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
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:
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 Editions, on view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia until April 26, 2020.