McMaster Chancellor Santee Smith is working in the Faculty of Humanities Art Studios on a commission for the Gardiner Museum focusing on clay and ceramic traditions. (McMaster University/Georgia Kirkos)
McMaster Chancellor Santee Smith is internationally recognized as a multidisciplinary artist and one of Canada’s leading dancers and choreographers.
What many people may not know, however, is that she is also a pottery maker. Her work draws on a long tradition of Kahnyen’keháka (Mohawk) pottery that was slowly reclaimed by her family’s potters: her grandmother, father and mother, working in their family studio, Talking Earth Pottery.
Smith is currently completing a commission from the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, which focuses on clay and ceramic traditions.
Working in the art studios of the Faculty of Humanities alongside potter Jordi Alfaro and School of Arts professor Carmela Alfaro-Laganse, Smith constructed a series of large clay vessels, inspired by traditional pieces of Rotinohnsyonni with four corners.
The eventual public artwork, which will incorporate dance, video projection and 3D mapping, will take place on the steps of the Gardiner Museum.
Watch the video below to see Smith’s work slowly take shape.