Melissa Johns | hand-me-downs

Jun 19 - Jul 20

  • Admission: free

Melissa Johns | hand-me-downs

June 7 - July 20, 2024

Opening reception: Friday, June 7th from 5-9 pm

Artist Talk and Livestream: Saturday, June 8th from 1-2 pm

Workshop: Thursday, June 6th from 3:30-7:30pm

There is a beauty in the spaces we have carved out for ourselves

our longing for what might have been

and our imaginings of possible futures.

Situated in storywork, material culture, and new media, hand-me-downs engages the past in conversation by reawakening forgotten narratives and reinterpreting inherited legacies. In a process-based undertaking of translation, preservation, and archival, the nostalgic and familiar are transformed in praxis with VR, video, digital painting, and beadwork.

Through material exploration of possessions, photos, and textiles passed across generations, memories are carried with love through digital reconstruction. Honouring that which is lost and remembered situates home and identity in the wake of displacement.

As a response to the lasting impacts of the residential school system, this dialogical practice communes with the past for the dual purposes of critical intervention and cultural bridging. Beyond its service to family, hand-me-downs seeks to engage others through evocation and immersion.

This work is for those who grapple with displacement, celebrating lived experiences situated between cultures. This is who we are as progressive generations of cultural embodiment, and it will be up to us to decide who we want to be.

And so the work continues.

Melissa Johns b. 1993

Melissa Johns is a new media artist and educator from a mixed Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk, Turtle Clan) and French Canadian background, born and based in Tkaronto. Melissa's visual practice manifests at the convergence of contemporary media, using interdisciplinary methods to collect, preserve, and transform fragments of the stories around her. Her practice is process-heavy, meticulously translating sentimental objects and family histories into new digital forms. Specializing in virtual reality installations, digital painting, and video art, Melissa’s work centers on investigating the narrative potential of these emergent channels.

Mohawk Translation

Nahò:ten Ronohétston | Melissa Johns

Yóhskats tsi nónwe yonkwatatenaktarakwén:ni

tewahská:neks tsi nayawén:en

tánon í:tewehre kén’se’ nyentsá:wen.

Tsi nonkwá:ti ne okára kayo’ténhsera, tsi niyonkwarihò:ten watstha’shón:’a, áse tsi taonterihwarenyá:ton, ne hand-me-downs tewatkáwas takahthá:ren tetkáhas ne thénon yako’nikonhrhén:en kahyatón:nyon tsi niyawénhseron tánon entse’nikonhrayéntahte nahò:ten yakoyentá:on ne ronohétston. Tsi niyawén:en tá:yonhkwe ne tayewennaté:ni, ayenónhstate, tánon ayonteweyén:ton, aetewanonhtonnyonhwe ne thénon yonkwaren’há:on’ taontténi tsi niyonkwarihò:ten ne VR, video, digital tsi ayé:rahste tánon tayetsi’nehtará:ren.

Ne thénon ayakoyén:ta’ne, yeya’tarón:nyon, onya’taraahshón:’a, tóhka na’teyotere’será:ne, kanoronkhwahtsherá:kon tsi entsakehyahrá:seron ne digital entsón:ni ne sháka. Ayerihwakwé:nyenste nahò:ten yohtón:on tánon ayakehyá:ra’ ne ayetó:kenste kanónhsa tánon ónhka ne akaónha tsi nikahá:wi é:ren enyontatia’tenhá:wihte.

Tsi nahò:ten tayerihwa’será:ko tsi niyoyé:ren ne yontientáhkhwa yonterihwayenstáhkhwa, ki né:ne ayetharahkwe tentkáhawe ne yotohétston né:ne teyorí:wake tsi nayá:wen’ne, yah teyoyá:nere tsi ayontá:ti tánon akatátie ne tsi niyonkwarihò:ten. Yeyotahsón:tere tsi yakoyenawá:se kahwà:tsire, ne hand-me-downs wésaks akohrénshon óni ahonnehyára’ne tánon ayakorihón:nyen.

Kí: kayo’ténhsera né:ne ónhka yakoteriyó:on tsi teshakonanonhtón:ni tsi yeshakotiya’ténha, yakotonhnháhere tsi yakoyentehrhá:on ne tsi na’tetiá:tere ne tsi nihotirihó:tens. Ne káti’ kí:ken ne í:i, yaonkwahtentionhá:tie, tewe’néhstha ne tsi niyonkwarihò:ten, í:i ki’ ónen ya’tenyonkwarihwayén:ta’se ónhka í:tewehre aetewá:ton.

Ónen ki’ yenwatahsón:teren ne kayo’ténhsera.

Melissa Johns b. 1993

Aonkwé:tase tsi yeráhstha tánon yakorihonnyén:ni ne Melissa Johns, teyakotiéston Kanyen’kehá:ka Yakoniáhton tánon Canadian O’serón:ni, Tkarónto tiakonakerá:ton tánon tho tié:teron. Ne Melissa yeyé:ken tsi nenyé:yere, wé:ne tsi tsik nenthonnéhseron ki orí:wase tsi karihowanáhtha, yóntstha nya’tékon tsi nayé:yere ayeró:roke, ayonteweyén:ton, tánon tayeté:ni ne yah tshiekaya’tayé:ri okara’shón:’a ne yeya’taktóntie. Yókste nahò:ten yakoyo’te, kwah ye’nikón:rare tsi tenyeté:ni ne thénon, kahwà:tsire raotiká:ra áse tsi digital nikayeron’tó:ten enyakón:ni. Ne akwah yakoyó’tens ne ákta yéntha ahonwatina’tónhase digital tsi yeráhstha, tánon video, Melissa tsi yakoyó’te né:ne ayeri’wí:sake tsi niyawénhseron, yotónon akayénta’ne ne karihowanátha.