“The objectives of my concepts are to raise public awareness about issues to bridge the gap between cultures.”
My art is a reflection of my life, of being in place and time, just as art production is essentially a mirror of the self and the self in life. My visual narrative reflects my current Indigenous experience, based on personal and socio-political issues or drawn from historical events, archives and cultural context. The objectives of my concepts are to raise public awareness about issues to bridge the gap between cultures.
The predominant genres of my artwork are sculpture, drawing, digital imaging and illustration of children's books. My sculpture is conceptual minimalist work, though at times I integrate partial realism. My artistic strategy is to create poetic, distilled forms that are metaphoric for a deeper reading of layered Indigenous content. I work in mixed-media, often employing natural materials of stone, wood, and bones with cast material, usually with Matrix G and also work in bronze. In the past several years I have integrated stones into my sculpture with a historical and aesthetic purpose. Stones were a central medium for Plains people that were used for its practical physical properties and well for ceremonial purposes ritual land markers, and artistic/spiritual production. It has been my intention to revive the traditional use of stone, and transform traditional forms and concepts into contemporary meaning and relevance.
Currently, I am planning the national tour of my billboard, Warrior Woman: Stop the Silence! This work is a call to action, to Stop the Silence of the North American mass genocide of Indigenous people, which remains submerged and absent from educational history texts and government discourse. It is also a call for justice and for memorials to be set up in honor of all Indigenous people who have died. The billboard is accompanied by awareness ribbons and an educational pamphlet.
Upcoming work will concentrate on sculpture and installation in public space by creating drawings and maquettes. Public art provides a powerful opportunity to access a wide audience and to create permanent urban markers of time and place, in this way, Indigenous presence and voice cannot be erased and the content will be available for generations to come.
Mary Longman is a Salteaux mixed media artist from Gordons, First Nations living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.