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Last fall, the Canada Council for the Arts selected the Indigenous design project UNCEDED as Canada’s o fficial representative at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale . Led by legendary architect Douglas Cardinal, UNCEDED will emphasize and celebrate the work of Indigenous architects and designers throughout Turtle Island, with a dedicated website now launched for the upcoming exhibition. Providing a thematic overview of the exhibit — guided by the vision to celebrate “Indigenous architecture that speaks to and from landscapes of resilience, overcoming unforgiving limitations and serving as a register of hope and pride for Indigenous designers across Turtle Island” — the site offers an in-depth look at the project team. Co-curated by Gerald McMaster and David Fortin, UNCEDED will exhibit work by a diverse collection of 18 Indigenous architects (representing both Canada and the US), each of whom is also profiled on the site.

The exhibit will be grounded in the legacy of the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report. Doubling its previous investment to enhance international exposure, the Canada Council will make a contribution of $500,000 towards the presenter’s exhibition. A letter from Cardinal is also featured, framing UNCEDED “as a great opportunity for the nations of the world to see the tremendous contribution our indigenous people can make to the world family.” Cardinal describes “[t]he tremendous hardship and destruction of our land, resources, language, culture, families, communities, and nations, and how we have survived through our strength and resiliency, are great teachings that reinforce our own basic beliefs, and make us even more determined to govern ourselves and our resources in a good way, following the teachings of our ancestors.”

“It is here at this Biennale in Venice that we can create an image of our indigenous people as a Phoenix rising from the ashes, as the eagle soaring into the future. We can present our work to show how our architecture is a reflection of the spiritual values of our culture, which we can share with the human family. The planning of our communities is sustainable, respecting our mother, the Earth, so that we can continue our role as stewards of the land and set a good example in the interest of our future seven generations.”

This year’s Venice Biennale exhibition will take place from May 26 – November 25.

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