ᒫᒥᑐᓀᔨᐦᒋᑲᐣ ᑯᑖᐄᐧᐤ | mâmitonêyihcikan kotâwîw | my mind digs in the soil like a turtle

October 5 to November 25  

Heather Shillinglaw 


Virtual tour with curator: Wednesday October 25 at 12 pm

ᒥᓂᐢᑎᐠ ᒥᐦᑭᓈᕁ Ministik Mihkinâhk – turtle island: November 1 to 25

FREE art activity in our art nook when you visit!


Red ribbons carve ancient trails through quilted landscapes, marking paths taken by generations past. The trails wander through woods made of satin, lace, leather and yarn, navigating towards ghostly prairie lakes. These aerial views are maps, blending the memories of these lands from THE past with the changes seen today.   

ᒫᒥᑐᓀᔨᐦᒋᑲᐣ  ᑯᑖᐄᐧᐤ mâmitonêyihcikan kotâwîw  my mind digs in the soil like a turtle presents 12 stunning art quilts stitched on elk hide. Heather Shillinglaw, a mixed-media artist of Appetogasan, Cree/Dene, Salteaux Chipewyan and Scottish/French heritage, captures aerial views of Lac St. Anne, Cooking Lake, the Edmonton River Valley, alongside many more. These lands are where her ancestors lived and travelled, where they hunted, gathered medicines, told stories and taught future generations.    

Tufting, beading and embroidery reveal the richness of the natural world. Looking closely at the land itself, the works present beautiful spheres of knowledge that celebrate Indigenous worldviews. Hours spent in conversation with Elders, Knowledge Keepers and family members blend with cultural knowledge, as well as Shillinglaw’s archival and ethnobotanical research. Top stitched across the surface of each piece is the poetry of Métis Elder Marilyn Dumont, beautifully sharing hard truths and painful histories.  

“Walking these landscapes with my mother, Shirley Norris-Shillinglaw, from the LeGoff Indian Reserve, she recounted teachings and knowledge passed down to her. Knowledge of plants and animals, the rhythms and cycles of the land are remembered while out in the bush. It is a healing place. But there are painful gaps – the consequences of colonization and Indian Residential Schools.” – Shillinglaw, 2022 

Shillinglaw is reclaiming her ancestral knowledge and connecting to her family’s history, which is Canada’s history. By working with Elders, honouring and sharing this profound Indigenous knowledge, we can relearn how to see and truly understand this land. 

Heather Shillinglaw, ᑮᓯᑌᐳᐃᐧᐣ ᓵᑳᐦᐃᑲᐣ / kîsitêpowin sâkâhikan / Cooking Lake, 2022; Heather Shillinglaw, Midaaso-ishi-nisway Miskwaadesi Giizis / Thirteen Turtle Moons, 2022; Heather Shillinglaw, De Towe - Teli Towe / Fish Lake / Marie Lake, 2023; Heather Shillinglaw, Ahtowe / Lots of Fish / Primerose Lake, 2023; Heather Shillinglaw in studio.