Quinn Hopkins: Stellar Narratives: An Urban Indigenous Odyssey

Quinn Hopkins: Stellar Narratives: An Urban Indigenous Odyssey

Evergreen Brick Works

Quinn Hopskins, “Stellar Narratives: An Urban Indigenous Oddysey,” 2024, digital renderings. Courtesy of Quinn Hopkins

June 12, 2024
Quinn Hopkins
Stellar Narratives: An Urban Indigenous Odyssey
Evergreen Brick Works
June 3, 2024–June 4, 2025
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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 (for the original formatting, see here):  

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 and Alexis Nanibush-Pamajewong

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.

For more information on Stellar Narratives, visit hereStellar Narratives is supported by the City of Toronto, the Toronto Arts Council, and Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training.

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June 12, 2024

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