Three new Indigenous sculptures unveiled in Quad
Trio makes up temporary exhibit that explores the human struggle with communication.
By MICHEL PROULX
Three new Indigenous sculptures, on loan until June 2018, were installed in the Quad of the University of Alberta’s north campus yesterday.
“We’ve been working on an initiative to ensure more Indigenous art is displayed over time for public spaces on U of A campuses so that we can work towards a better understanding of Indigenous culture and move towards reconciliation,” said Wendy Rodgers, deputy provost of the university. “These three sculptures are meant to reaffirm the University of Alberta’s commitment to work towards respectful and meaningful reconciliation.”
The three sculptures—The Hunter, Big Bear is Right and The Eaglechild—which will serve as focal points on campus for programs and events, were placed near the Sweetgrass Bear sculpture the university bought from Indigenous artist Stewart Steinhauer, and unveiled last August on the south end of the Quad.
The three new sculptures, which were also created by Steinhauer, form an outdoor sculpture exhibit entitled Indigenous Methodology and the Rock Grandfather.
“The Rock Grandfather’s role in this world is to help fragile humanity with the process of communication,” said Steinhauer. “Humans struggle with communication. The Rock Grandfather uses a non-linguistic approach to communication, speaking directly—consciousness to consciousness—bypassing language altogether.”
In addition to the Sweetgrass Bear sculpture on north campus, the university installed a smaller version of the sculpture on its downtown campus, Enterprise Square, last year. The university also acquired Old Broken Number One, another sculpture by Steinhauer, recently installed on the university’s Augustana campus in Camrose. These three sculptures are part of the U of A’s Art Collection.
Steinhauer is a self-taught Indigenous granite sculptor from Saddle Lake Cree Nation in northeast Alberta. His works are in private collections around the world, and in public collections in B.C. and Alberta where he also maintains on-reserve studios.