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Hundreds attend Woodland Cultural Centre for Family Day weekend

Arts and EntertainmentHundreds attend Woodland Cultural Centre for Family Day weekend

Over 200 people visited the Woodland Cultural Centre for its Family Day weekend event on Saturday, February 17, 2024.

During the four-hour event, visitors had the opportunity to explore the museum and celebrate the opening of two new exhibitions including “Land Matters: Shifting Ground,” and in the Stan Hill Gallery, “Before All Else.”

Land Matters: Shifting Ground,” which will be on display until Saturday, April 6, 2024, features multi-media selections from Woodland’s Permanent Collection, from various artists including: Norval Morrisseau, Arthur Renwick, Shelley Niro, Tekaronhiáhkhwa Santee Smith (two pieces), Rosemary Spahan, Lee Claremont, Arthur Shilling, Kelly Greene, Arnold Jacobs and Mary Anne Barkhouse.

“The exhibition itself is really about recognizing our connections to the land, both historically and artistically, and bringing all of our issues together,” said Patricia Deadman, Curator for Woodland Cultural Centre. “All the artists, regardless of whether they are photographers, sculptors, or installation artists, they’re all tugging at that same thread.”

Mary Anne Barkhouse’s “Treats for a Coyote” sits on display during the Family Day weekend activities at the Woodland Cultural Centre on Saturday, February 17, 2024.

From traditional soap stone carvings to ceramic works, acrylic paintings, beadwork and a life-sized bronze coyote longing for treats, there are plenty of art works that are bound to strike up a conversation about identity, land stewardship, resilience, cultural continuity, diversity, and both individual and community relationships.

Visitors take a closer look at the “Before All Else” mosaic stepping stones during the Family Day weekend activities at the Woodland Cultural Centre on Saturday, February 17, 2024.

Over in the Stan Hill Gallery, “Before All Else,” features various mosaic stepping stones that reflect the Thanksgiving Address and its different elements.

“The Waterlution UNITY Project called upon myself under my grassroots organization, to collaborate with the Indigenous students at Cayuga Secondary School to help bring life to a vision that they have for a healing garden that will be built at the school,” Krystal Riverz, a multimedia artist and Director of River Rockz. “We worked together and came up with this concept of placing mosaic stepping stones as the entry point into the healing garden. Each stone represents one of the points of the Thanksgiving Address and it’s going to be placed in that order. So, you’re giving thanks to all the things in creation as you enter into this healing garden, starting from the people to Mother Earth, moving towards the waters and the plants, the animals, the birds, the trees and winds, the sun, moon, and stars, and of course Creator. The project will be traveling for a little while, workshopping, having discussions and engaging community before it makes its way home at Cayuga Secondary.”

Visitors partake in a lyed corn demonstration during Family Day weekend activities at the Woodland Cultural Centre on Saturday, February 17, 2024.

Youngsters in attendance for the day also had the chance to to work with mosaic tiles as well as create their own pieces of art.

“We have them colouring images from a really great colouring book that was developed by the Group of Six, which is a youth art group in Six Nations led by Elizabeth Doxtater,” said Heather George, Executive Director of Woodland Cultural Centre. “We’ve been adding them to this wall so that we can create a whole kids gallery of art over the Family Day weekend.”

As part of the event, visitors also got to enjoy a corn soup lunch, as well as partake in a lyed corn demonstration and a community social.

Deadman said that as an artist and curator, she’s always interested in the process, and that the lyed corn demonstration offered guests a peek into what goes into making traditional corn soup.

“It’s all about the process, so where does corn soup come from? How do you grow corn? How do you lye it?” she said. “Of course, the actual process takes hours, so this is a shortened version, but it’s just to give people that hands-on and upfront experience and understand what goes into it.”

Various artwork is displayed in the Land Matters: Shifting Ground exhibit, which opened during the Family Day weekend activities at the Woodland Cultural Centre on Saturday, February 17, 2024.

Overall, George said that she was pleased with the turnout and is looking forward to keeping it as an annual event.

“It’s been a really, really great turnout, I think we’ve had over 200 people come through and it’s only been two hours. It’s been nice to think about some new programming that’s going to bring in newer audiences as well as some of the folks who haven’t been back in a while,” she said. “I’m just really pleased with all of the community coming out and supporting us when we do these events and that is why we do them, to bring people out so that they can be together, enjoy each other’s company and to be involved in art. I’m super pleased with today and I think this will be an annual event going forward.”

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