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Illuminated Perspectives

An exhibit featuring 4 photographers from Pikangikum First Nation, curated by 11 young women from The Esplanade community.

Outdoor Photo Exhibit
October 2021 & January 2022
Toronto Public Library - St Lawrence Branch (171 Front St E.)
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Produced and presented by

Jamii @jamiiesplanade

In partnership with Ontario Culture Days and the Toronto Public Library St Lawrence Branch

Featured photographers:

Clayton Turtle

Maddy King

Mandi Chan-Peters

Morningstar Quill

Young curators:

Aela Kuria

Anhar Salem

Asmaa Salem

Faith Ssempiira

Francesca Ssempiira

Huda Mourad

Lydia Embaye

RuthMarie Williams

Sophia Leopold-Muresan

Tenzin Paldon

Zhenmei Wong-Ward

Curation process facilitated by:

Elle Alconcel, assisted by Isorine Marc

Project Management:

Isorine Marc & Jasmin Linton

Project Coordination (Pikangikum First Nation): Vanessa Hazel

Project Assistant: Afnan Yakot

Graphic Designer: Iris Unlu

Supported by:

RBC Foundation, Rama Gaming House, and Government of Ontario.

Artistic Statement by the 11 young women who curated this exhibit:


“Illuminated Perspectives” portrays Pikangikum First Nation and its spectacular beauty. The photos capture the essence of northern wildlife and the people who live there. It tells a story and opens our eyes to a place in our country that many of us didn’t know existed.

These photos are much more powerful than just a series of images. They are a statement of culture, heritage, pride, and community.

Through the curatorial process, we had the chance to discuss each photo with one another and analyze each of them from our different perspectives. This project, and its resulting exhibit, was an opportunity both to embrace and to learn. To embrace the breathtaking beauty of this community, and to learn more about the lack of opportunities and government support for Pikangikum First Nation and similar communities. We encourage everyone viewing our exhibit to “illuminate their perspectives” on Indigenous issues and triumphs, and to continue educate themselves about this community, its people, their customs and their way of living.

Featuring Ojibwe life & people within our community brings more diversity to an already diverse community.  We hope that being reminded about Indigenous issues, outside of the new federal holiday that was established for truth and reconciliation, might help people truly comprehend these issues. Many people, when living in a big city like Toronto, forget that they are also a part of a community. We wish that, in some way, “Illuminated Perspective” might make people appreciate the gifts that we, living in Toronto, have. We are extremely grateful that we have had that chance to embrace and to learn through participating in this project.

As one of many joint-projects Jamii has shared with Pikangikum First Nation, this photo exhibition is meant to continue connecting our communities together. Such initiatives as “Illuminated Perspectives” help build a stronger bond between our two communities and give us a sense of unity. The togetherness of our communities and friendships we have made through photography is a very precious thing.

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Curation process:

Our group of young women curated this exhibit and crafted its title and artistic statement. They were initially presented with 40 photos, about 10 by each of the four photographers. Through a series of 5 workshops, under the artistic leadership of Elle Alconcel, they worked together to select 18 photos only.  Through the exchange of ideas, perspectives and opinions, they explore the “why” and "how" to present this exhibit to their community and to you. 

Featured photographers:

Maddy King 10.jpg

Photo by Maddy King

Maddy King: “My name is Maddy, I am 16 years old and I live in Pikangikum FN. In 2018 my mom gifted me a camera, but got more into photography in 2020. I am a self taught (amateur) photographer and I mostly take landscape shots, sometimes I take astro and macro shots. I’ve always loved photography because of how each and every photo has a story/meaning behind it and it really surprises me on how one with a camera can capture such breathtaking photos, so that’s what inspired me to pick up my camera in 2020 and to this day, it’s still my inspiration.”. 

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Photo by Clayton Turtle

Clayton Turtle: “Booshoo, my name is Clayton Turtle and I am an Ojibway amateur Photographer from Pikangikum First Nation. Photography has been a passion of mine for many years as it helps me see the beauty in the Rez.”

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Photo by Mandi Chan Peters

“My name is Amanda or simply Mandi. I grew up in Pikangikum FN and always loved the landscapes, sunsets, aurora and nature. How lucky I’ve been to see and live in untouched areas in Canada. My love for photography began when I was young, I loved National Geographic photos. I did not purchase my first canon camera until 2018 and taught myself how to shoot photos in manual mode. I want people to see my photos and visualize that moment as if they are right there too.”

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Photo by Morningstar Quill

My name is Morningstar Quill, I am 25 years old, I live in Pikangikum First Nation. I am a self taught (amateur) photographer who is more into landscape/nature shots but currently learning about close up shots and portrait shots. Photography has been one of my many hobbies for years but I started getting into it more in 2020.”

Relationship between Jamii and Pikangikum First Nation:

In 2018, Jamii visited Pikangikum First Nation for the first time, as part of an intra-provincial and and inter-community initiative supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. Under the lead of our local ambassador, we were thrilled to connect with wonderful individuals in the community and able to share stories. Find out about Pikangikum First Nation's location on a map HERE.

During our second trip in 2019, we agreed to produce a community-arts project in between our two communities, as well as Wawa and Wolfe ISland, also located in Ontario. The project, named "Wind Stories" took shape in 2019 and 2020. find out more about this project HERE.

In February 2020, the Jamii team traveled to Pikangikum First Nation for a third time and together, we brought "The Stories The Wind Carries" to life.

We partnered with the Pikangikum Education Authority and Eenchokay Birchstick School to invite people to create a portrait of fellow community members. In total, we created 18 portraits, involving 36 people in the project.

This was a beautiful experience and project for all involved. We have since maintained our connection to the community, and while we are planning to travel back in 2022, we are over the moon to produce "Illuminated Perspectives" and present the work of four astounding photographers from Pikangikum First Nation.

Find our more about Pikangikum First Nation's culture, history, language and accessibility HERE.

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