Work on Alderville First Nation Commemoration Project set to begin

A rendering of the Alderville First Nation Commemoration Project, which will be installed at Lake Ontario Park. Work will begin on the public art installation this fall. Rendering via the City of Kingston.

If you frequent Lake Ontario Park, you may see some activity as work on the Alderville First Nation Commemoration Project begins this fall.

The public art piece, which will be a landscape installation, has been in the works for some time now. Planning for the project first began in 2013 after the City of Kingston was approached by James Marsden, then-Chief of the Alderville First Nation. Marsden requested to form a partnership with the City to commemorate the story of the Mississauga Nation in Kingston. Incidentally, the request coincided with the development of Kingston’s first-ever Public Art Master Plan, and the project – as well as its location in Lake Ontario Park – was approved by City Council in 2017.

“Its aim is to raise awareness of the diverse histories and narratives of Indigenous Peoples in this area,” the City of Kingston said in a press release on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019.

The artist for the installation, Terence Radford, was selected for the project by a jury that included three members of the Alderville First Nation, along with three Indigenous artists. According to the City of Kingston, the jury was unanimous in its support of Radford’s proposal, “Manidoo Ogitigan” (“Spirit Garden”), which references themes and ideas significant to the Alderville First Nation.

Terence Radford is a contemporary Canadian artist who works with painting, sculpture, photography and multimedia installations.  He is a registered landscape architect and runs Trophic Design, a landscape and architectural business based in Cobourg.

“Radford’s Cree heritage and membership with the Metis Nation of British Columbia, as well as his work with the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, provided a basis for his studies in cultural landscape theory and Indigenous art history that also informs his work,” the City of Kingston said.

“Manidoo Ogitigan” was designed and developed through an ongoing engagement process with the Alderville First Nation. Its intended function is to serve as a homecoming for the Alderville First Nation, and it explores how the shared experience of colonization and attempts at cultural assimilation have impacted the Alderville First Nation. The installation will incorporate design elements based on the Wampum Belts, the symbolism of the Medicine Wheel, and will feature a selection of culturally-significant food an medicinal plants in a formal layout based on the Alderville Methodist Church.

Site plan for Manidoo Ogitigan, the Alderville First Nation Commemoration Project being installed at Lake Ontario Park. Designs via the City of Kingston.

“This public art project is many years in the making and has been realized through extensive collaboration and engagement with Alderville First Nation,” said Danika Lochhead, Manager of Arts and Sector Development for the City of Kingston. “The intent of the project is to nurture the relationship between the Alderville First Nation and the Kingston region by exploring the historical connections the Mississauga Ojibway and members of the Anishnaabeg Nation have to this area.”

The creation of the permanent public art installation is scheduled to begin this fall, and the installation is expected to be complete by fall 2020. The project’s budget of $150,000 was facilitated by the City of Kingston, and the project will commemorate the past, present, and future of the Alderville First Nation. The installation will also function as a space for the Alderville First Nation and the Kingston community to gather, teach, and learn.

“Alderville First Nation has a long history in Kingston, one that goes back centuries,” said Dave Mowat, Chief of Alderville First Nation. “This public installation and partnership with the City of Kingston speaks to our past while also looking forward to the future.”

For more information on the Alderville First Nation, click here.

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