On the cover is the brilliant work of Saulteaux/Métis visual artist Autumn Whiteway (“Night Singing Woman”). Created in 2020, “Indigenous Lives Matter” was inspired by what was happening with Wet’suwet’en, Mi’kmaq lobster fishing, the Land Back movement, 1492 Land Back Lane and racist anger towards Indigenous Peoples for rail blockades. This powerful image features Whiteway herself and gives a nod to “Rosie the Riveter”. “The intention is to inspire Indigenous Peoples to know their power and keep fighting for sovereignty,” explained Whiteway. This piece particularly celebrates women as water protectors and land defenders.
A traditional craftworker, curator and archaeologist, Whiteway has always been curious about the material culture produced by her ancestors, in addition to traditional knowledge passed down through the generations.
This curiosity led her on a path of discovery to learn many different types of traditional Indigenous crafts. As an artist, Whiteway explores Indigenous themes from a contemporary perspective through painting and photography. She is inspired by artists such as Norval Morrisseau and Kent Monkman. Her painting and digital art focus primarily on the symbolic Woodland style of art. Her photography, on the other hand, is used as a form of activism to highlight issues that impact Indigenous Peoples and communities.
Throughout her career as an archaeologist, Whiteway has worked and conducted research in Canada, Jordan, Ethiopia, Italy and Iceland. She holds an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba, a B.Sc. (First Class Honours) in Archaeology concentrating in Physical Anthropology from the University of Calgary, and a B.A. (with Distinction) in Greek and Roman Studies from the University of Calgary. Whiteway specializes in mortuary ethnoarchaeology, the archaeology of pastoral nomads, human osteology and zooarchaeology, and traditional knowledge. In the near future, she hopes to publish a book on her current research with respect to the archaeology of body modification.
Whiteway has spent the last few years curating numerous Indigenous group exhibitions and pushing boundaries by creating innovative works that challenge the norm and spark conversation. Her latest project called “History Is Written by the Victors” includes a series of 12 pieces of artwork that turns colonial narratives on their heads, and SAY Magazine looks forward to sharing more about this exhibition when it is complete.
For more information about Whiteway’s work visit autumn.ca or search @ojicreations.