• Friday, June 1–Wednesday, August 1, 2018
  • Coast to Coast


“For these artists, resilience is embodied as endurance, adaptability and sovereignty in relation to customary practices, contemporary identities, the land, and the impact of colonial practices and strategies. The large-scale billboard images exist outside of art galleries, standing alongside the county’s roadways. The artists in Resilience stand as Defenders of their cultural sovereignty and Protectors of this land.” –Curator Lee-Ann Martin

MAWA is thrilled to be launching Resilience. It is the largest exhibition of Indigenous women artists in Canada’s history … in more ways than one!

Starting on June 1, 2018, MAWA will be presenting the artworks of 50 contemporary artists on 167 billboards from Sidney, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia, and on large-scale posters in reserves and northern communities in the three territories. Curated by Lee-Ann Martin, this project celebrates the resiliency and creativity of Indigenous women throughout thousands of years on Turtle Island.

Check out the Resilience website that accompanies the project ( to find billboard locations, artist statements and a magnificent, 7,000-word essay by Martin. There is also a video by local Métis producers Wookey Films. All of the graphic elements for this project have been developed by Edmonton-based designer Jacquelyn Cardinal, using water as a metaphor to reflect the power and adaptability of Indigenous women. Web design is by Winnipeg’s Amphibian Design (more water imagery!).

MAWA developed the project in response to Call to Action #79 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report: integration of “Indigenous history, heritage values, and memory practices into Canada’s national heritage and history”. This project is a creative act of reconciliation—one of many in MAWA’s programming. Since MAWA’s 2005 Urban Aboriginal Report, MAWA has actively integrated Indigenous women as leaders into all programs and has also developed programming specifically for Indigenous women artists. It is part of MAWA’s commitment to decolonization, and something that we ask you, the MAWA community, to hold us accountable to.

MAWA couldn’t do a project of this scale without special funding and a dedicated Project Manager. Resilience is one of 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada. The project was brought to fruition by Lindsey Bond, who oversaw all aspects of this vast enterprise. Lindsey was guided by Knowledge Keeper Ko’ona Saber. To both of these women, MAWA is deeply indebted.

We are deeply honoured to be showing the work of 50 amazing artists, really, really big, all over the nation!

–Co-EDs Shawna Dempsey and Dana Kletke

Resilience artists:

KC Adams, Kenojuak Ashevak, Shuvinai Ashoona, Rebecca Gloria-Jean Baird, Mary Anne Barkhouse, Christi Belcourt, Rebecca Belmore, Jaime Black, Lori Blondeau, Heather Campbell, Joane Cardinal-Schubert, Lianne Marie Leda Charlie, Hannah Claus, Dana Claxton, Ruth Cuthand, Dayna Danger, Patricia Deadman, Bonnie Devine, Rosalie Favell, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Lita Fontaine, Melissa General, Tanya Harnett, Maria Hupfield, Ursula Johnson, Bev Koski, Nadya Kwandibens, Mary Longman, Amy Malbeuf, Teresa Marshall, Meryl McMaster, Caroline Monnet, Lisa Myers, Nadia Myre, Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter, Marianne Nicolson, Shelley Niro, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Nigit'stil Norbert, Daphne Odjig, Jane Ash Poitras, Annie Pootoogook, Sherry Farrell Racette, Sonia Robertson, Pitaloosie Saila, Jessie Short, Skawennati, Jackie Traverse, Jennie Williams and Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson