Niniskamijinaqik Ancestral Images
Author: Ruth Holmes Whitehead
The Mi’kmaq of Atlantic Canada were here for thousands of years before the arrival of European peoples. Niniskamijinaqik / Ancestral Images: The Mi’kmaq in Art and Photography presents their unique culture and way of life through the remarkable and sometime complex lives of individuals, as depicted in artwork or photography.
The opening images in this collection were created by the Mi’kmaq themselves: portrayals of human beings carved into the rock formations of Nova Scotia. Then there are the earliest surviving European depictions of Mi’kmaq, decorations on the maps of Samuel de Champlain. Finally we see portraits of Mi’kmaw individuals, ancestors in whom we see their “humanity frozen in the stillness of a photograph,” as the writers of the book’s foreword describe.
Niniskamijinaqik / Ancestral Images includes 94 compelling pieces of art and photography, chosen from more than a thousand extant portraits in different media, that show the Mi’kmaw people. Each image is an entry point to deeply personal history, a small moment or single person transformed into vivid immediacy for the reader.
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