Here & Now - Nahanni McKay

Date: Apr 16, 2024

About the artwork

The artwork consists of a lightbox, a 40 x 40 inch print on backlit film paper, situated it between two pieces of plexiglass. The lightbox is created from salvaged scraps of wood a shop at the Banff Centre, cut to make a 41 x 5 x 41 box. The work is illuminated by LED strip lights located at the back of the photograph. 

This artwork is included in the Here & Now exhibition at the Royal Alberta Museum until September 29, 2024. Learn more about the exhibition.

The AFA acquired this artwork through its Art Acquisition by Application program in 2023. This program is designed to acquire contemporary works of art by any eligible Alberta artist.

Artist statement

The following is an excerpt of Nahanni McKay's artist statement. Read the full artist statement.

My work, Hole 8 at the Banff Springs Fairmont Golf Course, represents how the national park system is a colonial structure that prioritizes tourism over sacred Indigenous lands and wildlife of turtle island. Challenging myself in my photography, I used 120mm film for the first time dubious of how the film would turn out. Using the skulls of deer, cougars and bears I positioned these sacred items on the Hole 8 to create an uneasy looking creature.

About the artist

Nahanni McKay is a Métis artist based in Banff Alberta. Nahanni produces photographic images of objects that take the shape of spirits around her home of Treaty 7 in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. The work she has produced aims to discuss the need to decolonize the complicated National Park system. Her work is in relation to the human impact of the natural environment by creating an unsettling image to be observed by the viewer. McKay is mesmerized by the beauty of her hometown and how the mountains attract a colonial desire to commercialize and conquer this sacred place.

Since graduating from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2017, Nahanni McKays’ photographic and sculptural work has been exhibited extensively across Canada and Europe. Recent exhibitions include Hole 8 at the European Cultural Centre, (Venice) and  Loop 14 was exhibited at the Contemporary Calgary as well as Art Toronto in 2020. McKay has received several awards including the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award in 2022. The artist's work is included in the permanent collection of the Alberta Foundation of the Arts.

Nahanni is an avid skier and has taken part in a film project called Beyond Begbie, being released February 2024.

Go to the exhibition