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How do we care for objects and the stories they hold? Artist Maria-Margaretta explores generational relations by considering the ways in which objects are created, kept, and passed down. Her photographic billboard, she makes all things good, reflects on her homelands and ancestral lineage through the transformative power of objects.

The image consists of three objects: an axe centerpiece held by a hand wearing beaded white gloves, placed against a canvas tent. Margaretta collaborated with Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley to create a sheath for the axe, adorning the object with delicate beadwork as a gift for their young daughter. The axe is a well-used family tool recovered on Pawis-Steckley’s nan’s beach on Wasauksing First Nation. Design elements on the sheath reference and honour their Métis and Anishinaabe heritage and shared journey as parents. Meanwhile, the elbow-length white gloves, beaded by Margaretta for her great great grandmother, embody the Michif matriarchs whose labour in raising families upholds Métis nationhood. The worn, olive-coloured tent belonging to Margaretta’s grandfather sets a warm and earthy tone to the image, reminiscent of her ancestral homelands in St. Louis, Saskatchewan. Together, the axe, glove, and tent carry the past into the present, envisioning new worlds for holding and dreaming with their daughter. 

This installation is part of a national billboard exchange between Hamilton Artists Inc., AKA Artist-run and PAVED Arts in Saskatoon. The three-way collaboration also includes a billboard project by Cheyenne Rain LaGrande ᑭᒥᐘᐣ at Hamilton Artists Inc from August 2023 to June 2024.

Maria-Margaretta is an interdisciplinary Red River Michif artist from Treaty Six Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She has ancestral ties to the Métis communities of St-François-Xavier, St. Boniface, Manitoba and St. Louis, Saskatchewan. She is currently making and living on the stolen territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səl̓ílwətaʔ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Nations. Maria-Margaretta holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art+Design and an MFA from OCAD University. Her practice is an exploration of the Michif self archive, autobiographical beadwork and objects of the everyday. Using Métis identity as a place of transformation she questions how memory, personal experience, motherhood, and ancestral relations influence her understanding of self.

Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley is a multi-disciplinary Anishinaabe artist from Barrie, Ontario and a member of Wasauksing First Nation. He currently resides in the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsliel-Waututh people. He is an award winning Children’s book illustrator and author whose work explores themes of language revitalization, ancestral knowledge sharing, and memory. 

Abedar Kamgari (b. Tehran) is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and arts worker currently based in Hamilton and Toronto. Her research is rooted in diasporic experiences, complicated inheritances, and body memory.

Design elements by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley. Photograph by jake kimble.

Hamilton Artist Inc.(The Inc.) is a not-for-profit, artist-run centre that empowers artists of all career levels to take risks with their contemporary visual arts practices and present their work in a critical context.

AKA Artist-Run is a non-profit artist-run centre, run by a board of Saskatoon-based artists and cultural workers. Funded by the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, AKA pays fees to artists to support the research, creation, and exhibition of visual art work. A centre for emergent practices for artists at any stage of their careers, AKA provides space and support for critical, safe, and open exchange and is committed to creating space for experimentation, artist-led research, and self-determined direction. AKA aims to build connections between artists, local communities, and national and international audiences, posing questions without knowing the answers.