Exhibitionists·Print's Not Dead

Jordan Bennett infuses living Mi'kmaq history into every inch of this dazzling print

For his work at NSCAD's famed lithography workshop, Bennett looked to a Mi'kmaq tradition: porcupine quillwork.

For his work at NSCAD's famed lithography workshop, Bennett looked to a Mi'kmaq tradition: porcupine quillwork

Jordan Bennett's iljo'qwa'sik. (Jordan Bennett)

Eight Canadian artists have returned to the famed lithography workshop at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, to work with a master and create some fresh prints. Print's Not Dead follows these artists through the process — how they're making their works and the thinking that informed them.

We've featured Jordan Bennett before at CBC Arts, and we've returned to him both for the strength of his work and because he's one of the eight artists continuing the legacy of the lithography workshop at NSCAD University. Often, Bennett's designs have been rooted in Mi'kmaq quillwork — and he repeatedly returns to porcupine quillwork as a source of inspiration. 

In Bennett's print, he references the everyday life of Mi'kmaq people. Bennett says, "The entirety of this piece, colour-wise, represents different stages of the day, all the different cycles on the day of the season, the life. For me these represent clouds. These designs and many different nations across Turtle Island, that's what they represent — clouds, cloud designs."

Watch the video:

Print's Not Dead: Jordan Bennett at NSCAD's lithography workshop

4 years ago
Duration 6:12
Featured VideoJordan Bennett on the porcupine quillwork that infused his new print for NSCAD University's lithography workshop. Filmmaker: Marcia Connolly

In this video made by filmmaker Marcia Connolly, you'll see Bennett at work on his print, with the help of master printer Jill Graham, whose expertise has graced every print in NSCAD's series. Of Graham, Bennett says, "I've done printmaking before but I never ever looked at it the way that Jill looks at it. And it was an amazing learning process that I'll be forever grateful for the print that we made together. It really helped me figure out yet another way to tell our stories."

This video is part of a new CBC Arts series called Print's Not Dead documenting eight artists working in NSCAD's lithography workshop in the present day — stay tuned for more to come. You can see the exhibition of these artists' works at NSCAD Lithography Workshop: Contemporary Editionson view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia until April 26, 2020.

Find out more about the NSCAD Lithography Workshop and explore the works that have come out of it since 1969 here. And you can follow Jordan Bennett here.

Jordan Bennett. (CBC Arts)

Stream CBC Arts: Exhibitionists or catch it on CBC Television Friday nights at 11:30pm (12am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT). Watch more videos here.


Lise Hosein is a producer at CBC Arts. Before that, she was an arts reporter at JazzFM 91, an interview producer at George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. When she's not at her CBC Arts desk she's sometimes an art history instructor and is always quite terrified of bees.