In From Skyworld to Cyberspace, artist Skawennati (Mohawk, turtle clan) traces a line from our place of origin somewhere in the heavens to the virtual realm, one of the newest territories on Earth. Investigating concepts of time and self, Skawennati engages various mechanisms of gaming and play, interweaving traditional Mohawk stories and ritual objects with new technologies and processes through representations of avatars, most notably her online persona, which she has maintained for over a decade in the virtual world, Second Life. From Skyworld to Cyberspace is a result of Skawennati’s continuing investigation of cultural construction, contemporary Indigenous self-representation in cyberspace, and of our relationships with the digital world.
Photography: Scott Lee
Skawennati makes art that addresses history, the future, and change from an Indigenous perspective. Her innovative new media projects include the online gallery / chat-space, and mixed-reality event, CyberPowWow (1997–2004); a paper doll / time-travel journal, Imagining Indians in the 25th Century (2001); and TimeTraveller™ (2008–2013), a multi-platform project featuring nine machinima episodes. These works and others have been presented in New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Ireland and across North America in major exhibitions such as Now? Now! at the Biennale of the Americas and Looking Forward (L’Avenir) at the Montreal Biennale. Skawennati is represented by ELLEPHANT and her award-winning work is included in both public and private collections. Born in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory, Skawennati holds a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she is based. Currently, she is Co-Director, with Jason E. Lewis, of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), a research network of artists, academics, and technologists investigating, creating, and critiquing Indigenous virtual environments.