You may notice a new flag flying outside the Owens Art Gallery at Mount Allison University in Sackville.
The flag was created by Mi’kmaq artist Pauline Young, and was raised in a ceremony on September 30th to commemorate Orange Shirt Day and celebrate the newly commissioned work.
Pauline Young is a respected Mi’kmaq visual artist from Metepenagiag First Nation. Her creation is titled Wabanaki/People of the Dawn, and is the first in a new series of commissioned acquisitions created for the Owens’ exterior flagpole.
“The Owens is located in Siknikt, one of the seven districts of Mi’kma’ki,” says Owens director Emily Falvey. “This project is intended to serve as an ongoing land acknowledgement.”
Young’s work as the first flag in the series, which will be celebrated annually with a new work, says Falvey.
The piece is a bespoke appliqué sewn nylon flag, and features two figures in a birchbark canoe paddling from sunrise to sunset. The flag represents the Mi’kmaq territory of Mi’kma’ki as a living relationship between land and sea.
“We are all connected and I want this flag to be a symbol of peace and happiness, one of healing,” says Young.
In addition to launching the new work, Young also announced her selection for the next artist to participate in Owens flag project series. Each year the featured artist will chose an artist to design the following year’s flag. Young selected Natasha Patles from Eel Ground First Nation to design the 2021 flag.
All flags and designs will become part of the Owens Art Gallery’s permanent collection and will be on display every five years, as part of the Gallery’s exhibition calendar.