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Indigenous Arts & Stories - Resilience


2018 - Art Winner

Ember Ivic

Mississauga, ON
Nipissing First Nation
Age 17

Author's Statement

Truth is virtuous and honourable. In Canada, historic truth has been both disrupted and suppressed.

As an Anishinaabe-Croatian young woman, I embody what the Canadian government intended with its historic and contemporary policies - assimilation. Canadian policies were deliberate and intentional. Despite assimilative tactics and their resultant traumatizing experiences, Indigenous people have shown resilience - we are still here. Indigenous stories and experiences, which have been deliberately quashed, need to be accessible to all. Truth is more valuable by assertions made from all voices - not only selected voices. Truth is an intrinsic part of our shared human experiences, cultures and histories. The absence of truth has debilitated the Canadian collective conscious and subsequently created devastating consequences to the rights of Indigeneity within our country. This needs to be reconciled. Not only for what our ancestors have experienced, but what current generations have continued to experience.

I was inspired by Luke Marston's Bentwood Box which respectfully acknowledges the experiences and stories of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Residential School Survivors, as well as their descendants. Luke Marston created a beautiful depiction of his grandmother. My interpretation of her face is one that shows her tears and devastation, and simultaneously her strength and resilience. I created a typography that utilizes Luke Marston’s imagery, yet altered the facial expression of his grandmother to represent one of hope for our current and future generations. We are descendants of these experiences and although my generation wasn’t affected by the Residential School experience, we are directly affected by their consequences.

As a young woman, I have hope for truth to be shared and known. I have hope that our ancestors, those with us and those who are not, receive the honour they deserve. I have hope for the reconciliation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people so that we share in our experiences equitably, and side-by-side. Through imagery and the written word, my artwork - inspired by Luke Marston and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - communicates the language of the Residential School experience, some of the many affected cultures, and a call out from the status quo - to the active pursuit of equity through truth.