Santhony Pottery: Into the Fire
July 29 – September 17, 2023
Opening Reception: Thursday, August 10, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Glenhyrst Art Gallery, Brantford
This exhibition marks the first major exhibition of Santhony Pottery, one of the last studios to practice historical Haudenosaunee pottery on Six Nations of the Grand River territory. The origins of Santhony Pottery date back to the 1950s and 60s when Six Nations resident Elda “Bun” Smith unearthed pottery sherds near her home. Inspired by the question “where did it go?,” Smith was awarded an Ontario Arts Council grant that sent artist Tessa Kiddick to teach pottery techniques to a group of women on Six Nations in 1962. Following Kiddick’s instruction, Smith continued to research historical Haudenosaunee pottery design. She is now credited for helping to revitalize Haunenosaunee pottery on Six Nations, which stands as one of the largest cultural renewal efforts in Canada.
In 1965, Smith visited her sister-in-law Darlene Smith in California and taught her how to throw clay. These lessons were later passed down to Darlene Smith’s daughter Cindy Henhawk of Santhony Pottery, who turned to pottery full-time after the passing of her mother in 2001. Since teaming with her sister-in-law Judi Henhawk Sault, the pair has been actively selling work on the powwow circuit and offering demonstrations, classes, and workshops. The story of Santhony Pottery, and Six Nations pottery more generally, is one of generational knowledge and family relationships. Unfortunately, the number of potters on Six Nations is quickly diminishing due to failing hands, illness, retirement, or passing on. This exhibition not only examines Santhony Pottery’s fascinating body of work but also represents a call to action to protect this important cultural practice.
About the Artists
Santhony Pottery is a family pottery studio based on Six Nations of the Grand River territory and managed by Cindy Henhawk and Judi Henhawk Sault. Their work resides in major public and private collections around in Canada and internationally, including the Royal Ontario Museum (CAN), the National Museum of the American Indian (US), The Iroquois Museum (US), and the Museum of Archeology in London (UK). Into the Fire marks their first major gallery exhibition.
Glenhyrst Art Gallery acknowledges that we are on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabe, and Haudenosaunee Peoples. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon Treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabe peoples and symbolizes the agreement to share, protect our resources, and not to engage in conflict. The City of Brantford is situated on the Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations, which includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
Glenhyrst Art Gallery is fully accessible and includes an elevator and accessible washroom. The main entrance is accessed by a concrete pathway and may be opened with an automatic door opener. For assistance or questions about the gallery, please give us a call. Admission is free (donations accepted) and everyone is welcome.