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Ogimaa Mikana (Susan Blight + Hayden King)
Never Stuck Never Stuck
Collected in 1924 Collected in 1924

Never Stuck is in direct response to a 2018 Facebook post by Niizhoosake Sherry Copenace, who wrote: “As Anishinaabe we have been given our way of life to solve and get thru any situation. Anishinaabe is not ever stuck.” The artwork takes, as its inspiration and conceptual basis, the text “we are never stuck.” These profoundly philosophical words articulate Anishinaabeg resistance and adaptation. They convey a confidence that Anishinaabeg language and epistemologies have sustained Anishinaabeg peoples before, during and long after colonization.
The colourful beings repeated in the mural are sturgeon. Anishinaabe respect this fish as holding ancient knowledge and connected to the stars as well as the future. The sturgeon nourished Anishinaabe families and communities for generations upon generations. But the sturgeon has also suffered under colonization—first seen as a problem to be destroyed (sturgeon often ruined settlers’ nets) and then as a valuable resource to be extracted (for meat, caviar and isinglass) and fished almost to extinction. The damming of various waters in Anishinaabeg territory have kept sturgeon from their ancestral journeys, captured and confined them. But they persevere and are returning to our waters now in greater numbers. Ogimaa Mikana considers the path through colonization to be linked between Anishinaabeg peoples and sturgeon: just as the sturgeon against all odds manages to get through dams blocking their path, the Anishinaabeg are never stuck.

 
Ogimaa Mikana (Susan Blight + Hayden King)
Anishinaabeg Territory, Thunder Bay ON, 1977 (Blight); Anishinaabeg Territory, Waubaushene ON, 1980 (King) Anishinaabeg Territory, Thunder Bay ON, 1977 (Blight); Anishinaabeg Territory, Waubaushene ON, 1980 (King)
Never Stuck Never Stuck
Collected in 1924 Collected in 1924
Vinyl transfer Vinyl transfer
1148 cm x 445 cm
Purchase, Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund, 2019 Purchase, Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund, 2019
62-008

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