Indigenous artist Nadia Myre is named a member of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec
“Nadia Myre has shifted the way contemporary art in Quebec is seen, is made and is experienced,” says Rebecca Duclos, dean of Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts.
In recognition of that influence, Myre (MFA 02) will become a Compagne de l’Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec on May 27.
The assistant professor of studio arts is a member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Algonquin First Nation and a major figure in Québécois, Canadian and Indigenous contemporary art. Her multidisciplinary work addresses themes of identity, language, resilience, memory and desire.
Myre will join the distinguished order alongside singer Céline Dion, writer and Concordia honorary degree recipient Kim Thúy (LLD 17), musician Serge Fiori, dancer Zab Maboungou and 12 other major Quebec cultural figures.
The Conseil des arts et des lettres is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It created the honorary order five years ago to recognize the commitment of writers and artists to the development, promotion or dissemination of the arts and writing in Quebec.
Only 90 Quebecers are current members of the order.
‘I am honoured to be counted as a cultural ambassador’
“On behalf of the Faculty of Fine Arts and the many communities of students whom she has influenced, we are thrilled that she has received this honour,” says Duclos.
“I can’t think of a better, more luminous or more fitting ambassador for the arts in Quebec than Nadia. We congratulate her for this wonderful, well-earned achievement.”
Myre is currently at the Venice Biennale, where she is exhibiting new work for Volume 0, a collateral exhibit hosted by Zuecca Projects and curated by Max Carocci. She and artist Alan Michelson were invited to reinterpret foundational Renaissance texts such as Ramusio’s “Navigations and Voyages” from an Indigenous perspective.
“I am honoured to be recognized for my work and to be counted as a cultural ambassador by the Conseil des arts et de lettres du Québec,” Myre says.
A Concordia MFA graduate, Myre also won the 2014 Sobey Art Award, was selected for the Biennale de Montréal, Biennale of Sydney and Shanghai Biennale, and has shown her work widely at home and abroad.
Preservation of ancestral knowledge and practices
Myre, the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts Practice at Concordia, is establishing the Kìnawind Lab in the Department of Studio Arts.
“It’s a research-creation space with the purpose of creating, understanding and disseminating contemporary Indigenous art. An Algonquinized spelling of the Anishinaabemowin word Giinawind, Kìnawind implies an inclusive ‘us’ — a grouping of oneself with one’s own community as well as with those outside,” Myre explains.
“Thus, the Kìnawind lab is rooted in the preservation and interrogation of ancestral knowledge and practices while also being critically invested in transcultural objects and relationships, including shifts in practice, since contact.”
In one research-creation example, Myre’s students worked on a large bead-woven sculpture of a birch tree that they installed in the Embassy of Canada in Paris in 2018. The eight students made more than 50,000 ceramic beads, which were then woven, using a loom, into the Tree of Shifting Forms sculpture.
This summer Myre will be working with two studio arts undergrads. They will conduct research into the transcultural histories shared by the Scottish, French, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples regarding the Luckenbooth brooch, a popular 18th- and 19th-century silver token.
Find out more about Concordia’s Department of Studio Arts.