Skip to Content

Duane Linklater (Omaskêko Cree, b. 1976)

can the circle be unbroken 1-5

Date: 2019
Object Dimensions: Dimensions variable
Credit Line: Commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, courtesy the artist and Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver, 2020.23-.27

The title of this set of five tepee-cover paintings is borrowed from a song released by the Carter Family in 1935, which tells of the death and mourning of a beloved mother from the perspective of one of her children. Linklater created the installation following the passing of his mom, Pauline Linklater, but the work also speaks to loss on the broader scale of collective history. The floral designs printed on the joined linen components are sampled from the paintings of Dutch artist Ambrosius Bosschaert the elder (1573–1621), whose work inspired the patterning of fabrics that the English traded with Cree peoples beginning in the seventeenth century. Over time, these kinds of European floral patterns largely supplanted the Cree peoples’ customary geometric designs in beading and other crafts, effectively breaking an aesthetic ancestral lineage. Linklater dyed and smudged the printed linen with plant matter and earth minerals native to the region around his home in northeastern Ontario.

Collection List This object is a member of the following collections: