collaboration between the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom and ELLEPHANT Gallery.

The Canada Gallery’s ongoing programme is generously supported by the Dahdaleh Foundation, chaired by Victor Phillip Dahdaleh.

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