What do Indigenous thinking and spirituality bring to the world of architecture? UNCEDED – Voices of the Land is a breathtaking multimedia installation that brings together the past, present and future of the Indigenous experience, as seen through the eyes and minds of 18 distinguished Indigenous architects and designers from across Turtle Island (North America).
Led by world-renowned Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal and co-curated by Gerald McMaster and David Fortin, UNCEDED speaks to the contribution of Indigenous architects in shaping our world with their vision, creativity and technical skills — but above all through their connection to the land and traditional ways of knowing.
Cardinal designed the stunning curvilinear form of the Canadian Museum of History and its new signature exhibition, the Canadian History Hall — a space driven by human stories and historical treasures. He also designed the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Organized around four themed territories, the installation features the work of architects and designers as they tell their stories of Indigeneity, resilience, sovereignty and colonization.
In UNCEDED, architects and designers representing Anishinaabe, Blackfoot, Cree, Dene, Lakota, Métis, Mohawk, Navajo, Nisga'a and other Indigenous nations have created an awe-inspiring journey through four thematic "territories": Sovereignty, Resilience, Colonization and Indigeneity. Their work speaks to and from diverse landscapes, overcoming unforgiving limitations, and serving as a beacon of hope and pride throughout Turtle Island.
Instead of artifacts, the exhibition is using motion graphics, eye-to-eye life-size video projections and original soundscapes to convey the concept of Indigenous architecture as a storytelling process integrating spirituality, respect for people and the land, resistance, resilience and indigenous teachings.
UNCEDED was created to represent Canada at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, the most prestigious architectural exhibition in the world.
“I firmly believe that the Indigenous world view, which has always sought this balance between nature, culture and technology, is the path that humanity must rediscover and adopt for our future. The teachings of the Elders are not the teachings of the past. They are the teachings of the future.” — Douglas Cardinal, Blackfoot, Red Deer, Alberta.
“Our exhibit is about storytelling. You can’t look at a building without hearing the dances. You can’t look at a building without seeing the landscape behind it or beside it. You can’t look at a building without hearing the voice of the architect and them referencing their families.” — David Fortin, Métis Nation of Ontario.
“A new critical dialogue is emerging among Indigenous artists and architects, such as the value of traditional knowledge in the face of hyper-capitalism, solidarity between Indigenous peoples, and a search for strategies of decolonization.” — Gerald McMaster, Plains Cree and member of the Siksika First Nation, Alberta
An exhibition developed by Douglas Cardinal Architect Inc. and adapted by the Canadian Museum of History.
Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History welcomes over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum's principal role is to enhance Canadians' knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped Canada's history and identity, as well as to enhance Canadians' awareness of world history and culture. Work of the Canadian Museum of History is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.
For more information, visit www.historymuseum.ca / www.unceded.ca