Gi'nujing “Pride” 2022

Gi'nujing “Pride” 2022

Photography, Porcupine quill head piece 

In this photographic series, “Gi'nujing” a Mi’kmaq term which translates into pride, this work explores the transformative power of porcupine quills by creating a protective barrier, a headpiece, and a starburst of energy. The headpieces are arranged as a protective sunburst on my head, evoking a captivating sense of presence and projection. Inspired by the traditional quillwork pratices of the Metepanaigag nation, I aim to honour my ancestral wisdom and capture the essence of their strong, resilient and brilliant spirit.

Porcupine quills, carefully selected and arranged with the barbed side up, assume a commanding role in this body of work. The juxtaposition of their sharp and resilient nature against the vulnerability of the human form creates a visual dialogue that speaks to the strength and resilience inherent within my nation. The quills, pointing upward, project an aura of protection, reminding us of the fortitude and wisdom passed down through generations. The work nods to the relationship between the maker and our non-human relations, our bodies and ancestral embedded knowledge or blood memory.

Through the medium of photography, I seek to capture the interplay between the wearers and the quill projections, frozen in a moment of commanding authority and introspection. The sharp lines and intriguing textures formed by the quills draw viewers into a visual conversation that invites contemplation on the power of projection and the resilience of Indigenous communities.

Image 2-5 by Chelsea Yang Smith