From Edmonton Arts Council: Many nations, Indigenous and settler, helped shape the history of this place, amiskwaciy – “beaver house” in Cree.
The theme of helping each other is inherent in mamohkamatowin, artists, artisans, and students came together to figure out the technical aspects, layer the mosaic tiles, and help bring the turtles to life. As they worked, shaping and adhering tiles, students from amiskwaciy Academy engaged with elders and knowledge holders who carry on the tradition of telling stories of this place.
mamohkamatowin is a symbol of all these elements and represents the stories of this place.
Bio from Edmonton Arts Council: Jerry Whitehead has painted and created for the past 40 years. He has been involved in numerous public art projects and has served as the Vancouver School Board Artist in Residence for the past five years. In 2010, he coordinated the 7600 square foot mural Through the Eye of the Raven – the largest Aboriginal mural in Western Canada. His artwork can be seen in the collections of the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Arts Board, Semaganis Worme Law Firm (Saskatoon, SK), Peace Hills Trust (Edmonton, AB).
His art practice is influenced by his traditional childhood living with no electricity or running water. His father was a hunter and trapper, while his grandparents practiced leather and woodwork, and his mother and aunts created beadwork, moccasins, and mukluks. The colour, movement, and interaction of powwow dance also continues to inspire him. Jerry Whitehead believes in the importance of community-engaged work, that passes his skills and experience to others.