Sonia Robertson | Umiku Nekaui-Assi, Sang de la terre-mère

Sonia Robertson | Umiku Nekaui-Assi, Sang de la terre-mère

2 août au 12 septembre 2021

As part of the International First Peoples Festival, La Guilde is proud to present the installation Umiku Nekaui-Assi | Sang de la terre-mère by artist Sonia Robertson. The work was created with the participation of indigenous women. The visitor is encouraged to experience the work by walking through it and getting closer to read the embroidered words.

Her work is the material trace of her lived experience not only with those who collaborated to its creation but also with the spirit of the river in an animistic vision. It is also a dialogue between the visible and the invisible, between light and shadow. The use of installation allows the artist to question and transform space, to conceive a sacred place and to suggest an atmosphere. Sonia Robertson explores the notion of temporary space, movement (represented by the meanderings and river flow) and participation in her work. The tension between opposites is an integral part of the work.

Sonia Robertson invited several indigenous women from the Abitibi- Témiscamingue and Lanaudière regions to embroider words on wax paper, words that carry a prayer or intention to heal the water (nipi). This participatory work was first exhibited as part of the exhibition Nikiwin at the Centre d’exposition de Val-d’Or in 2014 and at the Musée d’art de Joliette in the group exhibition De tabac et de foin d’odeur in 2019. In the present exhibition, the artist shows an installation whose creation is being continued thanks to the participation of indigenous women from the region of Montreal in workshops given during the Festival.


A short behind-the-scenes video of the installation with the artist:

For those who couldn't attend, here is the video of Sonia Robertson’s artist talk on her creative process and journey :


Of Ilnu origin, the artist Sonia Robertson lives in Mashteuiatsh (Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region). She specializes in art therapy, installation, and performance art. She holds a Master’s degree in Art Therapy from UQAT and a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Art from the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. She also works as a curator and entrepreneur. Sonia Robertson’s work is nourished by the search for unity, gratitude, the imaginary, the relationship to the spirit worlds, traditional knowledge, and history from a First Nations perspective. She has participated in numerous artistic events in Canada, France, Japan, and Haiti, amongst others. Her work has been presented in a dozen solo exhibitions and several group exhibitions in Canada and internationally. Her work is included in public collections such as the Smithsonian Museum (Washington), the Canadian Museum of History (Gatineau) and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Winnipeg). In addition to her artistic work, she has been involved in many organizations and participated in their foundation, including the Diane Robertson Foundation (now known as Kamishkak’Arts) and the Centre de production en art actuel TOUTTOUT in Chicoutimi. Recipient of several grants, she won the Prix excellence de la Société des musées du Québec twice for her curatorial projects.

IMAGES: Sonia Robertson, Umiku Nekaui-Assi | Sang de la terre-mère, 2021. © La Guilde
VIDEOS: Installation | Sonia Robertson, 2021; Rencontre-causerie | Sonia Robertson, 2021. © La Guilde