The Deer Clan Longhouse Exchanges and Changes: Comprehensive Narratives

longhouse art


Written by: Brenna Bartley, Educational Coordinator for Mountsberg and Crawford Lake Conservation Areas, with credit to Alexandre Nahdee & Reagan Kennedy


Sunday June 22, 2014 will mark the opening of the first reconstructed longhouse in the Iroquoian Village at Crawford Lake since 1989. As a modern structure in a historical space, the Deer Clan Longhouse offers a unique opportunity for the park to work with talented Indigenous artists, curators and educators to develop exhibits that bridge the past with the present.

longhouse art

This Sunday we welcome you to join us for the launch of the premier exhibit to be hosted in this new and inspiring space – Exchanges and Changes: Comprehensive Narratives by artists Reagan Kennedy and Alexandre Nahdee. Over the past year Reagan and Alexandre have prepared 6 works each that reflect their own experience with heritage, culture, family and sense of place in a modern context. The artists have also worked with high school students to explore the meaning of identity and place through the creation of land art at the Crawford Lake site. Photographs of the student experience will be woven into final exhibit.

We are honoured to host Exchanges and Changes as the first exhibit in the Deer Clan Longhouse. Many thanks to the students of Aldershot Highschool, Sir John A. MacDonald High School, St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School, and The German School of Toronto for participating. Thanks especially to Reagan and Alexandre for bringing the exhibit to life. In their own words, here are artists Reagan Kennedy and Alexandre Nahdee.

Alexandre Nahdee & Reagan Kennedy

Alexandre Nahdee & Reagan Kennedy

Alexandre Nahdee

I am Alexandre Nahdee,

I graduated in 2013 with my Bachelor of Fine Art in Drawing and Painting, and a minor in Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University. Currently, I am completing a Masters of Education: First Nation, Inuit and Métis Education, at the University of Western Ontario.

My mother Isabel is Portuguese from Torre, Portugal and my father Jarvis is Ojibwa First Nation from Walpole Island. I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario and currently reside in Oakville, Ontario. I am the hereditary descendant of Chief John Oshawana Nahdee, who fought in the War of 1812.

My artwork is a visual representation of layered history. This process involves layering personal, societal, cultural and historical narratives along with and through the layering of written language. The layering of these elements brings into question the abstracted reality of constructed meanings within language and society. These constructions are entrenched in processes of othering, and projections not only placed upon Peoples from Native Nations but also those who do not fit into the constructed status quo. These processes through their repetition in colonialist discourse allowed for the normalization of systematic oppression and control, manifesting in legislation, policies and everyday interactions between peoples.

Reagan Kennedy

My name is Reagan Kennedy, I am a multi-disciplinary artist and curator based in the Greater Toronto Area. I am a graduate of the Criticism & Curatorial Practice program, as well as the Indigenous Visual Culture minor at OCAD University.

I am of African-American, Lenni-Lenape, Irish, Scottish and British descent. My art practice deals with questions of archiving and identity. Research has been integral to understanding my own story, and thus plays a critical role in my artistic process. By juxtaposing and also fusing various modes of research I analyze ways of forgetting and remembering within individual and collective memory. I use this analysis of historical and personal archives as a means to negotiate my identity. This navigation through archival material explores the complexities of diasporic narratives in both a historical and contemporary context. Through the process of stitching these narratives together, I illustrate their interconnectivities and unification within my own skin.




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Filed under Community & Outreach, Focus on Conservation, Recreation

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