Skawennati: From Skyworld to Cyberspace


From Skyworld to Cyberspace

September 12–October 26, 2019

Curated by Matthew Ryan Smith
Circulated by McIntosh Gallery, Western University

Opening Reception: Thursday September 12, 5–8 pm, ECH 1239
Artist Presentation: Friday September 13, 12–1 pm, ECH 1219

In From Skyworld to Cyberspace, artist Skawennati (Mohawk, turtle clan) traces a line from our place of origin somewhere in the heavens to the virtual realm, one of the newest territories on Earth. Investigating concepts of time and self, Skawennati engages various mechanisms of gaming and play, interweaving traditional Mohawk stories and ritual objects with new technologies and processes through representations of avatars, most notably her online persona, which she has maintained for over a decade in the virtual world, Second Life. From Skyworld to Cyberspace is a result of Skawennati’s continuing investigation of cultural construction, contemporary Indigenous self-representation in cyberspace, and of our relationships with the digital world.

Skawennati makes art that addresses history, the future, and change from an Indigenous perspective. Her innovative new media projects include the online gallery/chat-space, and mixed-reality event, CyberPowWow (1997-2004); a paper doll/time-travel journal, Imagining Indians in the 25th Century (2001); and TimeTraveller™ (2008-2013), a multi-platform project featuring nine machinima episodes. These works and others have been presented in New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Ireland and across North America in major exhibitions such as Now? Now! at the Biennale of the Americas and Looking Forward (L’Avenir) at the Montreal Biennale. Skawennati is represented by ELLEPHANT and her award-winning work is included in both public and private collections. Born in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory, Skawennati holds a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she is based. Currently, she is Co-Director, with Jason E. Lewis, of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), a research network of artists, academics, and technologists investigating, creating, and critiquing Indigenous virtual environments.

McIntosh Gallery acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.


Please join us for this inspiring multidisciplinary presentation
Exhibitions are free and open to the public

University of Waterloo Art Gallery
East Campus Hall (ECH) room 1239
519.888.4567 ext. 33575

Ivan Jurakic, Director / Curator
519.888.4567 ext. 36741

Tuesday to Saturday 12:00-5:00 pm
Or by appointment

263 Phillip Street, Waterloo
East Campus Hall (ECH) is located adjacent to Engineering 6 (E6)

Visitor Parking is available in Lot B beside Engineering 6 (E6) or Lot Q for a flat rate of $5

University of Waterloo Art Gallery
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1


Image credit: Skawennati, She Falls for Ages (still), 2017, 21 min., Machinima HD Video, English, 16:9 aspect, Edition 2 of 6. Collection of the artist. Image courtesy of the artist and ELLEPHANT, Montreal.