A contemporary and multidisciplinary Turtle Clan Kanien’kehá:ka artist, Skwawennati was born in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory. She is known for her machinimas and machinimagraphs, textile art, doll sculptures, avatars, celestial trees, and space-age longhouses.
Her body of work transcends conventional Indigenous representations. Skawennati questions history, appropriates representations of the past and present, tells stories and is part of the Indigenous Futurism movement.
In The Four Kings, Revisited series, Skawennati reimagines the Four Indian Kings, famous portraits painted by John Verelst on commission from Queen Anne in 1710 in commemoration of the visit of four First Nations emissaries from North America with leaders of the British colonies.
In the complementary series On The Occasion of The Three Sisters Accompanying xox on Her Visit to The Queen, the artist projects herself into a universe where her avatar, named “xox”, is destined to visit the Queen. Joining her are three companions personifying corn, beans and squash. Like these “three sisters”, cultivated together ancestrally in such a way as to obtain a perfect balance, these female avatars complement each other. The wise observer will notice the wampum belt in the hands of “xox”. In its real textile version, we focus even more on the representation of the “xox” avatar and Queen Elizabeth holding a historic wampum belt, the Two-Row.
The textile work Maize is a fashion creation from the Calico & Camouflage ResistanceWear clothing collection by Skawennati. These textile pieces are currently on display in the exhibition Art of Indigenous Fashion at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Sante Fe, New Mexico until January 8, 2023.