We Are The Medicine
November 20, 2021 to January 29, 2022
Lana Whiskeyjack is a multidisciplinary artist and scholar from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Treaty Six, Alberta. Based in amiskwaciy waskahikan, Whiskeyjack creates deeply thoughtful works steeped in emotional and spiritual significance. As the title of the exhibition suggests, her work is an act of recognition and gratitude to ancestral medicine, restoring balance and nêhiyaw perspective.
“A traditional concept that has been shared with me throughout my life is that we are born with the medicine that we need to restore balance within ourselves. I am reminded by each creation that I am born with the medicine to help myself.” -Whiskeyjack, 2020.
The ongoing series We Are The Medicine presents a deeply personal rendering of the nêhiyaw teachings of the Thirteen Sacred Moons. Within the nêhiyaw annual calendar, the year is divided into thirteen moons, each with their own teachings and spiritual significance. Passed on in ceremony and from community knowledge keepers, the teachings remind iskwêwak and diverse genders of their sacred relationship to nurture and safeguard the cultural lifestyle of the community.
Luscious, vibrant colours permeate each portrait-like study. Whiskeyjack captures relationships and interconnections, incorporate relatives (human and more-than-human, past and present), tools, seasonal changes and natural phenomena into a wider conversation. Her intention is to convey the beauty and vitality of nêhiyaw culture, promoting curiosity, un/learning and to soulfully (re)connect to the spirit of being a human of this land.
Glossary: amiskwaciy waskahikan – Edmonton; nêhiyaw – Cree; iskwêwak – women/ womxn
Lana Whiskeyjack, pâskowihowipîsim-Egg hatching moon (June), oil on canvas, 48×60”, 2021