By Dorota Kozinska

 
"My name is Ashukan Ishkwe", states St-Louis. "It means 'the woman that bridges', and there could hardly be a more apt name to describe the woman and the mission. A former employee of CN, St-Louis, an Algonquin Métis, has turned her life around in a dramatic way, driven by the need to support and promote Native culture.

Calling it her 'purpose on earth', St-Louis has been the inspiration and the drive behind the launch of Sacred Fire Productions, which began with an art exhibition, only to grow into the 11 Nations Cultural Space in 2013, largely to safeguard the artwork of the 22 Aboriginal artists who participated in the Marché Bonsecours presentation, and ensure their visibility for another year.

Fast-forward to May 2015 and the mega launch of the Ashukan Cultural Centre in Old Montreal. Presented by Sacred Fire Productions, through the generous collaboration of the Regroupement des centre d’amitié autochtone du Québec and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) and their Urban Partnerships (UP) Program, the Ashukan Cultural Space was now open to the general public, art lovers and tourists.

This multi-layered enterprise, housed on three floors, functions as an exhibition space, as well as a sales and training centre, all with the goal of integrating Aboriginal artists into the Quebec, Canadian and international art markets. Their mandate is ambitious and diverse; from raising awareness to developing skills, and finally, to gain the 'respect of future generations.'

The artists that call Ashukan their home are as diverse as their communities: Cree, Innu, Abenaki, Maliceet, Sioux and Huron-Wendat... and so is their art.
Open to the public all year long, Ashukan is a window to a culture that is there on our doorstep, and is the heart of this country, its very roots.

Ashukan Cultural Space
431 Place Jacques Cartier
Montréal, QC
(514) 875-2772
www.sacredfireproductions.ca/(lien externe)

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Nadine St-Louis, Executive Director

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Fish Loon by Frank Polson (Algonquin)

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Big Bang by Euroma Awashish (Atikamekw)

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Ashukan Cultural Centre space 1

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Ashukan Cultural Centre space 2