Introduction from the Editor
In 2014 Lindsay Delaronde, a Iroquoise-Mohawk artist from the Kahnawake reserve, served as one of the artists in residence at the Royal BC Museum. She was involved in many different events throughout that year, such as storytelling sessions in the First Peoples gallery, she also took extensive behind-the-scenes tours, explored in depth all the various collections that the museum has to offer and created a project born out of those explorations. What follows are two of the photographs she created in response to her time as an Indigenous artist in the museum.
Francine Cunningham, Guest Editor
It was a pleasure to have a behind-the-scenes experience while being the Artist in Residence at the Royal BC Museum in 2014 and to learn from the staff I met along the way. From the research and collections to the actual displays, I was amazed to see how all departments worked separately but for the same cause.
On this note, my creative project idea came from visiting Grant Keddie in the archaeology department. I was interested in the way he invested his time in recreating the act of making tools, and his interest in DNA. I thought about how the museum is compartmentalized in a way that separates the experience of viewing the content held in the museum displays and how that contrasts with how things systemically function in the gallery for understandable reasons. The photographs I created convey an alternative message of ‘interconnectedness’ stemming from an Indigenous perspective. Coming from an Iroquois philosophy of living, I believe that we are all connected as a human species. This concept was important for me to accentuate in the pieces I created while being the artist in residence.
In this photograph titled We All Bleed Blood you can see a close-up shot of an arrowhead found in the Royal BC Museum collection, pricking my finger and exposing a drop of blood. In my lifetime I have always been taught that is was US vs THEM, which allowed me to create barriers to connection. I’ve now come to understand and learn about soul development, collective consciousness and our journey as a human species to come back to ‘unity’. Exposing the blood in this photograph reinforces that we are all of the same energy, same world and we need to understand ‘wholeness’ and that ‘healing’ is for all human beings and most importantly the land.
The photograph of me painted in the colours of the medicine wheel—black, white, red and yellow—conveys the message of wholeness, unity and balance. The medicine wheel fundamentally teaches the notion of respect. Humankind is not separate from any other thing in the world but just another living, breathing creature among many. The medicine wheel teachings can be interpreted in different ways but always coming back to wholeness and balance.
These two images supported each other in a way that is sacred and spiritual.