WINNER of the 2020 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award
Tepkik, a 100-foot long site-specific sculptural work by visual artist Jordan Bennett, has a striking visual representation of the intersection of Mi’kmaq ancestral and contemporary traditions. Tepkik draws on the Mi’kmaq petroglyph that depicts the Milky Way, which has been found on the rocky shores of the lakes and rivers at Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia. Bennett’s work employs both large printed fabric panels and highly reflective surface elements. Jordan Bennett’s largest piece to-date, the sweeping, colourful Polysilk fabric panels used in Tepkik transported visitors into the realm of the night sky, bringing the stars and stories of our galaxy into view at any time of day. The installation title, Tepkik, is a Mi’Kmaq word for “night”, reflecting on the time that allows us to see astronomical elements such as constellations and the Milky Way and the stories that correspond to these elements. Historical references to the sky, land, and our galaxy are illuminated by Bennett’s bright treatment of colour, both traditional and pop, as well as his interpretation of Mi’kmaq quillwork patterns and motifs. By employing new materials in his art practice, Bennett has given a new forum for these oral traditions to be told and shared.
From the 2020 Masterworks jury:
“Tepkik is simultaneously specific and universal – it takes the reverence for the night sky shared across cultures and uses it to hold space for the past and future of Mi’kmaq traditions.”
Greg Hill is the first Indigenous curator at the National Gallery of Canada. He is currently the Audain Senior Curator of Indigenous Art. In 2007, Hill became the inaugural Audain Curator of Indigenous Art and head of the Department of Indigenous Art. Beginning his career at the Gallery in 2000 as Curatorial Assistant for Canadian Art, then Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art in 2002, he has been dedicated to increasing both the collection and display of Indigenous art at the National Gallery of Canada ever since. There are now well over 2200 Indigenous works of art at the National Gallery.
Greg has curated internationally touring retrospective exhibitions and written catalogues for some of Canada’s most acclaimed artists, including the first solo exhibition for a First Nations artist at the National Gallery, Norval Morrisseau (2006), Carl Beam (2010) and most recently, Alex Janvier (2016). He has curated numerous permanent collection exhibitions at the National Gallery and was also the National Gallery’s presenting curator for touring exhibitions of the work of Daphne Odjig (2009), Robert Davidson (2007) and Charles Edenshaw (2012). In 2013, Greg was co-curator for Sakahan: International Indigenous Art, the National Gallery’s largest ever exhibition and the only recurring global survey of contemporary Indigenous art in the world.