Meryl McMaster “pēyakwan kīsik kakwāyaki-ispīhcāw / As Immense as the Sky”

Meryl McMaster

pēyakwan kīsik kakwāyaki-ispīhcāw / As Immense as the Sky


Running dates in Main Gallery: March 5 to April 17, 2021 (email for personal gallery visit)

Virtual Gallery on our website in Main Exhibitions at


In Plains Cree (English translation to follow)

Meryl McMaster: pēyakwan kīsik kakwāyaki-ispīhcāw


ka-isi kiskēyihtamahk tānimatahtwaw ka-miyāskatamahk ispayiwin wiyastāw itāhkōmitowin

isi ēkwa mīna ka-isi nisitohtamahk kēhciwāk kī-taskiynaw. ni-nākatohkāmatowin ispayiwin ohci pē-ohcipayin nīswayak āniskostēwin nisitohnākwan isi mācihtāwin—pēyak itowahk pimastēw isi mēskanās ēkwānima āniskostēw āh-āyītaw kiskinohtahēwin anohc ohci, ēkwa kotak itowahk aya kāh-kīhtwām mīna tahki. ōma āsowahonān ohci askiy itāpisiniwin ka-kī-awāsisīwiwiyan aspin ohci pē-ohcipayin, ayis ni-kī-nihtāwikin nīswayak isi wītisānīhitowin nakahpēhanohk mīna nēhiyānāhk.


ka-māmitonēyihcikatēk ispayiwin ēkwa misahci nāh-nāway isi pimātisiwin kāh-kīhtwām

kāwi ita kayās mistassini (misi-asiniy), sputinas (kaskatināw), wiyacahk (posiskatināw),

ēkwa mīna ayakow awacha (yēkawaciyanihk) ohci mihkināhk ministik pē-osīhcikatēw

pēyakwan kīsik kakwāyaki-ispīhcāw. ōhi māmitonēyihcikēwina ni-miyikon māmaskātēyihtamowin, māka mīna koskonam pīhci-niya astāsiwin mēcimwāci kiyānaw ōma ka-māmawohkamahk tōcikēmakana wakīc kī-miyo taskiynaw.


ta-mawinēhaman ōma astāsiwin, ni-nōcihtān iyinīsiwin ita kayās ni-wāhkōmākanak

ō-pimātisiwiniwaw, ni-natohtēn tāpwē-ācimowin niwāhkōmākanak ohci,

kiskēyihtamakēwiyiniwak, nitōtēmak, ēkwa mīna ayisiyiniwak ka-kī opapāmācihōcik ōta askīhk pāmwayēs niya. Ita otōtēmiwin, pimācihowin, mīna pisiskēyihcikēwin itēhkēskamik ohci nakiskātēn ni-wīci-nēhiyawak ohci mīna opītatowēwak kayas ni-wāhkōmākanak ni-māci-wāpahcikān mīna ni-māwacihtān wiyawāw ō-kiskēyihtamowina mīna ta-pimātisihtāman mīna ta- ācimostātitaman tipiyawē pītosi-isi sāpo masinipayiwina.


mihcēcis ita ka-kiyokēyan ayātinkatēw kihci-itēyihtamowin kēhciwāc ni-wāhkōmākanak 

kici ayis ohi pēyak-wayak mistahi ki-itēyihtakwan ispīhk wīyawaw ō-pimātisiwiniwaw;

ni-otamiyohikon ōhi  ita pēyak-wayak mitoni mitēhihk ohci ka-mōsihtahk ācimowina

āpihtawāyihk akāmihk ēkwa mīna sāwanohk isi kisiskāciwani-sīpiy isko nātakām isi wīpat akāmōtēnāhk pihci Ontario mīna Newfoundland. ni-pakosēyimon kāh-kīhtwām

ta-otōtēmiyan ēkwāniki asici ka-kī-pē-itohtēcik pāmwayēs niya ēkosi isi ni-nakiskātēn askiy ita ka-kī wīkicik.


ni-pē wapahtēn askiy ka-isinākwahk pēyakwan mahki-asiwacikan ē-ayāwahikinikatēk kiskēyihtamowin. pēyakwan kīsik kakwāyaki-ispīhcāw māmiskōtam ta-pimohtēh ōhi mitoni kayās mēskanawa, ta-pisiskāpahtamahk nanātohk Isi itāpisiniwin, ēkwa mīna kiskēyihtamowin ēwako ohci kayas ni-wāhkōmākanak ō-yinisowiniwaw.


ka-osīhcikātēkih ōhi masinipayiwina kikinikātēw mosci mēskocipayiwin ispayiwin iskohk

mēkwac anohc. ōhi acimowina kayas (kayās ohci) mīna astāsiwin kīmwēwin isi nīkānihk pīminam miyaw askiy asici, ni-pakosēyimon kahkiyaw ta-pisiskēyihtamahk kinwēs mīna sēhkē ta-manācihtāyahk misiwēskamik.




Artist Statement

As Immense as the Sky (2019)

The way we experience the passing of time shapes our relationship to and understanding of our immediate world. My awareness of time comes from an overlapping of two distinct approaches – one is that of a linear path that extends in both directions from the present, and another one that is recurrent and cyclical. This intersection of world views has been part of my upbringing, a result of being born into a family both Western and Indigenous.

Contemplating time and the countless cycles of life that have recurred around the ancient mistassini (monoliths), sputinas (buttes), wiyacahk (canyons) and ayeakow awacha (dunes) of Turtle Island led to the development of As Immense as the Sky. These thoughts left me in a state of wonderment, but also stirred within me a fearful apprehension of our permanent and collective impact upon our beautiful world.

To confront this fear, I sought wisdom in the places of ancestral life, listening to the truths of relatives, Elders, friends and peoples who have traversed this land before me.  At the social, cultural and environmental contact zones of my Indigenous and European ancestors I set out to study and collect their knowledge and to animate and re-tell it in a personally transformative process through photography  

Many places I visited hold particular meaning for my direct ancestors as they are sites of significant moments in their lives; I was drawn to the sites of ancient stories across central and southern Saskatchewan and to the shores of early settlement in Ontario and Newfoundland. My aim was to reconnect with those who came before me as a way of introducing myself to the land on which they lived.

I came to see these landscapes as immense time capsules of buried knowledge. As Immense as the Sky is about walking these ancient paths, experiencing the diversity of panoramas, and learning about my ancestors’ wisdom.

The resulting images are a blend and collapse of time into the present. The stories of kayas (long ago) and the foreboding whispers of the future intertwine my body with the land, in the hope that we all maintain a long-term ecological equilibrium with the world around us.

Meryl McMaster – Bio

Meryl McMaster was born and is currently based in Ottawa, Canada. Her family is from Red Pheasant First Nations in Saskatchewan and she is a member of the Siksika First Nation in Alberta. She earned a BFA in Photography from OCAD University in Toronto (2010). Known for her large-format self-portraits that have a distinct performative quality, she explores questions of self through land, lineage, history, and culture, with specific reference to her mixed Plains Cree European ancestry. McMaster’s work has been included in solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada and abroad, including the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, ON), Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto, ON), Australian Centre for Photography (Sydney, AUS), Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indian (New York, NY), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, ON), Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (Santa Fe, NM), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Montreal, QC), and the Ikon Gallery (Birmingham, UK). Her awards include the Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award (2018), REVEAL Indigenous Art Award (2017), Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellow Award (2013), Charles Pachter Prize for Emerging Artists (2012), Canon Canada Prize (2010), OCAD U Medal (2010) and was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Discovery Award (2019) and longlisted for the 2016 Sobey Art Award. Her work is widely represented in collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Eiteljorg Museum, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Museum London, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Ottawa Art Gallery, Canadian Museum of History, National Museum of American Indian.

Urban Shaman: Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery acknowledges the support, throughout the year, of our friends, volunteers, community and all our relations, NCI FM, CAHRD, Winnipeg Foundation, Manitoba Heritage, the Winnipeg Arts Council, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and University of Manitoba’s School of Art. ~Miigwetch/ Hai Hai/ Ekosi / Merci/ Thank you