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‘This is about community’: New art installation unveiled at Hamilton’s West Harbour on National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

Local Indigenous artist Angela DeMontigny saw her work translated into permanent public installations at Hamilton’s West Harbour this morning (Sept. 30).

Four pieces of public art, titled All Our Relations, were erected this week and unveiled on the Day of Truth and Reconciliation, each piece displaying a different aspect of Indigenous culture through large glass beads. 

“This is about unity,” DeMontigny said. “This is about connection, and it’s kind of my love letter to Mother Earth and to all of creation. This has been a spirit-led project from the get-go and has been divinely timed, even with all of the delays and challenges and everything. The fact that we now have a place, a dedicated space not only for the urban Indigenous community in the city to gather and have ceremonies, but for everyone to gather. This is about community.”

The colourful artwork took four years to finalize from its conception to its official unveiling and includes representations of the sun, the Thunderbird and various plants and animals.

Several members of Hamilton’s local government attended the event and spoke about the development of the artwork on display at the waterfront.

Much of the crowd wore orange for the Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

“Our public art process began with a focus group of local citizens, stakeholders, and artists that helped to develop goals and themes for the project,” Ward 2 Coun. Cameron Kroetsch said. “Artists were invited to develop a proposal that would respond to the project goal, to be a beacon visible along James Street North, marking the entrance to the West Harbour, and recalling an aspect of the city’s historic connection with the water.”

Besides the unveiling of DeMontigny’s work in the morning, the event also included a fire ceremony at dawn, local Indigenous drummers and singers, speeches from community leaders and elders and a performance from Indigenous slam poet D’Scribe.

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