by: Audrey Arsenault
I created Na’gu’set to strive for positive times ahead in today’s society, and especially in my Indigenous culture. Within recent years, the world has gone through a pandemic, and Canada has uncovered the bodies of approximately 2000 Indigenous children buried around former residential schools. These two events left me, among many others, with a heavy heart and anxious thoughts about what the future will hold. However, while I was deep in these feelings of discouragement: I internalized that no one can change the past, but we can take action now to change the future. Na’gu’set represents grandfather sun who gives us our shadows, which are the spirits of our ancestors in the Mi’kmaq worldview. Smiling refreshingly at the viewer, Na’gu’set reminds us of how our ancestors worked so hard to create a better life for us. If we wish to continue the momentum for the next seven generations, that begins with ourselves creating positive change today. I brought Na’gu’set to life by using the ancient metalsmithing technique of chasing and repoussé to hammer his sunny form into copper. I then mounted him onto maple wood so that he can be displayed vertically to face everyone as they walk past. My hope is that he will spark positive thoughts and action, big and small, within anyone who catches sight of him.