Minwashin, Creating Beauty

Otamino8kan nikamo8in, tcicak8ekin, masinikotcikan, atisokan, aiemie8in. A8iek kackitotc e masinik8asotc. Ati enapitciakanitc mitikok, konikotc tciman, wik8amida. Mi ima eci tak8ok kit’anicinape8inan.

There’s no word for art in Anicinabe. However, we know how to recognize and create beauty, Minwashin. In our thousand-year-old songs, in our inspired dances, in our colourful regalia. Whether for mere pleasure, to pass the time, to decorate or to create landmarks, our ancestors carved, engraved, drew, embroidered, danced, sang and told stories. As artists since time immemorial, and without knowing it, we express our culture through our creations. Our art testifies to our existence, knowledge and know-how.

« Ni nakamo8inan, ni nimi8inan, nit’atisoke8inan acitc kit’ atisoke kin8amake8ini, e icinak8ak kit’anicinape matisiwinan. »

« Our songs, dances, narratives and stories reflect our way of life. »

A Holistic Vision of Arts and Culture

« Indigenous cultural productions are very diverse; often the same person is involved in several practices. Indigenous producers use a wide variety of artistic and media practices that are part of the traditions of their nations and communities, of other Indigenous nations, Western nations, and other cultural traditions. Many of them engage in cultural practices that do not belong to the category called “art” in contemporary Western culture: for example, hunting, tool-making and spiritual ceremonial practices. These practices are part of a holistic vision in which artistic production is not separated from material needs, lifestyle and worldview. Given the cultural genocide perpetrated against Indigenous people in Canada, it is much more difficult today to live according to this worldview, although cultural producers attach great importance to it and seek to reconstruct this circularity while dealing with the dominant society. Although sometimes difficult to practice in an indigenous context, the tradition is considered to be alive and contemporary. It is not a thing of the past and is part of everyday life. The Western distinction between “modernity” and “tradition” is therefore not applied in the same way in the indigenous context. »

(From the report C’est vital , to which the Anicinabe nation has made a major contribution.
Produced by DestiNATIONS: Carrefour International des Arts et Cultures des Peuples autochtones (2016), Montréal, Possibles Éditions.)

Art to Bring Peoples Together

Frank Polson creates a work in the Latulipe-et-Gaboury municipality, in the Témiscamingue region. Through his works, the Anicinabe artist aspires to build bridges between cultures.

To be an Artist and Anicinabe

Four artists share their vision of Anicinabe art and culture.
@ Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau, Karl Chevrier, Frank Polson and Harry Wylde