Work of the Week celebrates Mother's Day

Date: May 9, 2024

In celebration of Mother's Day, the AFA is pleased to present Heart Piece, two collaborative artworks by Maureen Callihoo and her daughter, Kiona Callihoo Ligtvoet, newly acquired to the AFA Art Collection.

Installation view of They Said So, photo credit: Adam Waldron-Blain of Latitude 53 

About the Artwork

Heart Piece highlights the connection between generations, symbolizing the stories and traditions passed down through the art of beading and painting. Maureen's intricate beading and Kiona's expressive painting merge to evoke themes of love, unity, and the matriarchal spirit that defines their culture.

About the Artists

Kiona Callihoo Ligtvoet is a multidisciplinary artist practicing in amiskwaciwâskahikan on Treaty 6 Territory. She grew up West of the city near the hamlet of Calahoo where she lived with her relatives on scrip land. Her family lines are Cree and Métis descending from Michel First Nation, as well as Dutch and mixed European.

Kiona works in painting, printmaking, and drawing, recollecting personal stories of grief and tenderness. Her practice uses a non-linear telling of her memories through narrative work as a form of diaristic archiving. It draws from feelings of loss and enfranchisement, but also from deep belly laughter, and a gentle fondness for where the histories between herself and her family overlap and disperse. Working alongside other artists in initiatives of community care, Kiona co-organizes Making Space in partnership with Sanaa Humayun. She likes visiting her moshom on the farm, and gossiping with her mom, relatives, and friends on the prairies.

Maureen Callihoo Ligtvoet is a painter and beadworker living and practicing art in amiskwaciwâskahikan on Treaty 6 Territory. Her family lines are Cree, Métis, Mohawk, and French, and she is a member of Michel First Nation. Maureen is also a cultural teacher and program facilitator with deep roots in the prairies. She maintains her own beading practice, consistently selling work out of the Musee Heritage Museum in St. Albert. 

Maureen is a mother and an Indigenous birthworker, and these journeys have informed her creative focus on children, joy, playfulness, and love. Her artwork is influenced by mothering relationships, and matriarchs through the mediums of painting and beadwork. Having not pursued formal education in the arts, Maureen looks to kokums, aunties, cousins, sisters, and daughters who hold strength in themselves as teachers. It’s a way she respects and remembers these lifegivers alongside herself. Her practice is storytelling and medicine to her own experiences; she hopes to pass this knowledge to her children

Artist Statements

Kiona Callihoo Ligtvoet, 2023
Heart Piece

Heart piece retails stories shared between mother and daughter in late summer heat.

The last days of August open to cold mornings and hot days. Visiting on the prairies outside old bunkhouses that will generations of relative’s keepsakes. Cutting overgrowth of rhubarb to stew over sweets for loved ones. Family gossip to help us understand between generations and lineage. Ancestors we didn't get to know as aunties but who we remember now. Laughing loudly over clasped hands and chipped paint on picnic tables. We painted these a decade ago, there's pieces of us here too.

Each word shares with same memory of afternoon harvest together as two parts, one painted and one beaded. We made these between ongoing conversations over dinner tables, shared studios, and visits home.

Through inheritance we learned direction, joy, repaired, and trust, accompanying us while we honor and receive each others creativity and stories. This is where we overlapped and learned from one another.

Maureen Callihoo, 2024
Heart Piece

Working alongside my daughter, this project was definitely a work of heart. It is an expression of the strong women in our family. The unsung heroes. The matriarch so yesterday, today and those to come tomorrow.

Each bead, each stitch, and every motion holds an intimate place within and translates into my heart piece. As I work, I go into a meditative state, and I translate my thoughts curiosity, grief, and story into each bead that I pick up and attach to my project.

I feel close to my culture and my ancestors when creating art.

I think about all my relatives with the past and present who had beaded and those who continue to bead.

This project to me was an expression of love, unity, and lost and found matriarchal moments.

On this day I met with my daughter to discuss and continue our art piece, I then run home to do a quick clean and hem my daughter’s pants. Next, I will run out to the land and help my dad out. I also have animals to feed and a car which needs a desperate cleaning. I'm also budgeting in my head and thinking about a recent upset with a few of my siblings and how to resolve the issue. I know my daughter too is overwhelmed with tasks today.

This is the life of a woman. I wonder what the matriarchs of my past went through. What were their days like. Harvesting, parenting, household chores, taking on the duties of a wife and mother.

In our family we talk a great deal about the patriarchs and their contributions. I like to take these matriarch moments and embrace all that I've received from my female ancestors. I like to think they to quiet moments and translated their hearts into stories into their beading. Perhaps beading a pretty flower pattern from their own meadow onto a daughter’s moccasin. Did my kokums and aunties take moments to laugh, sing, and embrace one another as my daughter and I do? Letting the stress of the day melt away.

When I think of my Metis culture I think of my matriarchs. They are the definition of our culture. I feel happy beyond words to share our story so that our women will be celebrated and never forgotten.