gaa-waategamaag
Opening Reception: July, 6, 2018, 6-8 p.m.
The work in this exhibition explores Mississauga-Anishinaabe place and landscape. Many Anishinaabe and Mississauga place names refer to the water; in fact, the name Mississauga itself refers to water. Navigating within Mississauga territory means having a constant awareness of the bodies of water, even when on land. Roads follow the contours of rivers and lakes, and traffic bottlenecks at bridges. However, the physical waterscape as well as the names used to refer to places have changed over time.
These works focus on one specific place name: gaa-waategamaag. According to historical record this name dates to the late 1800s and was given by Martha Whetung.1 It is more commonly pronounced and written ‘Kawartha’, and has been translated as ‘land of reflections’. This name, along with its multiple spellings, embodies a complex set of relations between people, place, and language.
The Reflections series attempts to illustrate this name through beadwork. The artist worked from digital photographs of light reflecting off of water in the area now known as the Kawarthas, editing the photos to create beadwork charts and translating those charts into loomwork. The resulting beadwork shimmers in the light and gives an illusion of surface movement as the viewer moves around it.
  1. Mae Whetung, History of the Ojibwa of the Curve Lake Reserve and Surrounding Area, Volume I: History of the Mississauga Band (Curve Lake) (Curve Lake: Curve Lake Indian Band #35, 1976), 25.