In this highly symbolic work, specifically created for the Stewart Park exhibition, the ITWÉ Collective explores the idea of their presence on the territory of Pointe-Claire as foreigners, thereby drawing a parallel with their belonging to the territory in the broader sense. The installation consists of three individual flags representing the three individual members of the Collective as well as each of their unique voices dialoguing on its behalf. Through this installation, the Collective reminds us that treaties have never been about giving away territory but about sharing space. Entitled OTA (meaning “here” in Cree), this work seeks to open a dialogue on the importance of indigenous representation throughout the territories and nations. The words “nous”, “are” and “ondaje”, in French, English and Anishinaabemowin, respectively make up the phrase : “We are here”.
Collaboration is a cornerstone of their practice, whether they are working with diverse artistic disciplines and communities or establishing partnerships with industry and educational institutions. It is critically important for them to give First Nations people a voice and a way to express themselves.
The indigenous artists’ collective ITWÉ (which means “to speak” in Cree) consists of Sébastien Aubin (Métis/Cree), Kevin Lee Burton (Swampy Cree) and Caroline Monnet (Anishinaabe/French). This transdisciplinary trio promotes creation, production and education in the field of digital culture with indigenous peoples. Sébastien Aubin holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Quebec in Outaouais; his work has focused particularly on graphic design. Caroline Monnet is a filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist; she studied sociology and communications at the University of Ottawa and the University of Grenada in Spain. Kevin Lee Burton is also a filmmaker, as well as being a programmer and publisher. He studied cinema at the Indigenous Independent Digital Filmmaking Program in Vancouver, and has recently completed his social work studies at the University of Winnipeg.