Canada Council for the Arts has selected internationally renowned architect Douglas Cardinal and a team of Indigenous architects to represent Canada at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Mr. Cardinal, the driving force behind this historical initiative, is best known for his designs of the Canadian Museum of History and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. UNCEDED: VOICES OF THE LAND is an unprecedented exhibition - the first Canadian Entry to the Venice Architecture Biennale to be presented in its full integrity on North American Soil.

This exhibition will showcase 18 Indigenous architects from Turtle Island (Canada and the USA) to represent the two nations at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, the most prestigious architectural exhibit in the world. Together with Cardinal they will showcase their innovative design talent through an immersive and breathtaking installation.

UNCEDED: Voices of the Land is a celebration of Indigenous architecture that speaks to and from landscapes of resilience, overcoming unforgiving limitations and serving as a register of hope and pride for Indigenous designers across Turtle Island.

Unceded will be an experience bringing together the past, present and future of Indigenous experience as seen through the eyes and minds of Indigenous architects on Turtle Island. We envisage the Turtle Island Pavilion to be used as surfaces for telling the story through four thematic metaphors – indigeneity, resilience, sovereignty, and colonization.

These are specialized as “territories” as nodes through which narratives are presented through design. For example, the “Territory of Resilience” is the hope of the future expressed in the ideas based on indigenous teachings. It is intended to rely on the ideas indigenous architects express in their work and in this project, such as showcasing work informed by the indigenous spirituality, respect for people, and that communities and all life-givers as being one in the “dance of life.”

UNCEDED: Voices of the Land will show the world that Indigenous cultures inscribed within the laws, customs, and traditions of our peoples, have a great contribution to make to the world, as seen through the work of the Indigenous architects.

Making this exhibit a multi-media presentation will allow for many different voices to be heard, telling the story of an Indigenous expressionism across Turtle Island. Indigenous peoples are storytellers and indigenous architects draw upon this gift to enhance their work. Storytelling is a staple in the indigenous world.

UNCEDED: Voices of the Land will be a storytelling experience, availing itself of the talents of the Indigenous architects bringing vision into reality.

The people and communities served by these architects will be the subject matter and its backdrop. The world needs a vision of hope. UNCEDED: Voices of the Land will tell the story of peaceful co-existence, to disruption, to healing, and finally leading to the expression of the strength of Indigenous cultures. The beauty and the creativity as expressed in building and natural space, that Indigenous architects work with, will inspire a new world view. The world will be better for it.