Quinn Hopkins, Stellar Narratives: An Urban Indigenous Odyssey, 2024

Stellar Narratives: An Urban Indigenous Odyssey bridges the gap between Anishinaabe night sky stories and the city. With each season, a new chapter unfolds through augmented reality, showcasing the constellations that have guided Anishinaabe wisdom for generations. This AR experience is a new way of sharing stories, connecting us to the oral traditions that have long shaped indigenous knowledge.

Set against both cityscapes and natural landscapes, the artwork invites urban indigenous people to look up and rediscover the ancestral stories etched in the stars above them. It is a reminder that the wisdom of the land is still with us, even in the heart of the city. Hopkins’s work is a creative pathway back to these teachings, making the ancient art of storytelling interactive and accessible, helping us remember and return to the land’s deep knowledge through the shared experience of art. 

 

Ancestral Echoes  

 

Indigenous Languages hold the First Knowledges of these Lands.  

 

Our languages connect us to place in profound, indescribable ways. Our words provide guidance, understanding of the land and of our coexistence through intricate and interconnected relationships with the worlds around us.  

 

zhaagnaashiikaang  

 

Settler colonialism has intruded upon and disrupted these interwoven relationships. cutting reckless paths through our lands, our waterways, our sustenance, our culture, our families, our languages, and our ancestors as it attempted to erase our presence.  

 

Indigenous public art can change settler perception of place, it serves as a reminder of our ancestral connection to these lands and silently shouts…  

WE. ARE. STILL. HERE.

 

In the 2024 unveiling of Stellar Narratives: An Urban Indigenous Odyssey, Quinn Hopkins joins esteemed Indigenous artists: Duane Linklater, Rita Letendre, Tannis Nielsen, Laura Grier and Logan MacDonald in the collection of Indigenous public artworks hosted by Evergreen Brick Works. Hopkins raises the bar for public art with this work through the addition of Augmented Reality (AR), a new media practice which looks to revolutionize the way we perceive place and how we learn. AR embodies the viewer, offering a visual conduit by which an artwork/site can be experienced through braiding the real world, with the digital. The sky’s the limit for the future of AR-based Indigenous placemaking interventions that tussle with the public’s perception of site through the continued (re)Indigenization of our lands. Hopkins work contributes to this relatively new and important discourse, he’s part of a forward-thinking generation of Indigenous artists harnessing the power of AR to literally,  

 

CHANGE. THE. LANDSCAPE.
 

In Stellar Narratives, Hopkins asserts and brings forth Anishnaabe Star Knowledge in this dynamic, seasonally changing public artwork. As an Anishinaabe-based project, curator Alexis Nanibush-Pamajewong responds to Hopkins’s work by speaking on the narrative and connection to the anang aki (star world). Living in Tkarón:to as an urban Anishnaabe artist and curator, Nanibush-Pamajewong recalls the energy and love of the stars in the following text: 

 

anang aki  

 

as Nishnaabeg, anangoog speak to us  

 

they tell us stories, they connect us, they teach us, they guide us  

 

but we also speak to them. 

 

reciprocity. 

 

the anangoog needs us just as much as we need them. we cannot exist without them. 

our world, Turtle Island, depends on their light  

they rely on our unpolluted light  

our voice and presence  

 

we must look at the sky  

acknowledge their existence  

 

time immemorial  

 

our stories  

our clans  

our cycles  

exist because they do  

 

they are our teachers  

they let us know when our berries are ripe  

when it’s time to hunt  

to harvest  

to return home  

to cycle  

 

to dream  

to heal  

to love  

 

the constellations animate an abundance of celestial beings that are the spirits of the sky people  

 

we embody their celestial energy 

becoming celestial bodies  

 

creating constellations within ourselves 

 

we are in a continuous narration 

we all share the same sky 

in the bush   

in the city 

 

anangoog still exist and shine over us 

they shine for us just as they did for our ancestors 

anangoog  

                                                  our first lights 

our navigation 

 

ancestral    

                    anangoog 

ancestral   

                    stars 


Aylan Couchie (she/her) is a Nishnaabekwe interdisciplinary artist, curator and writer hailing from Nipissing First Nation.

 

Alexis Nanibush-Pamajewong (she/they) is a Two-Spirit Anishinaabe interdisciplinary artist from Shawanaga First Nation (Robinson Huron Treaty). Alexis is the Coordinator of Indigenous Public Arts at Evergreen Brick Works.

 

Anishinaabemowin translation provided by Henry Pitawanakwat.

 

Gaane niigaaniijik msowesnok

 

Anishinaabeg Nawewining temgad shkintam kendimaawzowin maanpii gitkamig

 

Gidanawewinaanin gdoo digwaabiisemi owi gegoo kidiwn tesinok ezhi mooshkineshkaagiying kendimaawzowin. Gdoo kidiwinaanin gdoo daakaangwanaanin, nsastamiing aki miinwaa ezhi digo maadiziying owi nikeyaa ezhi maanda digwaabiiseying digobkaaziying owi kina giitaakimigaang.

 

zhaagnaashiikaang

 

Megwenh maakinigewin gdoo nashkwegwanaa miinwaa nashkwetaanan ezhi maandaa aabiig ezhi digobkaaziying. Pskwaakwegewaad wii miikinaakewad maanpii gda akiimnaang. Ezhi naagidoying nbi, owi ezhi mindiziying, gda zhiyaawinaa, ezhi gwadoozhwaangiziying, gda nawewinaa, miinwaa gichinshinaaben ezhi wiikijitoowaad wii ngwaneying.

 

Zhinoomookiing Anishinaabeg mzinbiiganan daa aanseni megwenh ezhi ginoowaabdang ezhigaabwid, daazhi mkowaawaataagiziimgad chinshinaabe ezhi digwaased maanpii akiing miinwaa negaaj noondaagiziimgad…

GEYAABI ZHINDA NDAA`AAMI. 

 

2024 gii nsaboongak gii aabskaweginigaade Naawewe`iin Naajimowinan: chi oodeno Anishinaabeg Bibaamaadizowin, Quinn Hopkins wiijibizoomaad Anishinaabe Mezinbiigejig: Duane Linklater, Rita Letendre, Tanis Nielson, Laura Grier miinwaa Logan MacDonald maawndoosidoowaad Anishinaabe Mzinbiiganan gaa zhinoomookiid Evergreen Brick Works. Hopkins gii binaan owi ezhi zhinoomkiing mzinbiigewin ngii nakaazad owi geget waasimoni kendimaawzowin(AR), owi shki kendimookiiwin mooshkin aanjtoong ezhi ginoowaabjigaadek waa zhi akendiming gegoo. AR mooshkineskaagwan owi genoowaabdang,wii waabang owi mzinbiigan/nakaazwin wii moozhiwendang owi nikeyaa kaadenganing e`naabiising geget yaawang, owi nakaazang waasimooni naabiiginiganan

 

Shpaa dibigan waa nizhiwebak maanda AR-zidekaajigan Anishinaabe boodwe`aajimowin wii nashkwechigemgak ezhi aaganetimowaad ezhi waabdamoowaad gegoo  owi nikeyaa wii ni`aabizikaang wii Anishinaabe naadiziwin wii zhitooying gda`kiimnaa

 

Hopkins gdoo megwen maanda shkayii gechipiitendaagwak wii wiindimaading kendimaawzowin, digobi e`niigaanendigig Anishinaabeg e`bizinbiigejig napkisidowaad geget waa zhimshkoziimgak owi AR

 

AANJITOONG E`NINAKIMIGAAK.

 

Zhinda Naawewe`iin Naajimowinan, Hopkins mshkowendam miinwaa wii biidood Anishinaabe Anong Kendimaawzowin wii maamiikwizhiyaang, ensa aadigoone maatookiing mzinbiiganak.

 

Owi Anishinaabe-zhidekaajigan nankiiwin, E`naagidowenjiged Alexis Nanibush-Pamajewong nkwetaan Hopkins enakiid owi dibaataan naajimowin miinwaa digogwaabiiseng anongookaaning. Tkaron:to dinizi oodeno Anishinaabe bizinbiige miinwaa naagidowenjige, Nanibush-Pamajewong makawendaan owi ezhi mshkowendaagwak  miinwaa ezhi zaagaad anongoon owi geni zhibiigaadek gaa kidad:

 

Anongookaan

 

owi Nishinaabewyiing,anongoog akinoongonaanik

gdibaajimataaginaanig, gdoo digwangwanaanig, akinoomaaginaanig, gdoo daakaangwanaanig miinwaa memeshkwad ndoo

 

ginoondimi.

 

Ndoo dowenmiginaanig anongoog naasaap gwa ezhi dowendimingidwaa.

 

Gaawii ndaa yaasiimi iishpin bwaa yaawaad

 

Ndoo gikamgoonaa, Mshkiikenh Minis, penmandoowaa`aan binaazhenid owi ezhi penmandaagwak owi minawaazheyaang ndanawewinaa miinwaa nangwa aabidek shpiming wii naabiyaang wii nsadowendimangidwaa gey wiinwaa yaawaad eko gaagigewang

 

Ndibaajimoowinaanin

ndoodemnaanig

owi pskaabiindaagewin yaawang zaam debwetimog gey wiinwaa,

ndoo akinoomaagenaanig.

ndoo wiindimaaginaanig pii giizhiging maanwang

pii waa dowenjigeng

wii nigiiyeng

wii biimskokaang

 

wii naapweng

wii noojimang

wii zaagiweyaang

 

E`naabiishinawaad anongoog mzinshinoog niibina ezhi nawenjigewaad giizhigoong jichaakwag mii gwanda jichaak giizhigoong bemaadizijig ndoo mshko mooshkineshkaaginaa ezhi nawendiyaang nizhoo`oomgad e`nininaabiishinang biinjina geniinwi.

 

Ndaa`aami zhe`e gaagige naajimowining,

ndoo wiijinakiindimi giitaagiizhigoong,

megwe mtigwaaki,

oodi chi oodenoong yaawwag gey anongoog miinwaa ndoo naazhendaagwanaanig naasaap gwa gchinshinaabem gaa naazhetimoowaad.

 

Anongoog shkintam gaa naazhewaad wii zhinoogewaad ezhaayaang

 

gichnshinaabe

                    anangoog

gichishinaabe

                    anangoog

 

– Aylan Couchie and Alexis Nanibush-Pamajewong

About the artist:

Quinn Hopkins is an artist at the intersection of Urban Indigenous culture and new media, crafting a vibrant dialogue between Indigenous history, present urban life, and futuristic visions. Deeply rooted in Anishinaabe-Métis traditions with guidance from mentors like Nyle Miigizi Johnston, his work reimagines Indigenous iconography for the modern era. Showcased in venues such as the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and the University of Toronto’s Hart House, his art spans digital creations to immersive installations. Hopkins’s core ambition is to inspire future generations through storytelling that not only captivates but also educates and connects deeply with viewers. His commitment to blending traditional narratives with cutting-edge technology aims to create experiences that celebrate Indigenous culture while fostering a sense of community and understanding across diverse audiences. Through his art, Hopkins seeks to forge a path that honors heritage while embracing the possibilities of the future. 

Where to find Stellar Narratives: An Urban Indigenous Odyssey

Supported by

Stellar Narratives is supported by the City of Toronto, the Toronto Arts Council, and Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training.

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