‘Cornwallis has got to go ’
New Mi’kmaq art celebrated at Common
Teresa Marshall’s new art installation on the Halifax Common is her way of reclaiming her ancestral land from the city’s controversial founder, Edward Cornwallis.
Marshall’s piece, The Mi’kmaq Universe, is etched into concrete at the Creighton Fields Gateway to the Common, at the top of Cornwallis Street on North Park Street.
The project is a collaboration between the municipality and the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre — one third of the public art component of the installation of the roundabouts at either end of North Park Street.
“It’s at the top of Cornwallis Street and there’s been a lot of talk about the fella in the news of late,” Marshall, a Mi’kmaq woman from Millbrook, said after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday.
“Like dotting an ‘i,’ this is the best place to punctuate that we’re still here. We’re here and we’re not going anywhere. We’re Mi’kmaq, and Cornwallis has got to go.”
The municipality’s commemoration of Cornwallis, from the street name to the park and statue bearing his name, has been a topic of debate for years, coming to a head this summer with a protest at the statue. Regional council voted last week to strike a committee to reconsider the use of his name on municipal property.
“To me, to put this on top of Cornwallis rather than he on me, I think it’s a good thing,” Marshall said of her piece.
“I’m taking it back. This is my little land claim.”
Marshall worked with Clinton Hicks of Chemtech Concrete Solutions to find the perfect type of cement for the project. They used diamond bits to etch her work into the surface, then coloured the cement with stain and sealed it to protect the piece.
It was the first time Marshall had etched her work into cement, but not her first piece using the medium.
“I’ve made several huge sculptures out of cement,” she said. “Birds, and canoes, flag poles, turtles … It’s just wonderful stuff to work with.”
I’m taking it back. this is my little land claim. teresa Marshall
Mi’kmaq artist teresa Marshall and cement technician clinton Hicks talk about the art installation they created, the Mi’kmaq Universe, at the top of cornwallis Street. the art installation is Marshall’s way of reclaiming her ancestral land from the city’s controversial founder, edward cornwallis.