Moderator, The Future of the Future Imaginary, Welcome from the Partners.
Skawennati makes art that addresses history, the future, and change from her perspective as an urban Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) woman and as a cyberpunk avatar. Her early adoption of cyberspace as both a location and a medium for her practice has produced groundbreaking projects such as CyberPowWow and TimeTraveller™. She is best known for her machinimas—movies made in virtual environments—but also produces still images, textiles and sculpture.
Her works have been presented in Europe, Oceania, China and across North America in exhibitions such as “Uchronia I What if?”, in the HyperPavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale; “Now? Now!” at the Biennale of the Americas; and “Looking Forward (L’Avenir)” at the Montreal Biennale. They are included in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, among others. She was honoured to receive the 2019 Salt Spring National Art Prize Jurors’ Choice Award, a 2020 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship and a Visiting Artist Fellowship at the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library. She is represented by ELLEPHANT.
Skawennati has been active in various communities. In the 80s she joined SAGE (Students Against Global Extermination) and the Quebec Native Women’s Association. In the 90s she co-founded Nation to Nation, a First Nations artist collective, while working in and with various Indigenous organizations and artist-run centres, including the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal and Oboro. In 2005, she co-founded Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), a research-creation network based at Concordia University whose projects include the Skins workshops on Aboriginal Storytelling and Digital Media as well as the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. Throughout most of the teens, she volunteered extensively for her children’s elementary school, where she also initiated an Indigenous Awareness programme. In 2019, she co-founded centre d’art daphne, Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal’s first Indigenous artist-run centre.
Born in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory, Skawennati belongs to the Turtle clan. She holds a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she resides.