Meet the Artist
Dr. Jamaica Cass is an Indigenous beadwork artist and member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Turtle Clan. Her art reflects both the traditional practices of Indigenous beadwork using historical materials such as antler, caribou hair, leather, porcupine quills and seed beads blended with contemporary elements such as crystals, semi-precious stones and precious metals and integrates this with her passion for both traditional designs and health and well-being through anatomy themes.
When not pursing her art, Jamaica works in primary care and is an Indigenous Health physician working on-reserve. She also teaches at the Queen's University School of Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine. She is a wife and mother of two girls and two dogs. Her beadwork can be seen permanently displayed at Queen's University and is worn worldwide.
This mixed media artwork was a collaboration with the concept designer, Tiffany Cass, member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. Tiffany Cass created a digital design of the artwork that Jamaica used as a framework for beading.
The joy of fresh starts and new beginnings is something that all people can appreciate and revel in. Creating a unique work that brings this universal theme together was such a pleasure and I hope my love for such rich traditions shines through in this work.
Meet the Storyteller
Lindsay Brant is an Adjunct Lecturer, Indigenous Curriculum and Ways of Knowing at Queen’s University. She is from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and is a Mom to two very sweet young boys.
She is also a storyteller, and writes non-fiction, poetry, children’s literature, and self-development books.
She uses a culturally based storytelling approach to weave in stories from her knowledge and cultural understanding, and her own professional and personal experiences, to take you on a journey towards discovering your core values and strengths as an individual, while encouraging you to learn, lead and teach from your gifts.
Storytelling is such a powerful way of connecting. Both storytelling and art are such beautiful means and modes of self-expression, sharing, and connection. I am grateful for the opportunity to share this important story from my Kanyen’keháka (Mohawk) culture.
No concept better encompasses local traditional Indigenous culture and history this season than the Haudenosaunee mid-winter celebration. This piece of mixed media art represents the sacred ceremony- Anonhwaró:ri. Celebrated by the six nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, this ceremony celebrates the start of a New Year, the Sha’tekoshérhon.
The body of ‘Seven Dancers in the Moonlight’ features hundreds of charlotte-cut seed beads. These are embellished with several styles of hand embroidery on a backdrop of tanned, dyed salmon skin and highlighted with hand-harvested and dyed porcupine quills and Swarovski crystals. It blends traditional Indigenous art materials with contemporary resources to tell the story of the Seven Dancers.
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