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Nico williams aandaabikinigan installation
Installation view, Nico Williams, aandaabikinigan, 2020-2021 © PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art, photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

Nico Williams: aandaabikinigan

  • Event
  • Contemporary Art
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PHI Foundation 451 Saint-Jean Street

February 24, 2021 to June 20, 2021
From 11 AM to 6 PM

Free admission

From February 24 until June 20, 2021, the PHI Foundation presents aandaabikinigan, an artwork by Nico Williams created in collaboration with participants of the event Dissections: RELATIONS. You can view the work in the basement of the Foundation at 451 Saint-Jean Street.

As part of Dissections: RELATIONS, a public project presented within the context of the exhibition RELATIONS: Diaspora and Painting, the PHI Foundation invited Anishinaabe artist Nico Williams to facilitate four online workshops that took place in September and October 2020. During these sessions, 25 participants learned introductory beading techniques while working on a collaborative piece, titled aandaabikinigan. The four online sessions were imagined as opportunities to encourage critical thinking about the effects settler-colonial culture has on Indigenous and diasporic communities.

Participants were each sent a template corresponding to a section of Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montréal’s map after the inauguration of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959. The seaway, which provides a passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, is another flagrant example of the joint effects of colonialism and capitalism on so-called Canada: an Indigenous community was fragmented and their territories flooded in order to create the passage. aandaabikinigan [gear shift] reconfigures Tiohtià:ke’s topography by fragmenting its map and imagining other ways for the land, waterways, bridges and peoples of the region to relate to one another.

RELATIONS: Diaspora and Painting was presented at the PHI Foundation from July 8 until November 29, 2020.

Nico Williams
59 x 81 cm
10/0 glass beads, thread, velvet

With respect and gratitude to the participants of the project:

Iris Amizlev, Claire Beaulieu, Beau Boucher, Melissa Campbell, Soad Carrier, Natalie Chapdelaine, Craig Commanda, Françoise de la Cressonnière, Susan Doubilet, Lisa Fitzhugh, Aileen Kharat, Natalie Lafortune, Tanya Peltier, Deirdre Potash, Maxim Potvin, Wayne Robinson, Tracy Rosen, Amanda Roy, Teresa Roy, Véronique Savard, Sylvie Simard, Katey Wattam and the residents of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal

A special thank you to Samuel Guertin

Curated by Daniel Fiset, Adjunct Curator – Engagement


Nico Williams
Nico Williams, ᐅᑌᒥᐣ (b. 1989) is Ojibwe from Aamjiwnaang First Nation. He works with Japanese glass Delicas and creates experimental forms using geometric beadwork. He is an active member in the urban Indigenous Montreal Arts community and is a board member for the Biennale d'Art Contemporain Autochtone (Contemporary Native Art Biennial). In 2018, Williams was included in a feature article and film spot in National Geographic. In 2019, he became a core member in the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Project research team when he was invited to participate in a creation session entitled “Art, Architecture, and Models of Hyperbolic Energy” at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and internationally, including his recent exhibition Beading Now at La Guilde (Montreal, QC), in which he presented works from 2014-2018.

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