The Layers They See

By Aniqa Rahman

Co-written and edited by Glamma Kimaiyo

Over the next few months, we will be featuring the projects from our Behind the Dust Visual Series Mediamakers. The Layers They See by Aniqa Rahman is the final in the series.

Preservation, 2018 Model/Artist: Glamma Kimaiyo Photography By Aniqa Rahman

A colleague of mine once confided in me that she did not like to be asked about her background or nationality. She explained to me that, given the current geopolitical climate, people tended to politicize her Middle Eastern identity; and those judgements made her feel uneasy. “The Layers They See” is a photography series that explores identities; and how we view ourselves, in comparison to how we are perceived by others.

Initially my project was focused on how traditional Indigenous beadwork/embroidery is used as a powerful storytelling medium. But, after conducting the interview, my focus shifted to intersectionalities and the complexity of identity-politics, as expressed through art.

Recruiting artists was a nearly impossible task, consequently getting this project off the ground was no easy feat. In fact, the underwhelming response to my call-outs nearly forced me to abandon this topic altogether. I quickly realized that when it came to sharing personal stories and artwork a lot of people were fearful of being taken out of context and therefore apprehensive about participating. Needless to say, I am humbled and grateful that I found someone willing to discuss such personal and sensitive subject matter.

I was fortunate enough to collaborate with Glamma Kimaiyo, an interdisciplinary Toronto-based artist of Afro-Caribbean and Indigenous ancestry. Glamma’s insistence on exploring every facet of her creativity, and not limiting herself, has made her fiercely talented in a multitude of mediums, including: audio engineering/production, singing /songwriting, deejaying, spoken word poetry, jewelry and clothing design/construction to name a few. Among all of Glamma’s artistic endeavours, the one which most connects her to her indigeneity is her beadwork; and I wanted to know more about her perspectives.

(Left) Hidden Layer I, 2018 (Right) Surface Layer II, 2018 Model/Artist: Glamma Kimaiyo Photography by Aniqa Rahman

On Saturday May 19th, 2018, I met Glamma at a friend’s studio apartment. I remember being quite anxious at that time. I wasn’t sure how the interview would go.  Nonetheless, Glamma’s entrance and her upbeat personality before and during the interview made the process fun and engaging.

In speaking with Glamma, I became increasingly aware of the pervasiveness of white supremacy, and the diverse ways it manifests within various ethnic groups. During our exchange, my eyes were opened to the ways that covert racism homogenizes melanated people and attempts to relegate them to oppressively generic categories.

One negative impact of this, that Glamma herself admitted to experiencing, is the conditioned behaviour of, ‘not going out of her way to mention her complete ancestry’. For when she does, the inquirer almost always professes that she absolutely, “doesn’t look Native!”

So in fact, Glamma plainly admits that societal ‘norms’ have conditioned her to offer the abridged version of her background; a coping mechanism developed in order to avoid being scrutinized, belittled or interrogated.  Compared to her Indigenous and European multi-racial counterparts, who tend to be wholeheartedly and instantly accepted by the mainstream and Indigenous communities alike, race politics has made her assertion as a native woman a conundrum to those narrow minds that ask, ‘How can a Black woman be Indigenous?’

Intertwine, 2018 Beaded Necklace by Glamma Kimaiyo Photography by Aniqa Rahman

Following our conversation I realized that, to tell or not to tell becomes a double-edged sword.  Glamma, for the most part, chooses to navigate her identity outside of the gaze.

Her private explorations of traditional crafts and teachings at  beading circles learning from various ‘aunties’ over the years connects her to this part of her heritage.

Through her patient and meticulous construction, she believes that she honours the legacy of her ancestors and harnesses the healing properties of the metaphysical world. More important than people’s perceptions, she spreads “good medicine” through her beadwork.

The process was never an easy one —  as an artist myself, I had to develop a piece which best describes my style and aesthetics of work while still maintaining the integrity of Glamma’s story. The practice that I never want to conform to as a media-maker is to generalize and take a narrative out of context — a practice that we continue to see in mainstream media.

I was able to break the story down through creative writing process on race and intersectional identities.

There are layers which people see.
Individuals which identify you based on your dominant racial features or appearance.

There are layers which people don’t see, but only oneself sees.
Individuals who are unaware of your ethnic background, and only you are aware of.

The layers which are hidden, and which only surfaces when called upon.
Individuals who question your ethnicity, when you disclose your identity.

After writing and reviewing this process, I chose to use long exposure photography and light painting technique to capture or symbolize the layers of Glamma’s identities. Even though some may think it is too literal, I felt this process best described my creativity and would do justice to the artwork. Like Glamma, I felt inspired by the darkness, by the colour scheme and craftsmanship, and had to exercise my patience when it came to capturing or recording these images. One major connection that I found between Glamma and I is that we both love utilizing traditional methods to practice our craft, hence why I recorded the images via camera as opposed to manipulating and putting all these images together in photoshop.

After interviewing Glamma, I realized how much the power of storytelling can enable  people to create remarkable projects. Her stories serve as a great inspiration that have challenged me to further explore photography as a medium. Even though the story behind this project is not about myself per se; as an artist, I can empathize with and relate to many topics which she elaborated on, including how one perceives their own identity. I want people to know that as an artist, I want to bring certain stories to life and I intend to do so through visual narrative. There are stories that need to be told, there are conversations that need to happen, and there are more genuine artworks that need to be created.


Aniqa Rahman is a recent University of Toronto graduate, where she earned her Honours Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She owes much of her success in life to not only her family, friends, and mentors, but also to Community Arts which has been an integral part of her healing process as well as growth towards her individuality. Raised in a diverse neighbourhood in Scarborough, Aniqa has been immersed in the Arts since 2013. She participated in ArtStarts’ Sew What?!, East Music and Project Management with Scarborough Arts, We are Lawrence Avenue with Cultural Hotspot and UforChange photography classes.

It was at UforChange where she found her passion for photography and began developing her own style.; In the past few years Aniqa has managed to acquire notable clients, win Juror’s choice, and gain recognition from Toronto Star and UofT Magazine for her photographic Arts. She has a huge admiration for capturing multicultural festivals as well as Toronto’s fashion scene, and has gone on to shoot events such as African Fashion Week Toronto, St. Jamestown Festival, Multicultural Canada Day 2015, and Fashion Arts Toronto ( |FAT|). Her goal is to further develop her photography skills; she believes learning is for life and with that brings joy into her Art.

Healing Through Remembering

By Eli Farinango

Over the next few months, we will be featuring the projects from our Behind the Dust Visual Series Mediamakers. Healing Through Remembering by Eli Farinango is the fourth in the series.

I met Inguen when I started going to the Wachuman ceremonies. Her smile reminded me that I can be happy. She reassured me that the earth can help me heal and I can lead a life where I am at peace. This concept was getting lost the longer I stayed inside my head. I had forgotten how to live because anxiety and depression took a hold of me and mental health was something barely talked about in my community. The idea of seeing a therapist is reserved for those that have “lost it” and in that space, the only way I could heal was by coming to terms with all of the wounds I had covered up. As I acknowledged them, all the women in my life supported me with knowledge and personal stories that are often dismissed, undervalued, misunderstood, and judged. The women I call family, held space for me: they understood me, empowered me. Made sure I stayed alive. In each story, I found hope, strength, courage and for that I am grateful.

I asked Inguen: how did you learn about ceremonies and healing? “I didn’t learn,” she replied. “I’m simply remembering. All of this is already inside us, they just made us forget.”

“The dreams and prayers of our ancestors” Saywa and Leisha. 2017

I light a candle before sitting down to write this, because I need a moment to settle in and take in the fact that I am pouring out myself into these pages — letting the world read them and letting myself be seen. I had written the proposal for healing through remembering during a very difficult moment in my life, and it had been my way of expressing the need that I had for movement and change. I couldn’t find myself and that brought a lot of pain. For the longest time I had told myself the same narrative over and over again — that this is meant for someone else, that my voice doesn’t matter. Working on Healing Through Remembering has been empowering. It has been a challenge on many levels because it forced me to be vulnerable and honest with myself while also opening up space in my family to share our stories of survival.

My Family – Mamita Virginia, Leisha, Tia Rosi, Daysi, Pauli, Cory, Samia, Tia Trancito. 2017

When I thought of this project, I thought how amazing it would be to document alternative ways of healing by accessing my family’s memory and ancestral knowledge. I honestly didn’t think that this would be a painful process. I was sad, and I was broken most of the time because as it turns out, unravelling memory is not always a happy thing. The conversations I had with my grandmothers were painful as both of them recounted times in which family members had been abused, discriminated against, treated as less than because of who they are and those things had been silently tucked away into acceptance.

This past year, I spent time with my extended family in Ecuador, getting to know their stories and trying to find a place for myself within that space. Visiting every once in a while was exciting, but living there full-time was a different story. I had hoped to come out with a flowery recount of how romantically beautiful it is to return “home” but instead I was left with more questions, and lots more healing to be done. For me, making sense of my cultural identity has been a central part of my life. I was born into a Kichwa family from the Northern part of Ecuador. My earlier years were spent with my grandmother, tending to the land and the animals that lived with us.

Mama Killa. Mother Moon. 2018

My family and I moved to Canada when I was 9, my family and we started a new life away from everything and everyone I associated with connection and the idea of “home”, and although I am grateful that my parents made the decision to move to Canada moving here unrooted me and caused me years of anxiety. I never really found a place for myself here and when I went to visit Ecuador after years of living far away everyone treated me differently and I felt really uneasy about who I had become. I came back to the feeling that I didn’t belong to either place. I needed to be part of something, so I stubbornly held on to the idea that by permanently moving to Ecuador and “doing what I was supposed to do” I would somehow have that feeling of home and belonging. As a teenager, I remember looking out my window and imagining a time where I would have enough resources to go to and live in Ecuador. I travelled back and forth for a while until I finally stayed in 2017. I had been chasing the feeling of home for so long that I allowed myself to make a series of choices that I thought would assure I would be welcomed into this imagined community; I allowed my boundaries to be crossed many times over in the name of immersion and while being in the mountains, with my grandmother, with everything I had ever wanted, the feeling of not belonging never really went away.

Pachamama y yo. 2018

I immersed myself in the life there as much as I could and I began to open myself up to new experiences. I had hoped that by being in this place and connecting with my culture, I would find peace, but instead the space began triggering wounds I had forgotten about. Ones I had purposely thrown dirt over started to open up and I realized remembering was not about learning about a distant past but it meant honouring my own experiences and giving them the validation they deserve. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and day after day her stories began to weave me into her world, I began to understand myself in the larger context and acknowledged the pain and struggles of my family. I realized that the stories my family was sharing with me were meant to be shared amongst us and with future generations so that we can somehow end hurtful cycles and play a part in collectively healing our family.

Mamita Virginia and the youngest baby in the family. (Right) Pancarita (Left) 2018

My grandmother who is 78 years old, grew up alone. Her mother had problems with alcohol and left her daughter to raise herself and her brother. My grandmother made an effort to go to school by using the money her madrina gave her to buy supplies, but eventually had to leave that dream when she was 9 years old to work in a mestizo (person of mixed spanish-indigenous ancestry) household – cooking and cleaning – to survive. Her experience with those families were tainted with abuse and hardship. I sat there listening and breaking at the same time. In her eyes the racist and abusive relationship between Indigenous people and mestizos is normalized as something that is just part of life. I struggled to understand her but after spending time in Ecuador I began to understand how one gets tired of fighting back all the time. Even while living in a predominantly Indigenous city, racist attitudes aren’t something of the past or limited to mestizos. I was made very aware that belonging to an indigenous society did not except us from having a multiplicity of problems, even within our own family, class lines exist, internalized oppression and machismo run deep. As painful as it was, it was so clarifying to see the romanticized version of Otavalo dissipate and get to a place where I could understand the roots of the intergenerational trauma we carry.

The universe speaking. 2018

I wondered how my grandmother coped with all of this and I began to see her beyond her pain and focused my energy in seeing the resilience she embodies. She was widowed when she was 32 and her 7 children are scattered between Spain, Canada, the US and Ecuador; she prays for them every single day. Bringing each and every one of them back through prayer. Mamita Virginia taught me so much about spirituality as she lives a life in which ritual takes many forms – from caring for animals, to making food- ritual is in everything.

During my time in Ecuador I went to a lot of different ceremonies where I was hoping to find quick relief for anxiety, depression and answers to all the questions I had prepared. I participated in various organized ceremonies and realized healing didn’t have to come from consuming anything, or workshopping, or that it isn’t handed down from one particular person. But rather, as my grandmother does, my healing came in the form of acknowledging every experience I live, honoring myself enough to treat myself with respect and love during hard times and being in gratitude for giving myself the opportunity to heal.

I remember the day that I walked out of the Wachuman ceremony, feeling overjoyed by the fact that I was in Ecuador and starting this journey; asking my ancestors to send me knowledge and healing. They did, in the most powerful way. They sent me lessons through life experience; I was healing through connection and my memory was awakened. The wounds were exposed to the fresh air of the Taita Imbabura, asking to be healed with lots of care and patience. The plants, spirits and people I crossed paths with were the bursts of energy that pushed me out of my comfort zone to grow, and I began making my story, my medicine. Healing myself through my memory and my intuition, realizing that the things to make myself feel better are not random, but rather pieces of knowledge passed down from a place I’m still learning about. In my personal ceremony, I felt like I was getting closer to what I was looking for: I made sense, and by looking inward I found belonging.


Eli Farinango  was born in Quito into an Kichwa Otavalo family, they migrated to Canada with her parents in 1996, she has been going back and forth between her family home in Canada and Ecuador for the past 5 years.  Through her photography, she hopes to capture the joy she experiences when seeing the beauty of the Pachamama and its people. Her photography is deeply personal as she uses art to disentangle herself and heal old wounds.

As a Kichwa woman, she feels the responsibility to open space for indigenous voices and at the same time use photography as a way to challenge stereotypes and the misrepresentation of indigenous peoples. Her work is inspired by other indigenous photographers, activists, her family and the community of women who have supported her journey in finding herself, unlearning colonialistic practices, and honoring her art.

Her work has been featured in Remezcla, Telesur English, Waging Non Violence, Red Rising Magazine, St. Sucia Zine,  Notimia (for the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples at the UN) @elifarinango

Deeply Rooted: Healing and Reclaiming Traditional Knowledge Through the Land

By Elizabeth Farinango

Over the next few months, we will be featuring articles and conversations from our Behind the Dust Visual Series Mediamakers. This is the third in the series.

The sounds of people covered up my nervousness as I approached the farmers market where Nelly sells her goods. As an introvert, I am always shy about meeting new people and this time was no exception. My cousin and I spotted her from far away and we sat drinking our milky corn drink, while I thought of ways to approach Nelly. After a few sips I finally gathered enough courage to get up and say hello. Nelly came over with a big smile and asked me why I had taken so long to get there, it was 11 am, the best produce was gone and it was almost time to pack everything up. I liked this familiarity and felt like I was meeting an old friend. She introduced me to three other women who were selling everything from fresh carrots to fermented drinks known for their digestive benefits. At that moment, I was glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. This project has been in the making for years and I’m so grateful I didn’t let my social anxiety get the best of me.

Minutes away from Ayora, the community where Nelly Morocho lives with her family. Pictured is the Cayambe Mountain.

On the ride to her house, she began narrating her story and how empowered she felt by being connected to her land and helping others make a living out of reclaiming their traditional foods and medicine.

At 54, Nelly is one of the most active and socially involved people I have ever met. Aside from being a leader of various women’s organizations in her community she is involved in running the farmers market, and training other women who are interested in learning about organic farming. She is also the granddaughter of healers, or Taitas from the Kayambi community of northern Ecuador, and through her work she advocates for the reclamation of traditional foods and medicine as a way of resistance.

Nelly Morocho welcomes me into her home as we are greeted by her chickens.

As we walk into her house, the dogs are barking and her chickens follow us up the dirt road. Nelly greets all her animals and points over to the biggest tree on the property, she explains that this tree – el floripondio blanco, a tall tree with large white flowers – is the energetic guardian of her property. People in her community have been planting these trees to guard off negative energy from those who visit since time immemorial. My heart is beyond happy to see that these traditions are kept alive, and I kneel with Nelly as she asks for permission to enter the land.  While we make our way through her farm, she shows me all the plants, fruits and vegetables she cultivates, teaching me how to prepare teas that treat all sorts of illnesses from anxiety to cancer. From something so familiar as mint to other plants such as the marco (for warding off bad energies), tilo (for reducing anxiety), mashua (for cleansing the reproductive system and prostate) and aji rocoto (a hot pepper used to treat cancer), I learn more from the two hours I spent with Nelly than I would from any book or class. She is a natural-born teacher who has made it her life’s work to take care of this land, share the wisdom and use plants to care for our physical and mental health.

Floripondio blanco t. Brugmansia arborea. In the andean region it is known for its energetic properties.

This work to reclaim ancestral foods and medicine is part of a larger movement amongst indigenous women all over Latin America who are being empowered to live lifestyles that instill pride in indigenous medicine, food and traditions. In Ecuador, every year various women’s organizations gather all over the country to trade ancestral seeds, organic produce, information and provide training on new production methods.

Nelly Morocho shows me the paico a plant used to heighten attention spans and increase productivity.

One of the things that stands out about the work being done in the Kayambi communities is the idea of reciprocity and communal learning. In addition to training women in pre-production, food handling, packaging, and customer service, many of these organizations also discuss many different aspects of social justice. Organizers such as Nelly, view a strong connection between social issues, food sovereignty and cultural survival.

My search for plants to help with depression and anxiety frame my conversation with Nelly as she begins to share different plants to help women heal themselves with things they can grow at home. She explains that one of the most common things people ask her about are menstrual cramps, for which she tells me people can use fig leaves boiled into a tea, or boiled ruda flowers. While we walk in the farm she grabs a colorful purple plant –Amaranto– and gives it to me asking me to boil it with tamarind to make a tea when I am having an anxiety attack. I grab the plants and continue our conversation about family. At this point Nelly had began telling me about her grandmother and how she had always nurtured her curiosity by taking her on healing appointments in her community. She smiled as she remembered the woman that taught her all she knows and asked me about my grandmother who has been living with me for the past year. I told her about my gratitude for my grandmother and expressed my worry for the pain she always feels in her bones. Nelly quickly walked over to a green bush with pretty purple flowers and explained that I should boil the wagra ortiga leaf into a tea and the flor filanjilla when fevers are involved.

flor filanjilla. Used to treat fevers and pain.
Wagra ortiga. Used for spiritual cleansings and in a tea for bone pain.
Ruda. Used for energetic cleansings and to treat menstrual cramps.

As my time with Nelly concludes, she shows me the wealth of seeds she’s been able to grow over the years and has invited me back to her house to learn about planting them so that I may also have my own garden with medicinal plants. This sharing is part of the work that Nelly and her organization do. For Nelly it is her life’s work to learn and pass on the wisdom left by her ancestors, and in the process, teach other women to be self-sufficient and empower them into caring for their families without pharmaceuticals.

Nelly Morocho proudly showing me her aji plants.

While visiting her, we bonded over our love for mysteries of the moon cycles, laughed while her grandson chased off the  bees, and rejoiced over the idea that we can live out healthy lives by investing our time in getting to know the flora of our lands. Getting to know her has reaffirmed the need to work collectively to heal trauma starting from something as simple as opening our doors to a stranger and sharing what we know. Before I left she reminded me to: “…be conscious that we are a reflection of the land. Take care of the land you live in and support organizations that are working hard to reclaim traditional knowledge and ancestral seeds.”

Eli Farinango is a Kichwa photographer and writer. She is currently working on exploring the ways in which healing takes place through herself and the women in her family. In the past, she has worked in journalism and with digital media as a tool for personal and community empowerment. Through photography, she seeks to explore herself, her culture and find new ways of resistance and resiliency. Her work has been featured in Red Rising Magazine, St. Sucia Zine, teleSUR English, Waging on Violence and Remezcla.  For her latest work: @elifrng

Spotlight: Lisa Jackson on Versatility in Visual Storytelling

Still from “Savage”

This is Worldtown’s new series features Indigenous media-makers exploring themes of identity, reconciliation, and resistance through visual storytelling mediums.

Lisa Jackson‘s award-winning work has screened at festivals internationally including the Berlinale, Hotdocs, SXSW, Margaret Mead and London BFI, and aired on many networks in Canada. Her films span documentary and fiction and include virtual reality, current affairs, animation and a short musical, Savage, for which she won a Genie award. She is Anishinaabe, the director mentor for the NSI’s Indigidocs program and is on the advisory committee for the NFB’s Indigenous Action Plan.

How did you get started in the industry?

I had been working for the federal government doing writing and researching contracts.  I ended up working for Knowledge Network in BC where I worked on specifically educational, TV shows and series and stuff for educational purposes. That was my introduction to making documentaries.

I was researching and production coordinating but I wanted to become a director. That’s when I decided to go to film school. And I told myself that I’d put between 5 and 10 years into trying to make it as a filmmaker. And if at the end of that time I found out that I was no good at it, at least I would know I’d tried, and I’d move on to something else.

But in my final year of film school, I got some funding and decided to make Suckerfish, my first film, and it did pretty well. I kept working my day job for another year or so after that, and then I became a full time filmmaker in summer of 2005.

Still from “Suckerfish”

What drew you to visual storytelling?

I actually started off as a writer, and I still really like writing. For me, the initial move into visual storytelling was actually inspired by people. I was writing a lot of profiles of people and many of them were so magnetic and fascinating. And you could never get that down on the page.  And so my initial move towards it was actually very human-centred. Wanting to, in profiling people or putting them on the screen, get that unnameable quality that you can get on screen. Now, having said that, I was in dance when I was young; I did pottery and ceramics and sculpting and things like that. I always had this visual sensibility. But I also had this activist, documentarian sensibility. And so I think as time has gone on, I’ve melded those two things closely together, and I’ve figured out my own way to sculpt with film.

How has working in different genres such as fiction, documentary, animation, performance arts and musicals affected the way you tell stories?

It’s been really validating to see how profound an impact you can have on people by presenting a unique take on something. So for example, my film Snare is only 3 minutes long but it brings a lot of people to tears. It’s about MMIW [Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women] and it’s just very visually striking and it says a lot metaphorically in those 3 minutes. The role of creativity and framing – specifically reframing things that we think we know about in a unique way – it’s very visceral.

Still from “Snare”

How has working in different mediums such as short film, music video, virtual reality and feature films affected the way you tell stories?

I’ve always thought a lot about the world that I’m putting viewers into and had such a specific idea of what the tone and environment would be. And that goes across all of them, from an installation to a VR to a film. But I think that characteristic just manifests itself differently in all those mediums.

In some ways, I look at VR for its potential to, rather than make us voyeurs, actually implicate us in the worlds that we enter into. With Highway of Tears, the viewer is placed in the main character Matilda’s living room, listening to her tell a story. And she’s looking at you, so she’s in control of that storytelling space. It moved a lot of people, but it also made them uncomfortable. Because you’re not just watching her unseen; she’s aware that the camera is you, and she’s going to tell you this story. I think that’s good and I think that implicates the viewer. And I hope that we see more pieces that, as users, push us to make choices or evaluate what we think.

Still from “Highway of Tears VR”

Can you speak to the idea of community and connectedness in the work that you do?

I don’t know any Indigenous artists that don’t feel connected to their community in a way that has responsibility. And not in a bad way, because we’re supported by and fed by the communities, but we are a part of a larger whole. There’s amazing Indigenous art being created right now. I think if you look at pretty much all of it, you’re going to see that there’s a sense of connection to community and the way that the subject matter we take on, our perspectives, have similarities. Regardless of whether it’s a sci-fi, or a period piece.

Can you speak to the idea of reconciliation in the arts and media, and what that looks like for Indigenous communities?

Reconciliation has become a challenging word in some ways because there’s a depth to what’s required to reconcile.The majority of the Canadian population now knows more about residential schools, but what about treaty rights, or other aspects of our history? There’s a lot to know about, even for us. I’m learning about the details of Canadian Indigenous settler history right now, and it’s a huge amount of information. But we have collective amnesia in Canada about that. And in this modern, social media, fast-paced age, it’s really easy to think that historical stuff is so irrelevant, since we’re in this moment now. But I think if we don’t understand the history, we can’t actually reconcile it.

What’s next for you?

Several things. I’m about to release a VR piece with the NFB called Biidaaban: First Light, and I’m developing a few fiction and doc projects for film and TV.  But a big focus right now is Transmissions, which is a three-part multimedia immersive installation that looks at how we see the world differently through Indigenous language. It’s not like a typical installation in a gallery, because it’s got a single channel film, projections, and similarities to theatre. It’s an Indigenous futurist take and it poetically puts you in a space where you feel like what might happen if our current structures of society were no longer in place. The idea is that Indigenous languages grew here as much as plants grew here. They are native to these lands as much as plants are native to these lands. They describe Canada better than any other languages do. Indigenous languages are also, in a way, very practical and grounded. The idea that we live in relationship to everything around us is central. An installation requires people to be active participants with agency within these spaces and that reflects the belief system of these languages more closely than a film.

I’m moving more and more into iconic imagery and metaphor. And I think that’s really powerful, because it allows you to talk about political things without it being alienating to an audience. People can grasp on to it.