The Canada Council of the Arts has selected Indigenous design project UNCEDED to represent Canada at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Led by Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal, the exhibition will bring attention to and analyze the architecture of Indigenous cultures from across Turtle Island (the Indigenous name for North America).
"I am honored to accept this opportunity to show the true beauty and value of Indigenous Peoples, representing Canada at this most important and prestigious international architectural event," said Cardinal.
Known for his smooth, naturalistic designs rooted in his Indigenous heritage, Cardinal has designed numerous notable buildings throughout North America, including First Nations University in Regina, Saskatchewan (2003), Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec (1989), and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC (1998).
"The soaring eagle, facing east to the Rising Sun, is the symbol of our connection to all of Creation where we approach all life, particularly our fellow human beings, with loving and caring," Explained Cardinal. "Like the Thunderbird, we are as 'the Phoneix Arising out of the Ashes,' a people of resilience and beauty, despite the past degradation seeking to eliminate us. We are a spiritual people, at one with Creation, living in balance and harmony with Nature. It is timely that indigenous architects from Turtle Island be given the opportunity to express their unique contributions to an expanding worldview."
Cardinal will be joined Indigenous co-curators Gerald McMaster, curator author, and professor of Indigenous Visual Culture and Critical Curatorial Studies at OCAD University and David Fortin, architect and Incoming Director of the McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University. Together they will lead a team of about 18 Indigenous designers from across Canada and the United States, including Patrick Stewart, Chairman of the Indigenous Task Force, Associate Professor at the McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University and the first person of First Nations ancestry to be elected as President of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia.
"UNCEDED reflects on our country's need for reconciliation. It forces us to question the neutrality of our built environments and the land where they rest. It invites us to understand the deep history held within the land, its inextricable link to identity and culture, and how it can sustain us into the future," added Simon Brault, Director & CEO, Canada Council for the Arts.
As part of ArchDaily's coverage of the 2016 Venice Biennale, we are presenting a series of articles written by the curators of the exhibitions and installations on show. At a scale of 1:1 billion, the geological map of the world reveals planetary scales of operation for the largest resource extraction nation on the planet whose foreign policy is borne from legacies as colony, as confederation, country, and now, as global resource empire.