Bringing to Life: Traditional Indigenous Art Practice - McCord Museum

Round table discussion

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 6 p.m.


Bringing to Life: Traditional Indigenous Art Practice in Museums

Join us for a round table discussion as part of the exhibition: Sding K’awXangs – Haida: Supernatural Stories. Kwiaahwah Jones will moderate an exclusive discussion with artists who are currently exhibiting work in the exhibition: Haida artists Ariane Medley and John Brent Bennett and the McCord Museum’s Artist-in-Residence Hannah Claus.

They will explore the different ways artists bring to life the traditional techniques and knowledge of Indigenous cultures.


Ariane Medley
Haida name: Xay Kuyaas

Ariane Medley, a member of the Yaghujaanaas Raven clan who grew up in Old Massett, is a traditional weaver for contemporary times. Although known principally for her spruce root weaving, she has recently started practicing Naaxiin (Chilkat) under the guidance of mentor Isabel Rorick. Having a background in both basketry and textiles has allowed the artist to forge her own style and create a number of unique designs.

Conscious that her ancestors’ works were created for ceremonial and everyday use, not simply for display, she makes her own pieces functional as well as decorative, ensuring that the history, purpose and art of weaving is preserved for future generations.

John Brent Bennett
Haida name: Yaahl U’waans, Xuud Juujuu, Xuud Juujuu U’waans

John Brent Bennett, born in Masset, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (2003) in Vancouver and a master’s degree in fine arts from Concordia University in Montreal (2009). He has worked on various projects under the guidance of James Hart, Reg Davidson and Robert Davidson.

Through the use of traditional design elements and digital technology, Bennett explores what it means to be a Haida artist in the 21st century. His recent prints revisit traditional Haida art forms to pursue a personal narrative. Bennett’s art has been the object of a solo exhibition, and he has participated in 26 group exhibitions. His work is part of 23 private and public collections, including those of the Haida Gwaii Museum, the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

Hannah Claus

Hannah Claus is a visual artist of English and Kanien’kehá:ka [Mohawk] heritage who has been living and working in Tiohtià:ke [Montreal] since 2001. Through her installations, Claus explores our relationship with memory, time and space, often working in collaboration with others and using repetition and accumulation to express an Indigenous perspective or methodology.


Kwiaahwah Jones is the contributing curator for the exhibition, Sding K’awXangs – Haida: Supernatural Stories.


Free activity.
Discussion in English, followed by a question and answer period in English.

Location: J. Armand Bombardier Theatre at the McCord Museum

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