Road Sign Sculptures

Sign Language -Indigenous Resurgence & Redirections

Solo Exhibition at TAP Centre for Creativity, London ON

April 2018

Sign Language: Indigenous Resurgence and Redirections is a large scale mixed-media sculptural installation work featuring several road signs, which have been recreated using traditional Indigenous (Cree) materials to raise consciousness about Indigenous peoples’ presence, land dispossession, and future relationships between Indigenous peoples and settlers in Canada. In this work, I use glass cut seed beads, satin and ribbon applique, deer hide, and copper poles to explore the hidden language system of signs, and ask important questions around: What are our relationships to Indigenous peoples and the land? As a First Nation’s woman, my work indirectly speaks to how Indigenous peoples’ presence has been erased in mainstream society, and how Indigenous peoples’ rights and relationships to land have been ignored through settler colonialism. In this work, I look specifically at the role that traffic signs play in regulating and governing settler relations. Recognizing the powerful nature and purposes of road signs as reinforcing settler rules and regulations, and in doing so, in my opinion, often altering humans’ relationships with each other, the land and animals (e.g. reinforcing land as property as oppose to land as relation and teacher), I appropriate these tools to disrupt and resist their subliminal messages and redirect our attention to Indigenous peoples’ presence, resistance, and relationships to land. In this way, my work is an act of Indigenous resurgence. Through the act of appropriating everyday colonial symbols and texts, and strategically altering them by using traditional Cree materials, I strive to unearth Indigenous ways of knowing and relating to land and privilege Indigenous voices.

Road Sign sculptures 2017-2018

I decontextualize. Then, I reconstruct road signs to make political statements about Indigenous peoples’ presence, sovereignty and colonial dispossession. I am currently focused on experimenting with the different way I can use traditional materials such as seed beads, deer/moose hide along with paint to alter actual road signs. My goal is to disrupt and resist colonial assumptions and inspire those who see my work to look more carefully at the world around them, and redirect them to Indigenous peoples’ knowledge as an act of resurgence.

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