From Edmonton Arts Council: Preparing to Cross the Sacred River references and acknowledges the natural formation of the North Saskatchewan River Valley banks, wildlife, and shared stories and traditions of Indigenous peoples.
The stone slabs form a wall or “lookout” etched with images of “this place.” The artwork, which features sandblasted patterning reminiscent of beading styles, symbolizes the need to reconnect with ancient and sacred Indigenous beliefs to uphold our relationship to the land and protect the planet. Such activities must be built upon the foundation of ancient stories that tell how humans came to be in this place and how they must act within it.
Artist Bio: Marianne Nicolson (‘Tayagila’ogwa) is an artist of Scottish and Dzawada̱ ’enux̱w First Nations descent. The Dzwada̱ ’enux̱w People are a member tribe of the Kwakwa̱ka̱ ’wakw Nations of the Pacific Northwest Coast.
Her training encompasses both traditional Kwakwa̱ka̱ ’wakw forms and culture and Western European based art practice. She has completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (1996), a Masters in Fine Arts (1999), a Masters in Linguistics and Anthropology (2005) and a PhD in Linguistics, Anthropology in 2013 at the University of Victoria. She has exhibited her artwork locally, nationally and internationally as a painter, photographer and installation artist, has written and published a number of essays and articles, and has participated in multiple speaking engagements.
Most recent public art projects include a 35’ glass wall for the new Canadian Embassy in Amman, Jordan in 2013 and a 35’ glass sculpture for The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in 2015. All of her practice engages with issues of Aboriginal histories and politics arising from a passionate involvement in cultural revitalization and sustainability.