The Collectors Symposium, presented by National Bank Private Banking 1859, was established to give participants an opportunity to share in the experience of sitting on an art acquisition committee. Much appreciated by art lovers and collectors, this unique evening also offers those less familiar with contemporary art a chance to discover contemporary works and the important role they play within a museum collection. In the last years, the Symposium, which is closely aligned with the mission of both the Foundation and the museum, has allowed major works to be added to the MAC’s collection.
Skawennati was born in the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake in 1969. Concerned with the absence of indigenous people in the collective imaginary of the future, this Mohawk artist uses media arts to create an indigenous presence in cyberspace. Skawennati’s work is mostly known due to her “machinimas”, films set in virtual environments. In these, the artist choreographs the actions of avatars whose voices are supplied by members of her community. Her “futuristic” representations of indigenous people allow to undermine the stereotypes spread by the media and to assert the vibrancy of a current indigenous culture with a long future ahead of it.
Presented at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal for the Biennale de Montreal 2014, TimeTravellerTM, 2007-2014, is centered on a series of nine short machinimas. In them we follow the story of Hunter, a young Mohawk of the 22nd century, who, using the technology of TimeTravellerTM glasses, goes on a virtual quest on which he visits the milestones of indigenous history and meets Karahkwenhawi, a young Mohawk woman from the present. In another machinima artwork Onkweshòn:’a: Words Before All Else Part 1, 2017, an avatar recites in English, French and Kanien’kéha the first section of the Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen, which means“Thanksgiving Address”, words traditionally spoken at the beginning of all Haudenosaunee (“Iroquois”) gatherings.